Emily St. John Mandel is the acclaimed author of books like Station Eleven and the more recent Sea of Tranquility. And, like most authors, she has no control over what happens on her own Wikipedia page. Which, for a while, was fine — there wasn't anything particularly concerning on the page that she felt compelled to remove.
But Mandel ran into some issues after getting divorced earlier this year. Her now-ex-husband had been mentioned on her page as a personal detail, with his identity being confirmed by a Wiki-editor-verified source in an interview from many years ago. After their separation, Mandel wanted to change the information on her Wikipedia page … but, according to Wikipedia editors, lacked a verifiable source to confirm the first-hand information she was providing.
Upon seeing these tweets, Slate journalist Dan Kois reached out to Mandel and asked her for what it is possible the most delightful softball interview in the history of journalism: a conversation explicitly designed to confirm that Mandel is divorced, so that someone could add it as a source on her Wikipedia page.
So, are you married these days?
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 goes into a tiny bit more detail about why she wanted to update her Wikipedia page (namely, so it wasn't weird for her current girlfriend) and the annoyingly well-intentioned bureaucracy that caused so many complications. But mostly, it's just an interview done for the explicit purpose of updating Wikipedia. Which is frankly ridiculous, and delightful.
A Totally Normal Interview With Author Emily St. John Mandel [Dan Kios / Slate]