Kate Bolick '95 signs book deal
On Jan. 31, Kate Bolick ’95’s dream—a major six figure deal to publish a book she conceptualized eight years ago, titled, Among the Suitors: Single Women I Have Loved—came true. “I leapt around for 10 days in a fog,” she said. “It’s so exciting!”
The book will be published by Crown, a division of Random House. The book tackles normative conceptions regarding individuality and marriage. However, Bolick did not always know writing this book would be possible.
“Back when I came up with the idea in 2004, I struggled to identify a larger cultural conversation I could engage [with]” she said. “I felt too close to the material,” she added.
Then came what she described as “a stroke of editorial brilliance.” This was an assignment to write an article about the future of dating, family life and marriage for The Atlantic. The result was a booming cover story titled, “All the Single Ladies.”
The assignment has since evolved into a passion for Bolick, who echoes the sentiment of her readers, saying: “I could keep talking about this forever and ever. I feel like I had all of this unpacked energy.”
In the wake of her success and in between numerous TV appearances, Bolick’s story has helped to illuminate a new demographic of young single women grappling with the same issues—a community she couldn’t see in 2004. Their response has been great. “I now feel like I have a legion of little sisters,” she said. “As a big sister, I can write a book for them.”
Bolick said that, in all these 20-somethings on the brink of who-knows-what with who-knows-who after graduation, wrestling with relationships and expectations, she found revitalization and inspiration for her new work. With their numbers growing alongside the predominance of a gender gap in marriage and awareness of the female ascent relative to men—who have been rapidly declining in income, educational attainment and future employment prospects—Bolick hopes to ride the tide and reach out to a wider audience with her new book. “Crown has a big vision,” she said.
In her book, Bolick hoped to deepen her investigations and involvement in the feminist cause in way she could not with pure journalism. The book will share her own experiences and provide a narrative-driven and intimate approach to the question of what it means to be an individual bobbing through seas of relationships, expectations for marriage and conceptions of independence.
By means of her anecdotal and humanizing identification with the subject matter—as she executed in “All the Single Ladies”—Bolick aims to share more of her life experiences in Among the Suitors and relay “how to shape a life, identify and become the adult you want to be,” she said.
“I want this book to be about being individuals and thinking individually about our lives,” she said, “and not folding into pre-existing templates.”
Bolick herself is a prototype of her own philosophy: a freelancing, single writer who thinks deliberately, creatively and deeply about the world—and her role in its structures—as a woman and an individual.
“We are living in a more undefined period of time and without a roadmap,” she said. An optimist by nature, she does not believe that the flux and movement away from traditional ideals of marriage (brought on by mounting divorce rates and dynamic gender roles within modern families) means that we are all destined to end up singing the blues.
“We can be living our lives in many different ways and need to be comfortable with that new reality,” she said. “Culture is always changing, and we’ve been heading this way for the last 50 years.”
Though Bolick is sure to make clear where she believes our culture is headed in her new book and has set her sights high for the future—working on an adaptation of “All the Single Ladies” for a TV series on Lifetime and touring the country speaking at colleges about women in the workplace, business and marriage—she has never forgotten her roots.
She said, “My American Studies major at Colby taught me how to look at the world, and my studies in poetry gave me a literary sensibility.”