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Kalpakian, Laura | University of Miami Finding Aids

Name: Kalpakian, Laura


Historical Note:

Author Laura Kalpakian, described by some critics as one of the "most unheralded, brightest talents" in the country, has published several novels and short story collections, novellas, short stories, essays and interviews for magazines and newspapers including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, McCall's, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and Hawaii Review.

Born on June 28, 1945, in Long Beach, California, Kalpakian grew up in Southern California. Before she "took to the typewriter seriously" in the 1970s, she graduated from the University of California, Riverside, and worked briefly as a social worker. She continued her education and obtained the M.A. degree from the University of Delaware, and completed graduate work at the University of California, San Diego. Kalpakian taught English at several universities including the University of Redlands and Western Washington University.

Kalpakian's earliest works include several short stories which she developed into novels. Critics praised her first novel, Beggars and Choosers (1978), as "fast-paced and humorous, "comparing it to Alison Lurie's "The War between the Tates." Kalpakian's novel These Latter Days (1985) traces a family history, moving from Liverpool to Idaho, California and Utah between 1893 and 1972. The work, considered "a cut above most family sagas," received praise for its characterization and "descriptive flair." The "highly readable story line" and "raucous cast of characters" in Crescendo also appealed to reviewers. Kalpakian's most recent work Graced Land, appeared in 1992, received enthusiastic reviews and was filmed as a television movie, "The Woman Who Loved Elvis." Two collections of Kalpakian's short stories have also been published: Fair Augusto and Other Stories (1986) and Dark Continent and Other Stories (1989). Two of Kalpakian's works A Winter's Tales and Tiger Hill were published only in England.







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