The interview was published with the title 'A Totally Normal Interview With Author Emily St.John Mandel.'
The bestselling author of the book "Station Eleven and Sea of Tranquility," Emily St.John Mandel, wanted something unusual for Christmas this year. She wanted a journalist writing for a publication to ask her if she was still married. Why? Because Mandel wanted to update her marital status to divorced on Wikipedia and apparently this was the only way to go about it.
It all started when Mandel shared this on Twitter: "Friends, did you know that if you have a Wikipedia page and you get a divorce, the only way to update your Wikipedia is to say you're divorced in an interview? It sounds crazy, but Wikipedia runs on citations! 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. Also if you're reading this and you're one of my girlfriend’s friends, she’s not actually dating a married woman, it’s just that my Wikipedia page is a time capsule."
Dan Kois from Slate obliged to make Mandel's Christmas wish come true and did an email interview with her titled, "A Totally Normal Interview With Author Emily St.John Mandel."
Are you reading this, Wikipedia???!??!! https://t.co/XZnQem36Lk— Slate (@Slate) December 17, 2022
Kois starts the interview by asking the author whether she is doing anything exciting for the holidays." Mandel replied: "Yes! I'm flying to British Columbia with my daughter. My family's all on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver. Flights to Vancouver Island have been greatly reduced since the pandemic, so getting there will be a two-day odyssey involving three flights and a night in the Vancouver airport hotel. It's the first time I've been out there for Christmas since 2019. I can't wait."
After two more questions, Kois got to the crux of the matter. "So are you married these days?" he asked, to which Mandel responded with a simple "no." Reiterating the question for good measure, Kois said: "Really! So you can confirm here in Slate dot com that you are not just, like, spending some time away, but are literally d-i-v-o-r-c-e-d."
"Literally! The marriage ended the first week of April, after which I spent most of the rest of 2022 in divorce settlement negotiations and then received a judgment of divorce in November," Mandel replied.
She then went on talk about why she is finding it difficult to update her marital status on the online encyclopedia. "A long time ago, I want to say 2012, I gave an interview to Publishers Weekly where I talked about my marriage," Mandel said. "So there was this fairly major publication wherein I'd talked about being married, and it turned out that worked against me when trying to get Wikipedia to recognize my divorce. According to a Wikipedia editor, I needed a comparable citation to get the change made on the page." It began to bother Mandel that the Wikipedia entry "was essentially a time capsule."
Mandel explained 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. I needed an interview, and I knew it would be hard for my publicists to make a story happen in the last week before Christmas, so I thought, 'maybe I'll try Twitter?'"
Friends, did you know that if you have a Wikipedia page and you get a divorce, the only way to update your Wikipedia is to say you’re divorced in an interview?— Emily St. J. Mandel (@EmilyMandel) December 17, 2022
She added that she was "grateful for the response" and that it meant "a lot that people responded so quickly." Mandel's Wikipedia page has since been updated with the information that she has a girlfriend. Moreover, it says that "she has one daughter from her marriage to Kevin Mandel, which ended in November 2022."