KGB: Behind the Book - Sam Graham-Felsen & Stefan Merrill Block

March 08, 2018
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Sam Graham-Felsen’s brilliant debut novel, Green, is a funny coming-of-age novel about race, privilege, and the struggle to rise in America with a inimitable voice.  His writing has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Mother Jones, New York, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, and Buzzfeed.  He has worked as chief blogger for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, a journalist for The Nation, and a peanut vendor at Fenway Park.

“A comically geeky coming-of-age story that brims with anxiety, resentment, and a surplus of compassion . . . a riot of language that’s part hip-hop, part nerd boy, and part pure imagination . . . Green earns . . . a spot on the continuum of vernacular in the American literary tradition, from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finnto The Catcher in the Rye and Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”
– The Boston Globe

Stefan Merrill Block’s powerful third novel, Oliver Loving, is a haunting meditation on mercy, forgiveness, and the elasticity of families and human connection following a school shooting.  His first book, The Story of Forgetting, was an international bestseller and the winner of Best First Fiction at the Rome International Festival of Literature, The Ovid Prize from the Romanian Writer’s Union, the 2008 Merck Serono Literature Prize, and the 2009 Fiction Award from The Writers’ League of Texas.  It was also a finalist for the debut fiction awards from IndieBound, Salon du Livre, and The Center for Fiction.  Following the publication of his second novel, The Storm at the Door, Stefan was awarded The University of Texas Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, as well as residencies at The Santa Maddalena Foundation and Castello Malaspina di Fosdinovo in Italy.  Stefan’s novels have been translated into ten languages, and his stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker Page-Turner, The Guardian, NPR’s Radiolab, GRANTA, The Los Angeles Times, and many other publications.

“In lucid prose and with a tremendously sure narrative hand, Block weaves together a coming of age story and a lament of lost youth. This is the story of the devastation inflicted on those left behind by catastrophic illness, and the strength they find to live in the wake of it. The novel becomes a thriller of sorts, with secrets upon secrets, conflicting agendas, and the truth quivering in every conversation. An essential window into the consciousness of someone on the other side of an impenetrable veil, Oliver Loving brilliantly illuminates the enduring bonds of family and offers one of literature’s best explorations of the limits of communication we all grapple with.”
– Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves.