Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House 58 West 10th Street
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. Her books include the national bestsellers “We Were the Mulvaneys” and “Blonde” (a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and the New York Times bestsellers “The Falls” (winner of the 2005 Prix Femina Etranger) and “The Gravedigger’s Daughter.” Her essay collection “Soul at the White Heat” is new from Ecco Press this fall.
Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House 58 West 10th Street
Featured authors for the event include:
Jonterri Gadson’s debut full length collection of poems is “Blues Triumphant” (YesYes Books, 2016). Kevin Simmonds is the author of two collections of poetry, “Mad for Meat” (Salmon Poetry, 2012) and “Bend to It” (Salmon Poetry, 2014). Tiphanie Yanique is the author of “How to Escape from a Leper Colony” (Graywolf 2010) “I Am the Virgin Islands” (Little Bell Caribbean 2012) and “Land of Love and Drowning” (Riverhead 2014) with a new collection of poems entitled “Wife” (Peepal Tree 2016). Co-sponsored with Cave Canem Foundation.
“To anyone and everyone who would rather jam to Virginia Woolf than a woofer. Who still fancies Hemingway the all-time bar-brawl champ or has, at some point, uttered the word ‘transcendental’ in a social setting. To anyone who has ever snuck a flask into the library. This is your night.” –The Village Voice
The first Lit Crawl NYC took place in 2008, along a rambling route from the Lower East Side, to the East Village, and over to Williamsburg. Since then, the upstart Lit Crawl has become a permanent and highly anticipated fixture on New York City’s packed literary calendar. Lit Crawl NYC brings literature to the streets via brainy readings and wacky events such as Literary Pictionary and Nerd Jeopardy alongside Tarot card readings, Flash portraiture, mobile photo booths, music from publishing house bands, and hundreds of other events full of readers, writers, fun-loving boozers, and all-around literary mayhem.
Since 2015, Lit Crawl NYC has been jointly produced by Litquake and PEN America, a community of 4,400 writers, translators, and literary professionals dedicated to protecting free expression and promoting literary culture.
The Best American Comics series launches its latest collection with this year’s guest editor: Roz Chast, beloved New Yorker cartoonist and award-winning author of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? She’ll be joined by the series editor, comics sage and evangelist Bill Kartalopoulos, along with a panel of the artists behind her picks for the year’s best comics:
Liana Finck, author of “All the Paintings Here Agree”
Char Esme, author of “Blinky-Jinks Playhouse” and “Big Rudy’s Cowgirls Club” (with Lauren Poor)
Introduction by Andrea Baron, VP Programming, WNBA-NYC
Over 100 people attended our November 5th panel discussion on Political Fiction at Pace University in New York City. The Dyson College departments of Pace Publishing, Women’s and Gender Studies, and English departments co-sponsored the event, and the many students in the audience set the tone for a lively discussion of the traditions and inspirations for political fiction, as well as the challenges facing women writers.
Our authors discussed the challenges of writing political fiction — framing language, developing character, and structuring plot to dramatize conflicts of class, race, gender, and politics while avoiding the pitfalls of authorial intrusion and didacticism.
Alex Grover, a current Pace MS in Publishing graduate student who attended the event, shares his insights about the panel and what the authors had to say:
Duty against the Norm: How Five Authors Write Political Fiction in Order to Change Their World
By Alex Grover
Why aren’t more books tackling tough and ambiguous subjects?
That was my question after having the privilege to attend a powerful panel hosted by the WNBA-NYC called, Balancing Commitment andCraft in Political Fiction. The five novelists—Céline Keating, Elizabeth Nunez, Tiphanie Yanique, Ellen Meeropol, and Marnie Mueller—in a discussion moderated by Susan Breen talked about their united cause in not only giving voice to important, impactful movements but also giving themselves voices as women. As Yanique stated early in the conversation, “to be a woman writer, even today, is a political act.”
The novelists first discussed their books as examples of the niche political fiction genre, including a story of growing up as a white non-prisoner in a Japanese internment camp, a mindful revision of The Tempest, and a discovery of self-identity during the feminist movement of the late 60s and early 70s. Why did they write these books? For Mueller, it was wanting “to know my background, what my parents did during World War II.” For Nunez, it was a way to articulate how those who appropriated her culture in the past had generalized and transformed her people into something they weren’t. In writing Prospero’s Daughter, Nunez “talks back to Shakespeare.”
Breen, an author herself and an instructor at Gotham Writers’ Workshop in Manhattan, then asked the panel, “What is political fiction?” At its core, it’s “tersely political material,” said Mueller, “strung together with a plot.” From Meeropol’s experience, “Real political fiction should be partisan, but should ask the reader to take a stand.” As Yanique put it, writing political fiction meant “consciously writing against a particular kind of patriarchy.” No matter the interpretation of the question, the panel met at an agreement that all novels, no matter their structure, are political to some degree. “If you have a book that exclusively features white people in a white suburb,” she said, “that’s still political. That’s still making a statement. It’s just that that statement doesn’t go against the status quo.”
On writing and craft, the authors gave advice for those who wanted to pen their own novels. While a novel may be a vital tool in influencing our society, it must also be entertaining. “We are wrapping you up and pulling you in,” Nunez said, comparing the process to a sequence from Charlotte’s Web where a fly allows itself to be captured by the titular spider. “You don’t know you’re being eaten.” From implanting “zingers” in a work to using mystery as a vehicle for political subversion, as Céline described in her own observation of the genre, authors must still keep the audience’s attention.
As powerful as their statements were, the panelists recognized that there are barriers that must be overcome in the publishing industry. Considering minority writers, Nunez talked about how a publishing house will say they publish black writers, yet those writers are still gathered in marginal imprints, or ghettoes as Nunez referred to them, and not exposed to mainstream audiences. As Nunez asked when considering the problem, “Are we not human?”
The evening with these authors was an exploration of the underpinnings of contemporary thought, a writing workshop, and a challenging view of current publishing paradigms. Some standards of writing we consider to be normal are not. As Yanique asked, “There’s not one gay person in Maine?” She was referring to an unnamed and popular author that actively influences our perception of the times. Considering the many social issues of the present still unresolved, the panelists recognized their moral obligation—and accepted.
Alex Grover (@AlexPGrover) is a graduate assistant at Pace University Press. He has written articles for Quirk Booksand Apiary Magazine and has work published in Strange Horizons (forthcoming) and Acappella Zoo. He is currently participating in NaNoWriMo.
November 19, 6:30pm
686 Fulton street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Bryan Stevenson, one of the country’s most visionary legal thinkers, social justice advocates, and a MacArthur “genius”, takes us on an unforgettable journey into the broken American criminal justice system with his new book Just Mercy. Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a law practice dedicated to defending some of America’s most rejected and marginalized people, driven by the belief that our society is ultimately judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. His book follows one defining case, the suspenseful battle to free an unjustly accused man from death row in Alabama, while also stepping back to tell the profoundly moving stories of men, women, and even children, who find themselves at the mercy of a system where poverty and racism are often larger factors than guilt or innocence. Praised by Tracy Kidder, Michelle Alexander, Isabel Wilkerson, John Grisham and Desmond Tutu, Stevenson’s book has the potential to open our eyes to the most pressing injustices of our era. Stevenson talks about his work, his book, and the American legal system with Piper Kerman, author of the prison memoir Orange is the New Black (the basis for the hit Netflix series), at Bedford Stuyvesant’s community nonprofit Restoration Plaza. Reception and book signing to follow.
Women’s Fiction Panel (with Ru Freeman, Taiye Selasi, Tiphanie Yanique, Mira Jacob, Elliott Holt, and Alison Hart)
52 Prince St, New York, New York 10012
Come to McNally Jackson and join a stellar lineup of authors for a discussion of being writers, being women, and being both, and readings from passages they each found most difficult to write in recent work.With Ru Freeman (ON SAL MAL LANE), Taiye Selasi (GHANA MUST GO), Tiphanie Yanique (LAND OF LOVE AND DROWNING), Mira Jacob (THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING), Elliott Holt (YOU ARE ONE OF THEM), and fiction writer Alison Hart.
Evangeline Lilly: The Squickerwonkers, Vol. 1
November 17, 4:00pm 97 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007
Actress Evangeline Lilly, star of Lost and The Hobbit, joins us to discuss her new book Squickerwonkers vol 1. Priority seating with book purchase. Ask any bookseller for details and event guidelines.
Art Folds Event
November 21, 6:00pm 97 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007
Customers are invited to transform a book into a piece of art or create an origami heart card using the ArtFolds technique. Recommended for ages 13 and up. Please arrive early; space and supplies are limited.
The Way of Shadows: The Graphic Novel, by Andy Macdonald
November 22, 6:00pm
267 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215
From the gutters of the Warrens to the opulent court at Khalidor, Brent Weeks’s epic fantasy THE WAY OF SHADOWS unfolds on the page of this graphic novel adaptation as seen through the eyes of seasoned illustrator Andy MacDonald!
For the orphan Azoth, there are precious few avenues out of the life of a guild rat in the back alleys of the Warrens. There are no rewards without risks, and there are few greater risks than apprenticing yourself to the city’s most accomplished assassin, Durzo Blint.
Reborn as Kylar Stern, the young man must learn to navigate the intrigues of politics and the intricacies of magic, but does he have both the killer instinct and the raw talent to survive the cutthroat life he’s chosen?