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Isabel Waidner in conversation with Maxe Crandall

February 8, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

Isabel Waidner in conversation with Maxe Crandall

City Lights in conjunction with Graywolf Press celebrate the publication of

Sterling Karat Gold

By Isabel Waidner

Published by Graywolf Press

Winner of the 2021 Goldsmiths Prize

Finalist for the 2022 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction

Finalist for the 2022 Republic of Consciousness Prize

Sterling Beckenbauer is plunged into a terrifying and nonsensical world one morning when they are attacked, then unfairly arrested, in their neighborhood in London. With the help of their friends, Sterling hosts a trial of their own in order to exonerate themselves and to hold the powers that be to account.

Sterling Karat Gold, in the words of Kamila Shamsie, is “a madly brilliant and deeply sane novel that reveals surrealism as possibly the most effective way of talking about the political moment we find ourselves in.” In it, Isabel Waidner concocts a world replete with bullfighters, high fashion, DIY theater, the Beach Boys, and time-traveling spaceships. The acclaimed winner of the 2021 Goldsmiths Prize for fiction that breaks the mold and extends the possibilities of the form, this novel explores the phantasmagoric nature of contemporary life, especially for nonbinary migrants, and daringly revises how solidarity and justice might be sought and won. Sterling Karat Gold couldn’t be a better North American introduction to a writer with an irresistible style and unforgettable vision.

Isabel Waidner is a writer based in London. They are the author of Corey Fah Does Social Mobility, We Are Made of Diamond Stuff and Gaudy Bauble. They are the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2021 and were shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019, the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction in 2022 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2018, 2020 and 2022. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and they are an academic in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

Maxe Crandall is a poet, playwright, and director. His performance novel about AIDS archives and intergenerational memory The Nancy Reagan Collection made the NYPL’s Best 10 Poetry Books of 2020, LitHub’s 65 Favorite Books of 2020, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry. He is the author of the chapbooks Emoji for Cher Heart and Together Men Make Paradigms, and is the founder of the theater company Beautiful Moments in Popular Culture. Maxe is Associate Director of the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Stanford University.

Praise for the work of Isabel Waidner

“Revelatory. This novel is a portal into our own world and the queer, migrant resistance that urgently reshapes it. It is an intervention into all the forces that keep us apart, and a call for us to use whatever means possible—including time travel—to stay together.”—Joss Lake, author of Future Feeling

“In neon, polyester, in ALL-CAPS-BLAZING-QUEER AESTHETICS, Waidner delivers a novel in which fiction finds itself refreshed. . . . Sterling Karat Gold interrogates whiteness, capitalism, and nationhood in language as witty as it is intelligent, as spoken as it is written.”—Lars Horn

“Sterling Karat Gold advances its searing indictment of injustice and hypocrisy with equal parts wit and guts—all the while honoring the joys of queer friendship and fashion-forward time travel. There’s nothing else like this in the world.”—Megan Milks

This event was made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation. To learn more visit: https://citylights.com/foundation/


February 8, 2023
12:00 pm


City Lights Bookstore
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