Even if you've never played Dungeons & Dragons, you probably know someone who has: The game has had a profound influence on our culture. Released in 1974—decades before the Internet and social media—Dungeons & Dragons is one of the original ultimate nerd subcultures, and is still revered by more than thirty million fans. Now, the authoritative history and magic of the game is revealed by an award-winning journalist and life-long dungeon master.
From its origins on the battlefields of ancient Europe, through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides, and to its apotheosis as father of the modern video game industry, Of Dice and Men recounts the development of a game played by some of the most fascinating people in the world. Chronicling the surprising history of D&D's origins (one largely unknown even to hardcore players) while examining the game's profound impact, Ewalt weaves laser-sharp subculture analysis with his own present-day gaming experiences. An enticing blend of history, journalism, narrative, and memoir, Of Dice and Men sheds light on America's most popular (and widely misunderstood) form of collaborative entertainment.
Samuel Delany's revealing autobiographical love story, Bread & Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York, tells the story of a romance that defied social norms and brought two unlikely people together across the boundaries of class, race and convention. Delany was a successful novelist, essayist and professor, when he met Denis, a homeless man selling books on the street in Manhattan. They slowly developed a friendship that grew into a caring relationship—despite the immense differences in their lives. By turns bizarre, humorous and touching, Bread and Wine has garnered praise from the likes of Neil Gaiman, Edmund White and Alan Moore. Delany talks about the story with Mia Wolff, the co-creator of the graphic novel that grew out of it. Out of print for years, Bread and Wine has now been reissued by Fantagraphics Books. Join us for a special conversation between Academy Award Nominated Actor James Franco and legendary poet and academic Frank Bidart.
James Franco plays with the concept of memoir in his new book A California Childhood, through personal snapshots, sketches, paintings, poems, and stories. An actor treads the line between reality and fiction every time he plays a part, and for James Franco, that exploration isn't limited to the screen. He's also a visual artist with several exhibitions under his belt as well as the author of the widely praised story collection Palo Alto.
Aside from the achievement of his many collections, Frank Bidart's 2002 chapbook, Music Like Dirt, is the only chapbook to ever be nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. James and Frank will be speaking on memoir, California, and their own approaches to their written and visual creative endeavors. James and Frank will also be discussing James' chapbook of poems, The Strongest of the Litter.