Eat, Drink & Be Literary
Presented in partnership with Brooklyn Academy of Music
Raise a glass and share a meal with today’s most renowned authors in this unique series of literary evenings at BAMcafé. Each event begins with dinner, featuring a seasonal menu devised by caterer Great Performances in consultation with local chefs, plus dessert, wine, and live music. Then the evening’s featured author reads from his or her work and discusses the creative process. Guests are encouraged to ask questions and have their book signed at the conclusion of the evening.
Since its inception in 2006, Eat, Drink & Be Literary has featured acclaimed authors from around the world, including Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alison Bechdel, Michael Cunningham, Lydia Davis, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Díaz, Louise Erdrich, Marlon James, Chang-Rae Lee, Maggie Nelson, Salman Rushdie, George Saunders, Zadie Smith, and Chris Ware.
The work of Mexico City-born, South Africa-raised writer Valeria Luiselli has been translated into many languages. Her debut novel, Faces in the Crowd, earned her the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 prize. For her 2015 novel The Story of My Teeth, she was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Los Angeles Times Prize for Best Fiction.
Lorrie Moore is the author of three novels, including Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, and four collections of stories, including Bark, Self-Help, and Birds of America, as well as the editor of several anthologies. Her most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2005. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
London-born author Hari Kunzru has written five novels, White Tears, Gods Without Men, Transmission, My Revolutions, and The Impressionist, as well as a short story collection, Noise, and a novella, Memory Palace. He was a 2008 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2016 Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin. He lives in New York City.
Kevin Young is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the poetry editor at The New Yorker. He is the author of 11 books of poetry, including Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995—2015, which was longlisted for the National Book Award, and The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, which won the PEN Open Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book. Young’s most recent book, Bunk, was longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
Listen to recordings of past events:
Daniel Alarcón is the author of War by Candlelight, Lost City Radio (which made the year-end “best of” lists of the San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post), and most recently, At Night We Walk in Circles. Alarcón is a co-founder of Radio Ambulante, a Spanish-language storytelling podcast, and his writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, n+1, and Harper’s. He was one of The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” and one of Granta’s “Best Young American Novelists.” He lives in San Francisco.
There is a brief introduction by Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards. Shalom Auslander reads from his memoir, Foreskin’s Lament, followed by a Q&A session with moderator, Harold Augenbraum and the audience. Auslander discusses the abuse of religious authority he experienced as a child and how that informs his current professional and personal life and why he chose memior and not fiction to tell his story.
A prolific writer of fiction, Russell Banks is the author of The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction—both of which were adapted into feature films—as well as The Darling, Cloudsplitter, Rule of the Bone, Continental Drift, the recent Lost Memory of Skin, and others. His poetry, essays, and short fiction have appeared in publications such as The New York Times Book Review, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and Harper’s, as well as in the collection Angel on the Roof. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ingram Merrill Award and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Alison Bechdel is the author of two bestselling graphic memoirs, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which won an Eisner Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Are You My Mother? She also wrote and drew the popular comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. Bechdel was an editor of the Best American Comics series and has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney’s, Entertainment Weekly, Granta, and The New York Times Book Review. She lives in Vermont.
New York native Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017) was a long-time investigative journalist, columnist, and author of over twenty books, including The Church That Forgot Christ, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, and the biography of newsman/writer Damon Runyon, Damon Runyon: A Life. The recipient of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, Breslin has also received the George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting in honor of his work in Newsday.
NoViolet Bulawayo was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She is the author of We Need New Names, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her work has been published in Boston Review, Callaloo, Newsweek, and various anthologies. She won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing, and in 2013 she was selected as one of “5 under 35” by the National Book Awards. Bulawayo is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
Teju Cole is a Nigerian American photographer and art historian, and the author of two critically acclaimed books: the novella Every Day is for the Thief, about a Lagos homecoming; and the novel Open City, about a Nigerian immigrant in Manhattan. He has contributed to numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Guardian. A professor and distinguished writer in residence at Bard College.
Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels The Snow Queen, A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, Specimen Days, By Nightfall, and the PEN/Faulkner and Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Hours, which was adapted into a major motion picture. He also penned the non-fiction work Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown and is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Cunningham lives in New York and teaches writing at Yale University.
Lydia Davis is the author of a novel, The End of the Story, and six short story collections, including The Thirteenth Woman and Other Stories; Break It Down, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; Varieties of Disturbance, a finalist for the National Book Award; and the collection Can’t and Won’t (2014). The recipient of the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, awarded for an entire body of work, Davis is also a Guggenheim fellow and MacArthur genius grant winner. She has translated numerous authors from French, including works by Proust, Flaubert, Foucault, and Blanchot, and teaches at the University at Albany.
The Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao reads from and discusses his critically acclaimed new collection of stories, This is How You Lose Her.
Some Explicit Language.
E.L. Doctorow reads from his novel Homer and Langley and discusses his life as a writer, including why he left his job as Editor of Dial Press to write full-time, how writing one line lead to his latest novel, and he discusses the three things that will never fail you. The interview is followed by a Question and Answer session with moderator Daniel Menaker and the audience.
New York native Nathan Englander is the author of the international best-selling short story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and, most recently, the novel The Ministry of Special Cases. A Guggenheim Fellow and contributor to The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, Englander is also a recipient of the O. Henry Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and was selected as one of “20 Writers for the 21st Century” by The New Yorker.
Louise Erdrich is the author of numerous critically-acclaimed and New York Times best-selling novels, poems, and short story collections, including Love Medicine, The Master Butchers Singing Club, The Porcupine Year, and her most recent novel, The Plague of Doves. A member and descendant of the Chippewa nation, Erdrich is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the O. Henry Award, the Scott O’Dell Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Red Convertible: Selected and New Stories, 1978—2008 will be published in January 2009.
Australian-born writer, broadcaster, and academic, German Greer is widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of our time. Greer’s ideas have created controversy ever since The Female Eunuch became an international bestseller in 1970, turning her into a household name overnight and bringing her both adulation and criticism. Her most recent book Shakespeare’s Wife is a bold new take on the usual portrait of Ann Hathaway and her marriage to Shakespeare.
Author Pete Hamill reads from his book Snow in August, followed by an interview with moderator Brigid Hughes. Introduction by Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards.
Bosnian-American writer Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, and three collections of short stories: The Question of Bruno; Nowhere Man, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Love and Obstacles, a series of stories about coming of age in Communist Sarajevo. He is a Guggenheim fellow as well as the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.
A.M. Homes has authored numerous works, including the novels This Book Will Save Your Life and Music for Torching; the short story collection Things You Should Know; the recent memoir The Mistress’s Daughter; and various pieces in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and McSweeney’s. A Guggenheim and NEA Fellow, Homes was a writer/producer for the hit Showtime original series The L Word, and is currently a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Bomb, and The Blind Spot.
Chang-rae Lee is the author of Native Speaker, which won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for first fiction, A Gesture Life, Aloft, and The Surrendered, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. His latest novel, On Such a Full Sea, will be released in January 2014. Lee teaches writing at Princeton University.
Ethiopian-born writer Dinaw Mengestu is the author of the novels How to Read the Air, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, and All Our Names. He has contributed writing to Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and Harper’s, among other publications, and is the recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 Award, The New Yorker’s 20 under 40 Award, and a 2012 MacArthur Foundation genius grant. He lives in New York City and teaches at Brooklyn College and Georgetown University.
Born in the former Yugoslavia in 1985, Téa Obreht is the author of the “stunning” (The New York Times) National Book Award-nominated debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife. She has contributed stories to The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New York Times, and The Guardian, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and Best American Non-Required Reading collections. Obreht was chosen as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” and was named by The New Yorker as one of the 20 best fiction writers under 40.
Francine Prose then reads from her new book Reading Like A Writer, an interview follows by moderator Brigid Hughes. Prose talks candidly about her teaching style, the issues that inform her work and gives insight into how her style of reading has influenced her writing.
Ann Patchett is the author of six novels, including the New York Times Notable Book The Patron Saint of Liars; The Magician’s Assistant; the Pen/Faulkner Award winner Bel Canto; Run; and, most recently, State of Wonder. She is also the author of the memoir Truth & Beauty, and has made numerous contributions to The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The Atlantic, and others. A Guggenheim fellow, Patchett was the editor of The Best American Short Stories 2006. Patchett’s work has been translated into more than 30 languages.
Wallace Shawn reads from his essays, and discusses his life as an actor and writer, followed by a Question and Answer session with moderator Daniel Menaker and the audience.
Art Spielgelman is the creator of several critically-acclaimed comic books, including the best-selling In the Shadow of No Towers, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust narrative Maus. Widely published in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere, he has continued to be a singular force in reviving critical interest in the comic book genre. He is also a Guggenheim Fellow, and was recently inducted into the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. His most recent book is Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!
Chris Ware is the author of the graphic novels Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and Building Stories, which was named as one of the top 10 books of 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, Time Magazine and The New York Times. A regular contributor to The New Yorker, Ware has also appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, McSweeney’s, This American Life and the Whitney Biennial of American Art, as well as in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife and daughter.
Meg Wolitzer is the author of nine novels, including The Wife, The Position, The Ten-Year Nap, and, most recently, The Interestings. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. Wolitzer has taught creative writing at The Iowa Writers Workshop, Skidmore College, and SUNY Stony Brook Southampton. In the fall of 2013, along with singer-songwriter Suzzy Roche, Wolitzer was a guest artist in the Princeton Atelier program at Princeton University.
Caribbean-born writer Tiphanie Yanique is the author of the short story collection How to Escape from a Leper Colony, the picture book I Am the Virgin Islands, and, most recently, the novel Land of Love and Drowning. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Boston Review Prize in Fiction, an Academy of American Poet’s Prize, and, in 2010, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 award. A former Fulbright scholar, Yanique is an assistant professor at The New School and splits her time between Brooklyn and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.