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Rachel Kushner in conversation with Dana Spiotta
April 7, 2021 @ 6:00 pm
celebrating the launch of Rachel Kushner’s
The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020
published by Scribner
From a writer celebrated for her “chops, ambition, and killer instinct” (John Powers, Fresh Air), a career-spanning collection of spectacular essays about politics and culture.
This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform. You will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing the internet. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.
This is a ticketed event that will require registration.
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Rachel Kushner has established herself as “the most vital and interesting American novelist working today” (Michael Lindgren, The Millions) and as a master of the essay form. In The Hard Crowd, she gathers a selection of her writing from over the course of the last twenty years that addresses the most pressing political, artistic, and cultural issues of our times—and illuminates the themes and real-life terrain that underpin her fiction.
In nineteen razor-sharp essays, The Hard Crowd spans literary journalism, memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about art and literature, including pieces on Jeff Koons, Denis Johnson, and Marguerite Duras. Kushner takes us on a journey through a Palestinian refugee camp, an illegal motorcycle race down the Baja Peninsula, 1970s wildcat strikes in Fiat factories, her love of classic cars, and her young life in the music scene of her hometown, San Francisco. The closing, eponymous essay is her manifesto on nostalgia, doom, and writing.
These pieces, new and old, are electric, phosphorescently vivid, and wry, and they provide an opportunity to witness the evolution and range of one of our most dazzling and fearless writers. “Kushner writes with startling detail, imagination, and gallows humor,” said Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly, and, from Paula McLain in the Wall Street Journal: “The authority and precision of Kushner’s writing is impressive, but it’s the gorgeous ferocity that will stick with me.”
Rachel Kushner is the bestselling author of three novels: the Booker- and NBCC Award–shortlisted The Mars Room; The Flamethrowers, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times top ten book of 2013; and Telex from Cuba, a finalist for the National Book Award. She grew up in San Francisco and lives in Los Angeles.
Dana Spiotta is is the author of four novels: Innocents and Others, (2016), which won the St. Francis College Literary Prize and was shortlisted for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Stone Arabia (2011), which was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in fiction; Eat the Document (2006), which was a National Book Award Finalist in fiction and a recipient of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and Lightning Field (2001). Spiotta was a Guggenheim Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and she won the 2008-9 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. In 2017, the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her the John Updike Prize in Literature. Spiotta lives in Syracuse and teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.
Advance praise for THE HARD CROWD
“The Hard Crowd is wild, wide-ranging, and unsparingly intelligent throughout.”
—Taylor Antrim, Vogue
“[Kushner] seems to work with a muse and a nail gun, so surprisingly yet forcefully do her sentences pin reality to the page.”
—Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine
“Kushner can really write. Her prose has poise and wariness and moral graininess that put you in mind of Robert Stone of Joan Didion.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Rachel Kushner is astounding.”
—Anne Tyler, The Guardian
“Kushner is brilliant.”
“She’s going to be the one we turn to for our serious pleasures and for the insight and wisdom we’ll be needing in hard times to come.”
This event has been sponsored by the City Lights Foundation