Andrew Solomon trained in Rome for a month in 1985 before serving as chief of documentation on the restoration of the west peristyle wall of the House of Menander in Pompeii. He has visited the Eternal City often but is not an archaeologist or preservationist. As an author and lecturer, Solomon has expertise on psychology, politics, and the arts. As an activist, he fights for LGBT rights and mental health. It comes as no surprise that the subjects of his books—such as The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost (1991); a novel called The Stone Boat (1994); and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (2001), which won a National Book Award—range widely. His nonfiction book Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (2012) was turned into a documentary film, directed by Rachel Dretzin, and premiered last year.
Solomon said, “I seek peace and beauty at the AAR—they are both qualities conducive to writing, and I know they are there to be found.” He will work on Who Rocks the Cradle, which explores expanding ideas of family: divorce and stepfamilies; interracial, interfaith, and inter-abled marriages; adoption and foster care; single parenthood; assisted reproduction; gay families; and more. The subject builds on his recently released audiobook, New Family Values (2018). “I will be joined for half of my stay by my husband and our nine-year-old son, who is studying ancient history in fourth grade, and I will accompany him to some of the great sights of Rome. I hope to work on a children’s book I’ve been writing for years that is based on the stories I tell George at bedtime.”