Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Counternarratives Launch at Community Bookstore (UPDATED)

UPDATED: I've posted the YouTube video of the event below!


Last night's reading at Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn marked the first official event in my launch of Counternarratives, and an exciting, enjoyable event it was. Before a full audience, the great Jeffery Renard Allen, author of a number of award-winning works, including the novels Rails Under My Back and The Song of the Shank, a friend and writer I admire tremendously, joined me, reading an excerpt from the latter novel before I read the ending of the story "The Aeronauts," in which free black Philadelphia-native and teenager Theodore ("Red") accidentally sails off in a sabotaged balloon into Confederate airspace early in the US Civil War. (That snippet always chokes me up a bit.)

Jeff then posed some questions, about form, politics, race, history, and my (still unfinished) novels, before we opened up the discussion to the floor. It was a delight to bring the book into the world in live conversation with Jeff, with whose work I think of my own always in conceptual, intellectual and literary conversation, and exhilarating to be able to read from the now published book before a live audience, filled with many old friends, colleagues, former students, and my wonderful publisher New Directions' key members, among them my editor, Barbara Epler.

Below are a few photos from the event. There's video which I hope to upload soon. I have two more readings on the near horizon, on June 23 at Word Bookstore in Jersey City, and on July 1, in conversation with Christine Smallwood, at McNally-Jackson in Manhattan, so please come out if you can. And if you'd like me to come to your local bookstore or university to read, or chat, drop me a note! Thanks so much again to Community Bookstore and their amazing staff, to New Directions, and everyone who came to help launch the book!

Jeff and I
(Photo by Barbara Epler)
Reading from "The Aeronauts" 
(Photo by Barbara Epler)
Reading from "The Aeronauts" 
(Photo by Barbara Epler)
Chatting with friends and former students
Miriam Rocek, her lovely girlfriend,
and Brooke Sossin
(Photo by Barbara Epler)
The video from Community Bookstore, courtesy of New Directions!

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