Elizabeth Strout was raised in small towns in Maine and New Hampshire but moved to New York City as a young woman. The characters in her books, which include Olive Kitteridge, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible, are from similar communities, situated on the US east coast or in the Midwest.
These rural characters are at the heart of Strout’s fiction, and her pared down, unsentimental prose has been praised for finding the extraordinary in these ordinary, often overlooked lives.
Her latest novel, Anything is Possible, focuses on the disparity between small-town, rural American life and that of the big cities, underlining the real contempt that exists between them, which has earned the title of “a masterclass in class”. Watch the video interview with the BBC’s George Alagiah from the Hay Festival to find out more.
Talking Books: Hay Festival 2017 Elizabeth Strout airs on BBC World News at 13:30 on Sat 24 June 2017. Check the schedule for more details.
If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.