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upcoming events

  • Sophia Shalmiyev: Mother Winter w/ Melissa Febos

    Monday February 25 | 7:30PM - 8:30PM Mother Winter is the story of Sophia’s emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist, and a woman raised without her mother. Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev grew up under the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad. An imbalance of …

    Monday February 25 | 7:30PM - 8:30PM

    Mother Winter is the story of Sophia’s emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist, and a woman raised without her mother. Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev grew up under the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad. An imbalance of power and widespread anti-Semitism in her homeland led her father to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America and abandoning her estranged and alcoholic mother, Elena. At age eleven, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her.

    Mother Winter depicts in urgent vignettes Sophia’s years of travel, searching, and forging meaningful connection with the worlds she occupies. The result is a searing meditation on motherhood, displacement, gender politics, and the pursuit of wholeness after shattering loss. And ultimately, it is an aching observation of the human heart across time and culture.

    Sophia Shalmiyev emigrated from Leningrad to NYC in 1990. An MFA graduate of Portland State University, she was the nonfiction editor for The Portland Review and is a recipient of the Laurels scholarship and numerous Kellogg’s fellowship awards. She has a second master’s degree in creative arts therapy from The School of Visual Arts, where she worked with survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Her work has appeared in Vela Magazine, Bellows American Review, Electric Lit, The Seattle Review of Books, Ravishly and The Literary Review, among others; all with a feminist lens. She lives in Portland.

    Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart, and the essay collection, Abandon Me. She is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow, and has also received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Ragdale, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University, MFA faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), and serves on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. She grew up on Cape Cod and lives in Brooklyn.

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  • Chloe Aridjis: Sea Monsters

    Wednesday February 27 | 7:30PM - 8:30PM One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking—recklessness, impulse, …

    Wednesday February 27 | 7:30PM - 8:30PM

    One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking—recklessness, impulse, independence. Tomás may also help Luisa fulfill an unusual obsession: she wants to track down a traveling troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs. According to newspaper reports, the dwarfs recently escaped a Soviet circus touring Mexico. The imagined fates of these performers fill Luisa’s surreal dreams as she settles in a beach community in Oaxaca.

    Surrounded by hippies, nudists, beachcombers, and eccentric storytellers, Luisa searches for someone, anyone, who will “promise, no matter what, to remain a mystery.” It is a quest more easily envisioned than accomplished. As she wanders the shoreline and visits the local bar, Luisa begins to disappear dangerously into the lives of strangers on Zipolite, the “Beach of the Dead.”

    Meanwhile, her father has set out to find his missing daughter. A mesmeric portrait of transgression and disenchantment unfolds.Sea Monsters is a brilliantly playful and supple novel about the moments and mysteries that shape us.

    Chloe Aridjis is a Mexican American writer who was born in New York and grew up in the Netherlands and Mexico. After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Oxford in nineteenth-century French poetry and magic shows, she lived for nearly six years in Berlin. Her debut novel, Book of Clouds, has been published in eight languages and won the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France. Aridjis sometimes writes about art and insomnia and was a guest curator at Tate Liverpool. In 2014, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in London.

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  • Nina LaCour: We Are Okay

    You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…. Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend…

    You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…. Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

    An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.

    Nina LaCour is the Michael L. Printz Award winning and bestselling author of We Are Okay, Hold Still, Everything Leads to You and The Disenchantments. She is also the co-author, with David Levithan, of You Know Me Well. A life-long lover of books and storytelling, she is on the faculty of Hamline University's MFAC program, runs The Slow Novel Lab, an online novel writing course, and hosts "Keeping a Notebook: a podcast on writing." She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wife and daughter. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @nina_lacour or at ninalacour.com

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  • Aatish Taseer: The Twice-Born w/ Karan Mahajan

    When Aatish Taseer first came to Benares, the spiritual capital of Hinduism, he was eighteen, the Westernized child of an Indian journalist and a Pakistani politician, raised among the intellectual and cultural elite of New Delhi. Nearly two decades later, Taseer leaves his life in Manhattan to go …

    When Aatish Taseer first came to Benares, the spiritual capital of Hinduism, he was eighteen, the Westernized child of an Indian journalist and a Pakistani politician, raised among the intellectual and cultural elite of New Delhi. Nearly two decades later, Taseer leaves his life in Manhattan to go in search of the Brahmins, wanting to understand his own estrangement from India through their ties to tradition.

    Known as the twice-born—first into the flesh, and again when initiated into their vocation—the Brahmins are a caste devoted to sacred learning. But what Taseer finds in Benares is a window on an India as internally fractured as his own continent-bridging identity. At every turn, the seductive, homogenizing force of modernity collides with the insistent presence of the past. In a globalized world, to be modern is to renounce India—and yet the tide of nationalism is rising, heralded by cries of “Victory to Mother India!” and an outbreak of anti-Muslim violence.

    From the narrow streets of the temple town to a Modi rally in Delhi, among the blossoming cotton trees and the bathers and burning corpses of the Ganges, Taseer struggles to reconcile magic with reason, faith in tradition with hope for the future and the brutalities of the caste system, all the while challenging his own myths about himself, his past, and his countries old and new.

    Aatish Taseer was born in 1980. He is the author of the memoir Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands and the acclaimed novels: The Way Things Were, a finalist for the 2016 Jan Michalski Prize; The Temple-Goers, which was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award; and Noon. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He is a contributing writer for The International New York Times and lives in New Delhi and New York.

    Karan Mahajan grew up in New Delhi, India and moved to the US for college. His first novel, Family Planning (2008), was a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. It was published in nine countries. His second novel, The Association of Small Bombs (2016), was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Awards and was named one of the "10 Best Books of 2016" by The New York Times. Karan's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker online, The New Republic and other venues. From 2018-2019 he will be a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

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  • Jennifer E. Smith: Field Notes on Love w/ Jenny Han

    It’s the perfect idea for a romantic week together: traveling across America by train. But then Hugo’s girlfriend dumps him. Her parting gift: the tickets for their long-planned last-hurrah-before-uni trip. Only, it’s been booked under her name. Nontransferable, no exceptions. Mae is still reeling…

    It’s the perfect idea for a romantic week together: traveling across America by train. But then Hugo’s girlfriend dumps him. Her parting gift: the tickets for their long-planned last-hurrah-before-uni trip. Only, it’s been booked under her name. Nontransferable, no exceptions.

    Mae is still reeling from being rejected from USC’s film school. When she stumbles across Hugo’s ad for a replacement Margaret Campbell (her full name!), she’s certain it’s exactly the adventure she needs to shake off her disappointment and jump-start her next film.

    A cross-country train trip with a complete stranger might not seem like the best idea. But to Mae and Hugo, both eager to escape their regular lives, it makes perfect sense. What starts as a convenient arrangement soon turns into something more. But when life outside the train catches up to them, can they find a way to keep their feelings for each other from getting derailed?

    Jennifer E. Smith is the author of eight novels for young adults, including The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and her work has been translated into thirty-three languages. She lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @JenESmith or visit her at jenniferesmith.com.

    Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of Shug, The Summer I Turned Pretty series, co-author of the Burn for Burn series, and most recently, the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy. A former children’s bookseller, she earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at DearJennyHan.com.

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  • T Kira Madden: Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls w/ Rick Moody

    Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden’s raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar …

    Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden’s raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hide in plain sight.

    As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.

    With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai’i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It’s a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.

    T Kira Madden is an APIA writer, photographer, and amateur magician. She is the founding editor-in-chief of No Tokens, and facilitates writing workshops for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals. A 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in nonfiction literature, she has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Tin House, DISQUIET, Summer Literary Seminars, and Yaddo, where she was selected for the 2017 Linda Collins Endowed Residency Award. She lives in New York City and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

    Rick Moody is the author of six novels, three collections of stories, and three non-fiction works, the most recent of which is the forthcoming memoir (from Henry Holt, in August 2019), The Long Accomplishment. He teaches at Brown University.

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  • Julian Glander: 3D Sweeties w/ Brian Heater

    This is a debut short comics collection, featuring pastel-hued, emoji-like characters dealing with twenty-first century (and beyond!) problems. In a digitally drawn, three-dimensional universe, characters grapple with interior decorating woes, amorous microbiology, and where to find the absolute …

    This is a debut short comics collection, featuring pastel-hued, emoji-like characters dealing with twenty-first century (and beyond!) problems.

    In a digitally drawn, three-dimensional universe, characters grapple with interior decorating woes, amorous microbiology, and where to find the absolute most aspirational succulents. Readers will fall in love with “America’s favorite mug,” Cuppy; hear the familial bickering of sentient purple slime molds; and encounter Sarah Something and her musings about gaming culture and conceptual art.

    Julian Glander is a 3D animator, designer, and illustrator. Mostly self-taught, his work has been featured on Disney, MTV, Adult Swim, and The New York Times. He received the Art Directors Club (ADC) "Young Guns" Award in 2015. In 2016, his animated short film debuted at South by Southwest and GLAS Animation Festival. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

    Brian Heater is the Hardware Editor at TechCrunch. His writing has appeared in Spin, Wired, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, The Onion, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, The Engadget and various other publications. He hosts the weekly Boing Boing interview podcast RiYL, has appeared as a regular NPR contributor and shares his Queens apartment with a rabbit named Lucy.

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  • NYRB Book Club: The Pure and the Impure

    Monday March 18 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM Books Are Magic is proud to host the (NYRB) Books Are Magic Book Club, a book club that discusses a different book by a female author in the New York Review Books catalog every other month. This month we are discussing The Pure and the Impure by Collette. Colette…

    Monday March 18 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM

    Books Are Magic is proud to host the (NYRB) Books Are Magic Book Club, a book club that discusses a different book by a female author in the New York Review Books catalog every other month.

    This month we are discussing The Pure and the Impure by Collette.

    Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, “the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography.” This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so intimately acquainted begins in the darkness and languor of a fashionable opium den. It continues as a series of unforgettable encounters with men and, especially, women whose lives have been improbably and yet permanently transfigured by the strange power of desire. Lucid and lyrical, The Pure and the Impure stands out as one of modern literature’s subtlest reckonings not only with the varieties of sexual experience, but with the always unlikely nature of love.

    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette [1873-1954], was born in the village of Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, where she led an idyllic childhood. At the age of twenty, she married Henri Gauthier-Villars, known as Willy, a Parisian man of letters under whose name she published the Claudine novels. Separated from Willy in 1905, Colette supported herself as an actress before establishing her own reputation as a writer. She was celebrated in later years as one of the great figures of twentieth-century French life and letters, and was the first woman to be accorded a state funeral by the French Republic.

    This event is free! Let us know you're coming on Facebook.

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