Eat, Drink & Be Literary:
Dinner and a Reading in BAMcafé

Photo of Edward P. Jones by Scott Ellison Smith

A unique series for sophisticated writers, readers, and eaters, Eat, Drink & Be Literary continues the momentum of the past two sell-out series, bringing major contemporary authors to BAMcafé for intimate dinners, readings, and discussions that are always entertaining and engaging.

Events begin with a sumptuous buffet created by BAMcafé's acclaimed executive chef, Coleman Foster, with premium wine provided by Pine Ridge Winery; live acoustic music accompanies dinner. Following the performance and dinner, authors read from their work and are interviewed by a moderator, providing a forum for authors to talk candidly about the artistic and thematic issues that inform their work. An audience Q&A and a book signing complete the evening.

The featured authors and moderators are:

Brigid Hughes, moderator

Brigid Hughes is the founding editor of A Public Space, a journal of literature and culture based in Brooklyn. She worked at The Paris Review for many years, succeeding George Plimpton as editor in 2003; she left the magazine in 2005. The debut issue of A Public Space was published in March 2006.
Photo: Tobias Everke

For tickets and information,


Francine Prose, BAMcafé, Thu, Jan 11 at 6:30 pm

Podcast featuring Author
Francine Prose

"Prose masterfully meditates on how quality reading informs great writing, which will warm the cold, jaded hearts of even the most frustrated, unappreciated and unpublished writers."—PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY ON READING LIKE A WRITER

"Too often students are being taught to read as if literature were some kind of ethics class or civics class—or worse, some kind of self-help manual. In fact, the important thing is the way the writer uses the language. I think there are writers who would be read more—and, conversely, writers who would never be read at all—if people actually looked at how well or how badly they wrote."—FRANCINE PROSE

A distinguished critic, essayist, and novelist, Francine Prose is the author of fourteen works of fiction, including A Changed Man and Blue Angel, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the recent non- fiction book Reading Like a Writer. She has taught literature and writing at Harvard, the University of Arizona, the University of Utah, and The New School. Prose lives in New York City.

Interviewed by Brigid Hughes.

Dinner music provided by äj, featuring singer-songwriters Andrea and James Rohlehr on flute and guitar.

Photo: Lisa Yuskavage

Pete Hamill, BAMcafé, Thu, Jan 25 at 6:30pm

Podcast featuring Author
Pete Hamill

"Tough-minded, brimming with energy and unflinchingly honest."—THE NEW YORK TIMES ON A DRINKING LIFE

"I've been writing both fiction and nonfiction since the late 1960s. One personal key to getting the work done is The Nap. I take a nap every day, particularly after writing journalism. This gives me two mornings. Or so I've persuaded myself. And it allows me to leave the hard accuracy of fact and slide into the quite different sensibility demanded by fiction."—PETE HAMILL

Born in Brooklyn in 1935, Pete Hamill has an extensive background in journalism. In addition to his work as a journalist, he has received critical acclaim for his bestselling novels Snow in August and Forever, his memoirs, and his biographies.

Interviewed by Brigid Hughes.
Photo: Brian Hamill

Sold Out! Michael Cunnigham, BAMcafé, Thu, Feb 15 at 6:30pm

"Cunningham cares most passionately (and most knowingly) about the largest and most hopeful human experiences: compassion, community, art, connection—the infinite manifestations of love. It is his unique moral vision that successfully hinges three distinct narrative panels into a triptych of unified beauty. It's what raises his individual stories out of their genres into the glorious realm of art."—LOS ANGELES TIMES ON SPECIMEN DAYS

"There are certain principles by which fiction seems to work, and yet anything that's put forward as a principle for writing fiction has been dramatically contradicted by at least one great work of art. So we find ourselves in the funny position of having rules as vague guidelines and yet nothing, not one thing, that we can count on."—MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM

Michael Cunningham is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hours. His novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, and Specimen Days have also received high acclaim. He lives in New York City.

Interviewed by Brigid Hughes.
Photo: Richard Phibbs

Jonathan Franzen, BAMcafé, Thu, Mar 8 at 6:30pm

"Franzen is a writer with old-fashioned virtues: he loves witty wordplay; his command of detail in an enormous range of interests is unassailable; he has a painter's eye for depth and contrast; and he creates characters whose emotions reach us even when they are hidden from the people feeling them."—THE NEW YORK TIMES

"I think of art in general, and certainly of a novel, as being about various familiar forms and rituals. There's nothing really new to say about the human condition, and so every novel is kind of a ritual reenactment, or retelling, of familiar stories, which proceed along expected but somehow satisfying lines."—JONATHAN FRANZEN

Jonathan Franzen is the author of three novels, including The Corrections, which won the National Book Award; a collection of essays (How to Be Alone); and an autobiography (The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History). Franzen lives in New York City and Boulder Creek, California.

Interviewed by Brigid Hughes.
Photo: Greg Martin

BAMfamily Book Brunch, Walter Dean Myers & Christopher Myers

Sat, May 5, 12—2pm
$20 adults; $15 children 16 and under;
20% off for subscribers to
Eat, Drink & Be Literary

Bring the kids to this literary and musical jam session with the award-winning team of author Walter Dean Myers and his son, illustrator Christopher Myers. Their latest collaboration, Jazz, captures the history and spirit of this vibrant American art form through syncopated poetry and exuberant illustrations. The event starts off with a buffet of kid-friendly food and drink followed by a reading accompanied by live musical demonstration. The authors will discuss the history of jazz and the art of writing, display the original artwork, and explain how the illustrations were made. A question and answer session will be followed by a book signing.

Sponsored by MetLife Foundation.

Cynthia Ozick, BAMcafé, Thu, Apr 5 at 6:30pm

"Ozick is an ingenious and truly original writer whose complete control of her material contrasts marvelously with the hectic and layered events that seem to threaten chaos at every other moment in the novel."—CHICAGO TRIBUNE ON HEIR TO THE GLIMMERING WORLD

"Fiction is all risk, all discovery, all confidentiality-even secrecy. When I say secrecy, I mean not only the long, long immersion in privacy and isolation, and the wooing of phantoms out of the air, but those bodiless concealments and disclosures of language that lurk in certain turns of dialogue, or the turn of an eye, or a hand, or a shaft of sky."—CYNTHIA OZICK

Cynthia Ozick is the author of numerous works of fiction including Heir to the Glimmering World, The Puttermesser Papers, and The Shawl. Her criticism includes Quarrel & Quandary, winner of the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. She lives in New Rochelle, New York.

Interviewed by Brigid Hughes.

Jessica Hagedorn, moderator

Born and raised in the Philippines, Jessica Hagedorn moved to the United States in her early teens. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fiction Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship (among other awards), her novels include The Gangster of Love, Dogeaters, and Dream Jungle. Her theater work includes the stage adaptation of Dogeaters, and her film work includes screenwriting for Fresh Kill.
Photo: Marion Ettlinger


Sold Out!
Zadie Smith, BAMcafé, Wed, Apr 18 at 6:30pm

"Zadie Smith is.a master of style whose prose is playful yet unaffected, mongrel yet cohesive, profound yet funny, vernacular yet lyrical."—LOS ANGELES TIMES

"I spent three years in college and wrote three and a half stories but I read everything I could get my hands on. White Teeth is really the product of that time; it's like the regurgitation of the kind of beautiful, antiquated, left-side-of-the-brain liberal arts education which is dying a death even as I write this."—ZADIE SMITH

Zadie Smith's novel White Teeth won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction among other awards, while her novel On Beauty won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in London where she was born.

Interviewed by Jessica Hagedorn.

Photo: Roderick Field

Sandra Cisneros, BAMcafé, Thu, May 3 at 6:30pm

"In this lovingly told and poetic novel, Cisneros uses the storytelling art to give these voiceless ones a voice, and to find the border to the past, imbuing the struggles of her family and her countries with the richness of myth."—LOS ANGELES TIMES ON CARAMELO

"I really wanted to expand and push myself and do something that I didn't have a model for. I didn't even know how to make what I wanted. I just knew that I could see it in my mind's eye for a flash of a second and then I was in the dark. So I was mainly in the dark, experimenting."—SANDRA CISNEROS

Sandra Cisneros lives and writes in San Antonio, Texas. Her work includes a collection of poetry; a collection of short stories, Woman Hollering Creek; a children's book; and two novels, The House on Mango Street and Caramelo. She has worked as a teacher to high school dropouts, a poet-in-the-schools, and a visiting writer at a number of universities. Cisneros was awarded the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1995.

Interviewed by Jessica Hagedorn.

Gary Shteyngart, BAMcafé, Thu, May 17 at 6:30pm

"Why praise it first? Just quote from it-at random. Just unbutton its shirt and let it bare its chest. Like a victorious wrestler, this novel is so immodestly vigorous, so burstingly sure of its barbaric excellence, that simply by breathing, sweating and standing upright it exalts itself."—THE NEW YORK TIMES ON ABSURDISTAN

"The Russian Debutante's Handbook was highly autobiographical, a young man's first novel. Like all young men I was focused on myself, inwardly. I could write a dialogue of Russian parents, I can put together an American girlfriend, but it was hard for me to focus beyond that. As I got older and the narcissism of the early 20s died away, I became a better listener, interested in what other people have to say."—GARY SHTEYNGART

Born in Leningrad and raised in the United States, Gary Shteyngart is the author of the critically acclaimed novels The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Absurdistan. He lives in New York City.

Interviewed by Jessica Hagedorn.

Photo: Marion Ettlinger

Kurt Andersen, BAMcafé, Wed, May 30 at 6:30pm

New York is depicted in exuberant detail. One of the best things about Heyday is Andersen's refusal to surrender to sentiment. Andersen's novel is a major historical work, of lore and wisdom, irony and humor — the kind of historical novel that has always been the most satisfying to read."—THE LOS ANGELES TIMES ON HEYDAY

"[Research] was the most blissful professional thing I have ever done in my life..It was work, but with none of the anxiety of actually writing. Just pulling all of these little nuggets and immersing myself in a world sufficiently to believe that I could replicate a version of it."—KURT ANDERSEN

Accomplished in a range of media, Kurt Andersen is a bestselling author, the host and co-creator of the Peabody Award-winning radio show Studio 360, and a columnist for New York Magazine. His new novel Heyday will be published in March 2007. He lives in New York City.

Interviewed by Jessica Hagedorn.

Photo: Brigitte LaCombe

Eat, Drink & Be Literary is sponsored by Bloomberg.