From the archives: Lauren Groff discusses 'Matrix' at Talking Volumes

two women laugh on stage
Novelist Lauren Groff, left, and MPR News host Kerri Miller interact with the audience on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn.
Tom Campbell | MPR

Maggie O’Farrell’s last novel, “Hamnet,” the fictional story of William Shakespeare’s son who died at age 11, was an international best-seller.

Her new novel, “The Marriage Portrait” also delves into history. O’Farrell was struck by Robert Browning’s poem, “My Last Duchess,” which itself was inspired by a painting of a young Italian woman who died in 1561, at the age of 16, just a year after she was married to the Duke of Ferrara. But did she die? Or was she poisoned?

“The Marriage Portrait” reminded us of Lauren Groff’s 2021 hit, “Matrix,” set in medieval France. So for this week’s deep track, we thought we’d bring you the Talking Volumes interview MPR News host Kerri Miller did with Groff on the stage of the Fitzgerald Theater last year, where Groff describes the history, the art and the music that inspired her writing.


  • Lauren Groff is the author of six books. “Matrix” is her most recent, released in 2021.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or RSS.

Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!