Nov 25, 2008
Rivka Galchen was born in Toronto. She grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, where her father, Tzvi Gal-Chen, was a professor of meterology at the University of Oklahoma. Her novel Atmospheric Disturbances features a character with the same name, Tzvi Gal-Chen, a professor of meterology and a fellow of the (fictional) Royal Academy of Meterology.
Galchen attended Princeton University, where she was an English major, and applied in her sophomore year to an early-admissions program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She received her M.D. from Mount Sinai in 2003, with a focus in psychiatry. After completing medical school, she completed an MFA at Columbia University. Farcically, Atmospheric Disturbances was nominated for Canada’s Governor General’s Award for fiction (she left the country when she was four years old). No way she was going to win; still, on the flip side, provides nice exposure for both prize and author.
We talk here among other things about denial, death, fathers, unreliable narrators, James Wood, Walter Benjamin, science, consensus knowledge, and being stoned.