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Shapiro, Laurie Gwen 1966–

Shapiro, Laurie Gwen 1966–

PERSONAL: Born July 8, 1966, in New York, NY; daughter of Julius and Jeanette Shapiro; married Paul O'Leary (a songwriter), May 25, 1995; children: one daughter. Education: Syracuse University, graduated 1988. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Documentaries and films; collecting of Australian war propaganda and Halley's Comet memorabilia.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Nancy Yost, Lowenstein Yost, 121 W. 27th St., Ste. 601, New York, NY 10001. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Documentary film director.

MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Directors Guild of America.

AWARDS, HONORS: Independent Spirit Award, outstanding new director, Independent Features Project/West, 2000.

WRITINGS:

The Unexpected Salami (novel), Algonquin Books (Chapel Hill, NC), 1998.

The Matzo Ball Heiress (novel), Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

The Anglophile (novel), Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2005.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A young adult novel.

SIDELIGHTS: With her debut novel The Unexpected Salami, Laurie Gwen Shapiro introduces the adventures of twenty-seven-year-old New Yorker Rachel Ganelli. Ganelli, who has been living with a rock band in Melbourne, Australia, watches while the band is making a music video. Suddenly in mid-video the drummer is killed by a mysterious assassin. Leaving her boyfriend Colin behind, Ganelli heads for home to avoid danger, only to discover that the supposedly dead band member is really alive; the murder was only a publicity stunt and a successful one at that. The band is now on a world tour. Rachel tries to uncover the band's hoax and becomes embroiled in a series of plot twists. According to Anthony Bourdain in the New York Times Book Review, Shapiro "manages to keep her disarmingly messy plot on the rails" and "skillfully avoids—if barely, at times—having it all sound too cute." A Publishers Weekly reviewer described these twists as "delightfully unlikely events" that create a successful "comic rhythm." Lisa Shea of the Women's Review of Books, praised Shapiro for her "mordant wit" and command of her characters' New York and Australian accents, declaring that The Unexpected Salami is "an amusing, speed-of-light summer read." Writing in Library Journal, Sheila M. Riley called the novel "full of fresh characters and crazy coincidences." Calling the novel "deftly done," Joanne Wilkinson of Booklist concluded: "This is a charming romantic comedy with some very witty send-ups of key aspects of the rockmusic world."

Shapiro once told CA: "I shamelessly stole from my own experiences living abroad and then took the drama up to comic broadstrokes, but yes, I did marry an Aussie bassplayer. [I've been] influenced by wonderful teachers Frank McCourt (high school English teacher), Stephan Dobyns, and novelist Abigail Thomas."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April, 1998, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Unexpected Salami, p. 1304.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1998, pp. 361-362.

Library Journal, April 1, 1998, Sheila M. Riley, review of The Unexpected Salami, p. 125.

New York Times Book Review, June 7, 1998, Anthony Bourdain, review of The Unexpected Salami, p. 22.

Publishers Weekly, March 2, 1998, review of The Unexpected Salami, p. 56.

Women's Review of Books, July, 1998, Lisa Shea, review of The Unexpected Salami, p. 24.

ONLINE

Laurie Gwen Shapiro Web site, http://www.lauriegwenshapiro.com (January 23, 2006).

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