Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman is the author of Sounds Like Titanic: A Memoir. Her recent writing has appeared in McSweeney's, The New York Times Magazine, Brevity and Hippocampus. She holds a BA in Middle Eastern studies and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and a PhD in English from the University of North Texas. She teaches creative writing at Northern Kentucky University, where she recently won the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. In her spare time she enjoys cooking (Italian), dancing (Beyoncé), and dreaming up clever Halloween costumes (Large Hadron Particle Collider).

Sounds Like Titanic

A young woman leaves Appalachia for life as a classical musician—or so she thinks.

ImageWhen aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her lifelong dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham. When the group “performs,” the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a CD. The mastermind behind this scheme is a peculiar and mysterious figure known as The Composer, who is gaslighting his audiences with music that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic movie soundtrack. On tour with his chaotic ensemble, Hindman spirals into crises of identity and disillusionment as she “plays” for audiences genuinely moved by the performance, unable to differentiate real from fake. Sounds Like Titanic is a surreal, often hilarious coming-of-age story. Hindman writes with precise, candid prose and sharp insight into ambition and gender, especially when it comes to the difficulties young women face in a world that views them as silly, shallow, and stupid. As the story swells to a crescendo, it gives voice to the anxieties and illusions of a generation of women, and reveals the failed promises of a nation that takes comfort in false realities.

Publication date:
February 12, 2019

Available for pre-order:
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Press Coverage

Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman: Milli Vanilli on the violin


Review of Sounds Like Titanic


'Sounds Like Titanic': What It's Like To Play In A Fake Orchestra

WVXU: Cincinnati Edition

10 Memoirs We Should All Be Reading in 2019


This writer spent 4 years working as a fake violinist. Her memoir explains post-9/11 America


Listening to What's Real

Shelf Awareness

Fielding Fake Orchestras and Economic Hardships in ‘Sounds Like Titanic’


"Sounds Like Titanic": Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman’s real memoir about her turn as a fake violinist

Failure Magazine

Both the Wound and the Healing: Talking With Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman

The Rumpus

Fake violinist on the massive lie that broke her


Aspirations Come Up Against Economic Hardship in 'Sounds Like Titanic'

NPR Book Review

10 New Books That'll Help You Maintain Bibliophile Status

O: The Oprah Magazine

Fake violinist discovers true path

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Best New Books To Read This Week


10 new books Amazon's editors say are must-reads this February

Business Insider

Interview with Scott Simon

NPR's Weekend Edition

Top 10 Book for February 2019


Best Books of February 2019

Apple Books

Hottest New Releases for February 2019


"What to Read in February"

Garden & Gun Magazine

"Going Down With The Ship"


"What To Read When Work is Stranger Than Fiction"

Goodreads Author Interview

15 Books to Read in 2019

The Week

The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019


10 Southern Books We Want To Read in 2019

Atlanta Journal Constitution

43 Highly Anticipated Books of 2019


Advance Praise for Sounds Like Titanic:


“Far-reaching, insightful, and unputdownable.”

- Booklist

a remarkable piece of experience

“[A] most original memoir, one in which the narrator’s intelligence deepens by the page…. I salute Jessica Hindman for having shaped so well a remarkable piece of experience.”

- Vivian Gornick, author of The Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir


“[P]rovocative. … A tricky, unnerving, consistently fascinating memoir.”

- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

It's a Coen Brothers movie come to life

"Sounds Like Titanic would be unbelievable as a novel, but as a memoir it is deliciously bizarre and utterly American. It's a Coen Brothers movie come to life—Ruby Tuesdays, QVC, and one woman working for years as a fake violinist for classical music's version of Thomas Kinkade. I couldn't put it down."

- Caitlin Doughty, bestselling author of From Here to Eternity and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Hindman is an emissary for a generation

“Hindman is an emissary for a generation, repurposing its sarcasm and irony in a nuanced, humorous, and intelligent look at what it means to construct and consume fake realities in post-9/11 America.”

- Angela Palm, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize for Riverine

an incisive look at class and gender

“An evocative portrait of America’s literal and figurative landscapes, an incisive look at class and gender, and an examination of what authenticity means.”

- Justin St. Germain, author of Son of a Gun

a funny, angry, merciless, empathetic book

“It’s difficult to write a funny, angry book. It’s even harder to write a merciless, empathetic book. But here comes Jessica Hindman, doing the impossible with a funny, angry, merciless, empathetic book that’s not only a hugely entertaining memoir, but an insightful meditation on a time in our nation’s recent history whose strange and ominous influence grows more apparent by the day.”

- Tom Bissell, author of Apostle and coauthor of The Disaster Artist


Creative Nonfiction

“Writers Recommend.” - Poets & Writers. 28 Feb 2019. Web.

“How to Fake an Oscar-Nominated Musical Performance.” - Medium. 22 Feb 2019. Web.

“A Dream Job To Good to Be True, A Story Too Weird To Believe.” - LitHub. 7 Feb 2019. Web.

"Sounds Like Titanic: A Memoir." W.W. Norton, 2019. Print.

“Exponential.” - McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. 2 Nov 2018. Web.

“Milli Violini.” - LennyLetter. 26 June 2018. Web.

“Letter of Recommendation: Vivaldi’s ‘Winter.’” - The New York Times Magazine. 25 Feb 2018. Print. Web.

“False Note.” - Rhapsody Magazine. (November, 2017). Print. Web.

“Advanced Placement.” - Hippocampus Magazine. (November, 2016). Web.

“Seven Women Hold a Man’s Brain in Their Hands.” - Brevity. 49. (May, 2015). Web.

“West Virginia Tunnel Vision.” Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose. 12. (2013): 45-63. Print.

“Solo Virtuoso.” O: The Oprah Magazine Apr. 2009: 40. Print.

“Their Struggle Is Ours Too.” HAMSA Initiative. The American Islamic Congress, 11 Sept. 2007. Web.

“Cairo, Egypt.” Invisible Citizens: Youth Politics after September 11. Ed. Ganesh Sitaraman and Previn Warren. New York: IUniverse, Harvard College, 2003. 8-9. Print.


“Amelia and the Sauce.” Internationally Yours: Prize-Winning Stories. Columbia, MD: Joyous Pub., 2006. 43-47. Print.

Interviews & Book Reviews

“Interview with Alicia Oltuski.” The American Literary Review Online. 12 May 2012. Web.

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans.” Book Review. The American Literary Review Online. 30 Sept. 2011. Web.

“Masters of the Typewriter, Doctors of the Whip.” Book Review of The Program Era by Mark McGurl. American Literary Review Online. 15 Nov. 2010. Web.


Book Publicist: Erin Lovett

Agent: Allison Devereux

Upcoming Events

BEREA, KY: Thursday, March 21st, 2019
Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, 6pm. With Sabrina Sipple. (MORE INFO)

CINCINNATI: Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Cincinnati Art Museum, 6:30pm. With Rachael Banks, Mike Oberst, Richard Taylor, and George Ella Lyon

LOUISVILLE, KY: Thursday, April 11th, 2019
Gravely Brewing, 6-8pm. With Robert Simonds of the Louisville Orchestra. Sponsored by Louisville Literary Arts

WOODSTOCK, VA: Friday, May 17th
5:30pm, Muse Vineyards.

DENVER: Monday, June 17th-Tuesday, June 18th
Lit Fest, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Time TBA.

NASHVILLE: Friday, October 11th
Southern Festival of the Books, Time TBA.

GALLATIN, TN: Saturday November 2nd
Keynote Reading, TYCA-TN Conference, Time TBA.

LEXINGTON, KY: November 10th-16th
Kentucky Book Festival, Time TBA