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- Emily St. John Mandel said getting interviewed was the only way to update her relationship on Wikipedia.
- The author wanted to update her page to say she is divorced, and needed to cite a published article.
- After being interviewed by Slate, Mandel was able to update her page to say she’s not married.
The author of the post-apocalyptic book “Station Eleven” recently found herself in an unusual dilemma. But like any good novelist, she figured out a way to write her way out of it, thanks to some extra help from the internet.
Emily St. John Mandel, seeking a way to update her Wikipedia page to say that she was no longer married, took to Twitter to ask if others knew the only way to update a Wikipedia page after a divorce is to cite an interview where the subject confirmed as much.
—Emily St. J. Mandel (@EmilyMandel) December 17, 2022
“So anyway all I want for Christmas is for a journalist writing a story for publication (online-only is fine!) to ask me if I’m still married,” she tweeted.
Two hours later, Mandel was granted her Christmas wish.
In an email interview with Dan Kois at Slate Magazine titled, “A Totally Normal Interview With Author Emily St. John Mandel,” she was able to set the record straight that she is divorced from her ex-husband, playwright Kevin Mandel, and has a girlfriend now.
“So, are you married these days?” Kois asked. “No,” she responded.
Mandel said her marriage ended during the first week of April, and she’s spent the rest of the year in divorce settlement negotiations, receiving a judgement of divorce in November.
Insider reached out to Mandel via her publisher and over Instagram in an attempt to get further comment, but did not immediately hear back ahead of publication. Wikipedia and Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales did not immediately response to Insider’s request for comment on Mandel’s situation.
Mandel talked to Kois about her dilemma with Wikipedia, saying that an editor for the site told her she “needed a comparable citation” to her 2012 Publishers Weekly interview where she mentioned she was married.
“So my Wikipedia entry was essentially a time capsule,” she told Kois. “It bothered me that it was no longer accurate, but also it was kind of awkward for my girlfriend. I didn’t love that if her friends looked me up, they’d think she was dating a married woman.”
She said she turned to Twitter because she thought it would be hard for her publicists to pitch a story about her to journalists and have anything publish before Christmas.
“I’m so grateful for the response,” Mandel said. “It means a lot that people responded so quickly.”
Now, her Wikipedia page says Mandel, “has a daughter with former husband Kevin Mandel,” and that she has a girlfriend.
Mandel has written six novels, including “Sea of Tranquility” and “Station Eleven,” which was developed into a miniseries on HBO Max. Her book “The Glass Hotel” was listed as one of former president Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020.