McNally Jackson and The Onassis Foundation Present: Why Read Cavafy? With André Aciman & Paul Holdengräber

May 6th
McNally Jackson Seaport
RSVP Required — see below

A spirited conversation between raconteur Paul Holdengräber and André Aciman– another Alexandria-born writer— will give insight into their years-long fascination with Cavafy, and why so many artists share this passionate interest in his work.

This event is part of a series of conversations and in-store activations celebrating C. P. Cavafy's impact on modern poetry, his intellectual legacy, and his identity as a queer man who deftly danced between the ancient world and the modern metropolis. McNally Jackson bookstores will be transformed into living invitations for passers by to discover or reconsider Cavafy and his canon. Through National Poetry Month and the duration of the festival, each of McNally Jackson’s seven city-wide locations from Nolita to Laguardia Airport, will house artfully made tiny poetry libraries, window displays dedicated to the poet and his work, and Cavafy-inspired “Author Picks” curated by Festival artists and partners. A limited number of complimentary totes and commemorative bookmarks will be available for free. 

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We recommend that guests wear masks on the night. 



Paul Holdengräber is an interviewer and curator. He was the Founding Executive Director of Onassis Los Angeles (OLA). Previously, and for 14 years, he was Founder and Director of The New York Public Library’s LIVE from the NYPL cultural series where he interviewed and hosted over 600 events, holding conversations with everyone from Patti Smith to Zadie Smith, Ricky Jay to Jay-Z, Errol Morris to Jan Morris, Wes Anderson to Helen Mirren, Werner Herzog to Mike Tyson. Before his tenure at the Library, Holdengräber was the Founder and Director of “The Institute for Art & CULTUREs” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and a Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and has taught at Princeton University, Williams College, Claremont Graduate University among others. In 2003, the French Government named Holdengräber Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and then promoted him in 2012 to the rank of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 2010, The President of Austria awarded him the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art.

André Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt and is an American memoirist, essayist, novelist, and scholar. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Call Me by Your Name and Find Me as well as of Out of Egypt and other novels, essay collections, and Audible novellas. Aciman is the director of The Writers’ Institute and is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He has written for the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, The New Republic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other magazines and newspapers.


RSVP Below

In order to keep our events program running in uncertain times, we're asking attendees to hold their place with a $5 voucher, redeemable on the night of the event on any product in store or in our bar & café. You can alternatively reserve a spot by pre-purchasing the event book. If you have a change of heart or plans, write to and we'll gladly refund you and release your spot, up to 24 hours before the event. Thanks for understanding, and for supporting your local bookstore.