Bursting onto the literary scene with her acclaimed debut novel The People in the Trees in 2013, Hanya Yanagihara continues to wow with her multi-award nominated A Little Life. Similarly upsetting, challenging, and deeply moving, A Little Life takes readers from the jungle to the streets of New York as it chronicles the relationships between four male friends from the time they graduate college until they are in their fifties. In its pages, Yanagihara offers up a profound story of brotherly love that explores race, homosexuality, loyalty, and success, and culminates in a dark examination of trauma, memory, and the limits of human endurance. As a veteran stand-up comic, an actor in beloved movies and series like The State, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer, and more, and a New York Times best-selling author, Michael Ian Black has seen a lot. Which is why the surprise of seeing middle age rear its ugly head in the form of a grim medical diagnosis was so, well, surprising. In Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (but also my mom's, which I know sounds weird), he trains his irreverent comedic eye on the foibles of the forty-and-up set.
For a different perspective on middle-aged man in general, and on one very funny middle-aged man specifically, join Michael and Slate’s editor-in-chief and Culture Gabfest co-host Julia Turner for a conversation in the Rare Book Room.
On October 24, 2015, The Nation celebrated its 150th anniversary with an unprecedented celebration at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn in a renovated Civil War-era Tobacco Warehouse. Featuring celebrated writers and activists channeling iconic Nation voices from the past plus music and comedy, the evening was hosted by Nation writers and MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry and featured readings and reflections by Tony Kushner; Katrina vanden Heuvel; Bill McKibben; Eve Ensler; Calvin Trillin; Victor Navasky; Laura Flanders; Kai Wright; Zephyr Teachout, Mychal Denzel Smith along with a moving, live performance from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
In this inimitable reading, the award-winning dramatist Tony Kushner, a longtime Nation contributor and editorial board member, reads and comments on the novelist Zona Gale's historic essay, "The United States and the Artist," first published in The Nation's 60th anniversary issue, in 1925. (He also amusingly explains why he rejected readings by Jean-Paul Sartre and Gore Vidal.)
Author of The Liars’ Club, Cherry and Lit, Mary Karr has now written “another astonishingly perceptive, wildly entertaining and profoundly honest book,” wrote Cheryl Strayed. “Funny, fascinating, necessary, The Art of Memoir will be the definitive book on reading and writing memoir for years to come.”
Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk is “the discovery of the season,” wrote The Economist. “One part memoir, one part gorgeous evocation of the natural world and one part literary meditation—lit with a grace that sweeps down to the reader to hold her wrist tight with beautiful, terrible claws.” Her new book of poems is Shaler’s Fish.
Louise Erdrich receives the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction at the 2015 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. She discusses her work with Marie Arana, co-director of the festival.
Speaker Biography: The winner of the 2015 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, Louise Erdrich is the author of novels, poetry, short stories, children's books and nonfiction books. She is one of the most acclaimed Ojibwe Native American writers and has received a Pushcart Prize, a National Book Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. Her novel "The Plague of Doves" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Erdrich's other books include "Love Medicine," "Four Souls," "The Painted Drum," "Shadow Tag," and her latest work, "The Round House." She lives in Minnesota, where she is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore that focuses on Native American literature.
As Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has catapulted the issue of fascism into the mainstream U.S. political realm, we turn to best-selling author Adam Hochschild, who has just written a remarkable, sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War. The book is called "Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939." It tells the story of how the Spanish Civil War captivated the world with volunteers flooding to Spain to bolster the democratic government’s efforts to stave off a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini. Some 2,800 Americans went to Spain as volunteers in the fight against fascism, and nearly a quarter of them perished there. The Americans were known as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. After two-and-a-half years of fighting, the fascists were able to declare victory on April 1, 1939. World War II began shortly afterward. Adam Hochschild is the author of eight books, including "King Leopold’s Ghost," "To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918” and now "Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939." March 17, 2016 at The New School, New York, NY.
Video by Kevin Kino
In Order of Appearance
Welcome: Luis Jaramillo, Director, The New School Writing Program
Opening Remarks: Tom Beer, President, National Book Critics Circle
John Leonard Prize: Kirstin Valdez Quade, “Night at the Fiestas” (W.W. Norton), presented by Jane Ciabattari
Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: Carlos Lozada, presented by Gregg Barrios
Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award: Wendell Berry, presented by David Biespiel with introduction by Nick Offerman
Poetry: Ross Gay, “Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude” (University of Pittsburgh Press), presented by Tess Taylor
Criticism: Maggie Nelson, “The Argonauts” (Graywolf), presented by Walton Muyumba
Autobiography: Margo Jefferson “Negroland” (Pantheon), presented by Joanna Scutts
Biography: Charlotte Gordon, “Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley” (Random House), presented by Elizabeth Taylor
Nonfiction: Sam Quinones, “Dreamland: The True Story of America’s Opiate Epidemic” (Bloomsbury), presented by Karen Long
Fiction: Paul Beatty, “The Sellout” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), presented by Carolyn Kellogg