KGB: Behind the Book

September 13, 2018
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Mira T. Lee’s stunning debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, is an incredibly moving and thoughtful exploration of mental illness in an immigrant family, and a young woman’s quest to find fulfillment and a life unconstrained by her illness.  But it’s also an unforgettable, gut-wrenching story of the sacrifices we make to truly love someone—and when loyalty to one’s self must prevail over all.  Mira’s work has been published in numerous quarterlies and reviews, including The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, and Triquarterly.  She was awarded an Artist’s Fellowship by the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2012, and has twice received special mention for the Pushcart Prize.  She is a graduate of Stanford University, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

“Everything Here Is Beautiful is a tender but unflinching portrayal of the bond between two sisters – one that’s frayed by mental illness and stretched across continents, yet still endures. With ventriloquistic skill, Mira T. Lee explores the heartache of loving someone deeply troubled and the unbearable tightrope-walk between holding on and letting go.”
– Celeste Ng, New York Times bests-selling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You

Rosalie Knecht is a writer, social worker, and translator in New York City.  Her thrillingly original and utterly smart and fresh second novel, Who Is Vera Kelly?, is a genre-pushing literary spy thriller, featuring a complex treatment of queer identity during the Cold War.  A lesbian struggling to make rent and blend into the underground gay scene in Greenwich Village, Vera Kelly is recruited by the CIA and finds herself hopscotching from New York City to Buenos Aires, fueled by gin and cigarettes, on the run from her past and equipped with a case of listening devices. Rosalie’s other work includes the novel Relief Map and a translation of Aira’s The Seamstress and the Wind.  She is a Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow, and writes the Dear Book Therapist column at Lit Hub.

“Gripping, subtle, magnificently written . . . This is a cool, strolling boulevardier of a book, worldly, wry, unrushed but never slow, which casts its gaze upon the middle of the last century and forces us to consider how it might be failing us still.”
– Charles Finch, The New York Times Book Review

Eleanor Kriseman’s stand-out debut novel, The Blurry Years, is a powerful and unorthodox coming-of-age story about what it’s like to grow up too fast and absorb too much, to watch adults behaving badly, and to be simultaneously in thrall to and terrified of the mother who is the only family you’ve ever known, who moves you from town to town to leave her own mistakes behind.  Eleanor is a social worker in New York.  She was born and raised in Florida.

“Kriseman’s assured and affecting debut follows Callie from young childhood through her itinerant teenage years as she and her unpredictable, alcoholic mother, Jeanie, constantly attempt to restart and better their lives . . . . The novel’s complicated mother/daughter relationship is provocative and richly developed, and Jeanie is an unforgettable, complex character.  . . Callie’s is an honest and memorable story about growing up in a world of bad examples.  Kriseman’s is a new voice to celebrate.
– Publishers Weekly

Natasha Scripture is an author, poet, activist, and former aid worker.  As a spokesperson for the United Nations, Natasha covered humanitarian crises around the world, including conflicts and natural disasters in Ethiopia, Haiti, Libya, and Pakistan.  Her powerfully written first book, the memoir Man Fast, a grand travelogue and a meditation at reclaiming independence, has been published in the U.K. and is forthcoming in the U.S in spring 2019.  After the sudden death of her father and an iterant life as an aid worker, Natasha embarks on a “man fast” to stop looking for that special someone to fill an imaginary void inside her and turns inward to process her grief and explore the question at the heart of her anxiety: what is her purpose?  Before the UN, Natasha worked as a writer, producer, and editor for a variety of organizations, including the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera English, and Condé Nast Publications.  She has also contributed to The New York Times and The Atlantic, among other publications.  Natasha has lived in several different countries and travels frequently.  Yet no matter where she is in the world, she seeks to inspire and empower women with her writing and storytelling.

A funny, courageous, and inspiring memoir about one woman’s journey into the unknown.  Scripture shows us her unraveling against the backdrop of exotic landscapes and emerges from her grief-stricken journey with a new sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of love.  It becomes impossible not to root for her.
– Elisabeth Eaves, author of Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents