Audrey Niffenegger talks to Sarah Crompton

Audrey Niffenegger, probably best known for her novel The Time Traveller’s Wife, tells us all about her other life as a graphic novelist, artist and professor of art – which has recently resulted in her recent work, The Raven Girl, being transformed into a ballet by Wayne McGregor. 

 
She had always carried the character of Raven Girl around in her head, and the novel/ballet she tells us is a ‘transformation fairy tale’, where the girl believes she is part raven and wishes to become one. Fairy tales, as we know, are where belief is suspended, no characters are ever surprised about anything that happens, a bit like a dream according to Niffenegger. 
 
She also described the intricate and time consuming process of creating a graphic novel, and tells us how her illustrations are there to add an extra dimension to the story, rather than to reflect the actual narrative on the page. It’s hard to imagine how this could be turned into a ballet, but she told us how she was amazed at what McGregor has managed to achieve. The music was composed by Gabriel Yared, who won an Oscar for the score of The English Patient. 
 
We were then treated to an insight into her new book, which had been put on the back burner for a few years while The Raven Girl being created; The Chinchilla Girl in Exile. The story of a girl who has a condition which means her body is covered in hair, and instead of being an outsider, is revered by her village. It explores the relationships she has with two childhood friends, Sylvie (who believes she is half fairy) and Max who is an ordinary boy who will grow up to be an artist. 
 
Niffenegger’s novels always have a very creative and unusual dimension, Sarah Crompton observed, we look forward to the ballet and the new novel! 
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