KGB: Behind the Book

March 09, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

André Aciman is the acclaimed author of the new novel, Enigma Variations.  His prior books include Eight White Nights, Call Me by Your Name, Out of Egypt, False Papers, Alibis, and Harvard Square, and the editor of The Proust Project.  He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.  His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The Paris Review, as well as in many volumes of The Best American Essays.  He teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and lives with his wife in Manhattan.

“Aciman writes arousal so beautifully you miss it when it’s gone . . . [Aciman is] up to something bolder this time . . . Aciman is all the way himself here.  He writes with the ferocity of a writer who’s finally getting his vision down, and he has to say it, has to get it out.  He’s made a magnificent, living thing.”
– Paul Lisicky, The New York Times Book Review

Nicole Krauss has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of America’s most important novelists.” She is the author of the international bestsellers, Great House, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Orange Prize and winner of the 2011 ABA Indies Choice Honor Award in Fiction and the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Award, and The History of Love, which won the Saroyan Prize for International Literature and France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, and was short-listed for the Orange, Médicis, and Femina prizes.  Her first novel, Man Walks Into a Room, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. In 2007, she was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and in 2010 she was chosen by The New Yorker for their “Twenty Under Forty” list.  Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, and Best American Short Stories, and her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.

“The voice [in Great House] sweeps you up…beautiful and mysterious.  Krauss’s understanding of the varieties of human suffering—exceptional in a writer so young—makes the experience of her characters resonate in us.  Their stunningly distinct and lively voices hold us captive…Krauss, who began her career as a poet, can do just about anything she wants with the English language.”
– Ann Harleman, The Boston Globe

Eric Puchner is the author of the collection Music Through the Floor, a finalist for the California Book Award and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and of the novel Model Home, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and won a California Book Award.  His short stories and personal essays have appeared in GQ, Granta, Tin House, Zoetrope, Narrative, Glimmer Train, Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses.  He has received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was a Pushcart Prize winner.  In 2015, he was awarded the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize, given annually to writers “of proven excellence in poetry or prose.” An assistant professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, he lives in Baltimore with his wife, the novelist Katharine Noel, and their two children.

“Ray Bradbury meets Tom Perrotta in the new collection by Puchner (Model Home), which blends science fiction with the all-too-real suburban horrors of deadbeat dads, unsupervised teens, and the onset of mental illness.  In the instant classic “Beautiful Monsters,” a brother and sister rearing themselves in a world where parents are extinct encounter their first adult . . . . Other tales feature aging punk rockers, vindictive divorcées, and ready-to-snap bookstore employees, completing Puchner’s composite of everyday desperation.”
– Library Journal

A Philadelphia native, Tom McAllister lives in New Jersey, teaches at Temple, and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, an editor at Barrelhouse, and the author of a memoir, Bury Me in My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father, Football, and Philly.  The Young Widower’s Handbook is his first novel.

“The Young Widower’s Handbook is a stunning, clear-eyed examination of the complexity of grief.  In McAllister’s hands, this story of a man dealing with the loss of his wife takes on such depth and surprising humor that you can’t help but give yourself over, heart and soul, to Hunter’s journey.”
– Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

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Behind the Book is a small literacy nonprofit that gets kids excited about reading by connecting them with contemporary writers and illustrators.  Working with low-income students in the 1st-12th grades, we bring authors and their books into individual classrooms in curriculum-based programs that incorporate direct and sustained interaction between students and authors.  In workshop fashion, students do original writing; in elementary school, students create illustrated books.  All students receive copies of authors’ books to keep as their own.  Our goal is to build a new generation of readers and writers.  Since our founding, we have worked with nearly 13,000 students and donated more than 18,000 books to students and school libraries.