Dictionary of the Undoing: John Freeman with Valeria Luiselli (PRINCE STREET)

For John Freeman—literary critic, essayist, editor, poet, “one of the preeminent book people of our time” (Dave Eggers)—it is the rare moment when words are not enough. But in the wake of the election of 2016, words felt useless, even indulgent. Action was the only reasonable response. He took to the streets in protest, and the sense of community and collective conviction felt right. But the assaults continued—on citizens’ rights and long-held compacts, on the core principles of our culture and civilization, and on our language itself. Words seemed to be losing the meanings they once had and Freeman was compelled to return to their defense. The result is his Dictionary of the Undoing.

From A to Z, “Agitate” to “Zygote,” Freeman assembled the words that felt most essential, most potent, and began to build a case for their renewed power and authority, each word building on the last. The message that emerged was not to retreat behind books, but to emphatically engage in the public sphere, to redefine what it means to be a literary citizen.

John Freeman is the editor of Freeman's, a literary annual of new writing. His books include How to Read a Novelist and The Tyranny of E-mail, as well as Tales of Two Americas, an anthology of new writing about inequality in the U.S. today. Maps, his debut collection of poems, was published in 2017. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, andThe New York Times. The former editor of Granta and one-time president of the National Book Critics Circle, he is currently Artist-in-Residence at New York University.

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the nonfiction works Sidewalks and Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, and the novels Faces in the CrowdThe Story of My Teeth, and, most recently, Lost Children Archive. She is the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship and the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and an American Book Award. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesGranta, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a Writer in Residence at Bard College and lives in New York City.

 

 

Event date: 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

52 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
Dictionary of the Undoing Cover Image
By Valeria Luiselli (Afterword by), John Freeman
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374538859
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - November 12th, 2019