Join us for a reading and conversation between two queer veteran writers, Sarah Schulman and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, celebrating their latest works of fiction.
In Maggie Terry, Sarah Schulman returns to pulp fiction, telling the story of a woman single-mindedly trying to keep her head down in New York City. There’s a madman in the White House, the subways are constantly delayed, summer is relentless, and neighborhoods all seem to blend together. Against this absurd backdrop, Maggie wants nothing more than to slowly rebuild her life in hopes of being reunited with her daughter. But her first day on the job as a private investigator lands her in the middle of a sensational new case: actress strangled. If Maggie is going to solve this mystery, she’ll have to shake the ghosts—dead NYPD partner, vindictive ex, steadfast drug habit—that have long ruled her life.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's Sketchtasy takes place in that late-night moment when everything comes together, and everything falls apart: it's an urgent, glittering, devastating novel about the perils of queer world-making in the mid-'90s. This is Boston in 1995, a city defined by a rabid fear of difference. Alexa, an incisive twenty-one-year-old queen, faces everyday brutality with determined nonchalance. Rejecting middle-class pretensions, she negotiates past and present traumas with a scathing critique of the world. Drawn to the ecstasy of drugged-out escapades, Alexa searches for nourishment in a gay culture bonded by clubs and conformity, willful apathy, and the spectre of AIDS. Is there any hope for communal care?
Sarah Schulman is a literary chronicler of the marginalized and subcultural, focusing on queer urban life. She is the author of several books, including The Gentrification of the Mind, Conflict Is Not Abuse, and The Cosmopolitans. She is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at CUNY, and teaches creative writing at the College of Staten Island.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the award-winning author of a memoir and three novels, and the editor of five non-fiction anthologies. Her memoir The End of San Francisco won a Lambda Literary Award, and Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her latest book is the novel Sketchtasy. Mattilda lives in Seattle.