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

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Recorded on Thursday, May 17 at 6:30pm
Time: 54 minutes 21seconds
43.6 MB
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What you will hear:
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.

There is a brief introduction by Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards. Gary Shteyngart reads from his novel Absurdistan. An interview follows by moderator Jessica Hagedorn. Shteyngart talks about life as a Russian-Jewish writer and a New Yorker. He speaks about his literary influences and answers questions from the audience.

Photo: Marion Ettlinger
Photo: Marion Ettlinger
The featured author and moderator is:

Gary Shteyngart

"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.

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.


Eat, Drink & Be Literary is sponsored by Bloomberg.

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