Our guest on this edition of the Middle Chamber Books and Music Podcast is Joan Mellen, professor emeritus of literature and creative writing at Temple University. Joan is author of Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty about how the US government and Israel concealed the true nature of what was described as an accidental attack on the USS Liberty, an electronic surveillance ship, off the coast of Egypt at the start of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
You can purchase a copy of Joan’s book through Amazon (affiliate link).
About the Guest
JOAN MELLEN is a professor of English and creative writing at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is the author of twenty-four books, ranging from film criticism to fiction, sports, true crime, Latin American studies and biography. Her early work was about the cinema. Her “Women and Their Sexuality in the New Film” published in 1974, was a landmark work in feminist studies. Larry McMurtry pronounced it “brilliant” in his “Washington Post” review. Her study of the image of women in film was followed by the companion study, “Big Bad Wolves: Masculinity in the American Cinema.” Her book about “The Battle of Algiers,” written in 1972, has been quoted widely in connection with the events of 9/11.
In 1972, she was awarded a prize by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper organization in Japan. This led her to write five books about Japan, including “The Waves at Genji’s Door: Japan through Its Cinema,” 1976. Her 1981 novel, “Natural Tendencies,” is set in Japan. More recently, she has written two books about Japanese film for the British Film Institute, “Seven Samurai” (2002) and “In the Realm of the Senses” (2004).
She is also a biographer. Both “Kay Boyle: Author of Herself” (1994) and “Hellman and Hammett” (1996) were “New York Times” Notable Books of the year. “Hellman and Hammett” was also a finalist for the “Los Angeles Times” book prize.
She has written for a variety of publications such as the “New York Times,” the “Los Angeles Times,” and the “Philadelphia Inquirer, including the “Baltimore Sun” where she is a frequent contributor. She has also lectured widely at universities and festivals, including, twice at the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors and, most recently, during the summer of 2005 at the Shaw festival in Niagara-On-The-Lake.
In 2004, she was awarded one of Temple University’s coveted “Great Teacher” awards for outstanding achievement, in particular in the graduate program in creative writing.
Joan Mellen lives in Pennington, New Jersey.