Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Authors Yiyun Li and Matthew Salesses at Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series

Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series
Monday, January 23, 2023
Congregation Emanu El
Yiyun Li and Matthew Salesses

Matthew Salesses: "On the other side of wonder is grief."

Yuyin Li: "My student says, 'I want to write about trauma.'
'Oh no,' I say. 'Keep it murky.'"

Matthew Salesses: "You'll never exhaust the mystery of being alive."

Yiyun Li: "The Three Little Pigs---that story is about free will.
One pig chooses to have the straw house.
All my characters are stubborn.
They may choose the straw house."

Yiyun Li: "I'm a strong believer that people are not knowable.
I will never know my characters."

Matthew Salesses: "I don't know you and
you don't even know yourself."

From the Inprint Website:

YIYUN LI, a MacArthur Fellow, has been described by Salman Rushdie as “one of our major novelists.” She is the author of nine books, including the novels Must I Go, Where Reasons End, and The Vagrants, the short story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, and the memoir Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life. About her profound meditations on grief and loss, The Washington Post writes, “Li has stared in the face of much that is beautiful and ugly and treacherous and illuminating – and from her experience she has produced a nourishing exploration of the will to live willfully.”

She joins us to share her new novel The Book of Goose, a story of fate, art, influence, and intimacy between childhood best friends. When Agnès receives news of Fabienne’s death after years of estrangement, she is forced to reconsider Fabienne’s fraught role in helping her escape their war-ravaged town and launch a successful writing career. According to Sigrid Nunez, “Any new book by Yiyun Li is cause for celebration, but now more than ever do we need the clarity and humaneness of her vision.” Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages, and her honors include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Windham Campbell Prize, the PEN/Malamud Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Li is a contributing editor for A Public Space and throughout the pandemic led a virtual book club on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. She was born in Beijing and serves as the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

MATTHEW SALESSES is “definitely a writer to watch” (Robert Boswell). A former Houstonian, Salesses received an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellowship and the Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing while earning his PhD from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. He is the author of four novels, including I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying, The Hundred Year Flood, and the PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear. He has also written a nonfiction book called Craft in the Real World, which explores alternative models of the writing workshop for marginalized writers and was greatly informed by his time teaching Inprint Writers Workshops. About the book, Laila Lalami in The New York Times writes, Craft in the Real World “is a significant contribution to discussions of the art of fiction and a necessary challenge to received views about whose stories are told, how they are told, and for whom they are intended.” Salesses was named one of Buzzfeed’s 32 Essential Asian American Writers, and his essays on adoption, race, and parenting have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR Code Switch, and Salon.

He joins us to read from and talk about his new novel The Sense of Wonder, “equal parts a love letter to the intricate art form of basketball; a blade-sharp page-turner that delves deep into the rotten heart of America; and an ode to K-drama and the liberating power of love” (Laura van den Berg). According to Catherine Chung, “Matthew Salesses’s new novel is so freaking good I can’t stand it. Blistering, confident, full of swagger and heart, it is also an exhilaratingly smart treatise on race and our collective imagination that lays bare our limitations before blasting joyfully past them.” Salesses was adopted from Korea at age two and teaches creative writing at Columbia University.

For more about this event, take a look at this post from Rae of Powerful Women Readers.

For more photos, link up at Wordless WednesdayComedy PlusMessymimi's MeanderingsKeith's RamblingsCreate With JoyWild Bird Wednesday, and My Corner of the World.

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