Rebecca Godfrey (1967 - 2022) spent her time at MacDowell revising the first 10 chapters of her novel The Dilettante, forthcoming from Knopf. The novel explores the brief affair between Peggy Guggenheim and Samuel Beckett in Paris, 1937.
Godfrey, who earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence before working as a journalist and editor in Toronto and New York, was the author of The Torn Skirt, a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Prize in 2002, and the nonfiction book Under The Bridge, a nonfiction account of the beating death of Reena Virk. Godfrey spent almost a decade researching Under the Bridge and was in her hometown of Victoria, B.C. when she saw the teenagers who had been charged with the murder of the 14-year-old Virk in a detention center and was said to have been surprised by their youth and vulnerability. She decided to get to know the youths, gaining the trust of the suspects as well as the other people involved, making them the subject of her book. When it was published in 2005, Under the Bridge was compared by some to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
According to The New York Times, both The Torn Skirt and Under the Bridge “mapped the complex landscape of teenage transgression with exquisite detail and precise language.” was optioned by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, but that project appears to have fizzled. Next month, Hulu will begin production on a limited series based on Under the Bridge.
Girls In Trees, edited by Godfrey, includes new work from 33 artists, including Fellows Nick Flynn, Samantha Hunt, Cate Marvin, and Mary Gaitskill, and was featured in The New York Times and New York magazine. She lived in Red Hook, New York, and taught writing at Columbia University.