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Literature is Alive @ Emory: A New Reading Series on Campus

Literature is Alive @ Emory is a reading and performance series on the Emory campus. Events are hosted during the academic year at the Barnes & Noble @ Emory Bookstore.

This series is dedicated to giving writers and artists space to share and explore their work, as well as collaborating with and providing students with contemporary literary engagement, further opportunities for academic and emotional conversation, and an opportunity to interact with writers and the larger ATL community. Get the latest information on who's coming to campus by following Literature is Alive @ Emory on Twitter, by liking the Literature is Alive @ Emory Facebook page, or by contacting Carrie Lorig directly. 

Past readers include: Alexander Chee, Dawn Lundy Martin, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Melissa Febos, Kirsten Valdez Quade, Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes, Nabila Lovelace, Camille Rankine, Philip B. Williams, Cathy Linh Che, Jane Wong, Jennifer S. Cheng, Kelin Loe, Leora Fridman, Claire Vaye Watkins, Steve Roggenbuck, Mike Lala, and more.

Angela Davis Johnson performs for Literature is Alive @ Emory at the Emory Bookstore

Local ATL artist, Angela Davis Johnson, performs at Literature is Alive @ Emory in February 2016. 

Upcoming Readings: 

Our readings for the 2016-2017 academic year have been a great success. Stay tuned for our 2017-2018 reading schedule.

In conjunction with Literature is Alive @ Emory, the Bookstore Liaison's Office recommends the following books:

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)

Historical fictions can, and often do, slip into a brand of nostalgia that leaves little space to conceive how life in another time might have been small, suffocated, perilous or desperate. We’d much rather have opulence, a romance with the past. The heroic simplifications present in movies like Stonewall, Dances with Wolves, The Patriot,or any blockbuster about royalty are examples of easy portrayals of historical details that turn context into drama for the sake of feeling good about a collective past. These narratives mythologize and prioritize whiteness, male glory, and female fragility.

What’s incredible about Alexander Chee’s second novel, The Queen of the Night, is that he gives us historic and syntactical lushness far more plentiful than water in the nearest ocean while carefully engaging with the intricate life of his late 19th-century female narrator. The I that leads us is a woman who played many different women, a woman who had to be many different people in order to survive. The I that leads us through mystery, war, celebrity and love is an opera singer, a rare Falcon soprano named Lilliet Berne, a prostitute named Jou-jou Courrèges, a traveling European circus performer called The Settler’s Daughter, a mute grisette to France’s last Empress and a starving woman collecting chestnuts with her Argentinian lover in the midst of the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

The Queen of the Night is the story of a woman who is continually told she has no power and no choice. It is the story of a woman who continually insists on having power and a choice, a voice as she moves through impossible European landscapes and climbs up through Paris’ dangerously complex social circles.

Overpour by Jane Wong (Action Books, 2016)

The language of Overpour is made up of blades, an ever increasing variety of blades. Blades of grass and blades of waves and blades of knives and blades you have mever seen before. You would come upon them or dream about them and not be afraid, though you would feel their power. “I have debts to pay,” says Jane, "Wickedness clings to me / I have no choice but to cling back.” You would look at all these blades and re-name them The World’s Extreme Corner. The sharp urgency you must face and love. Animal, vegetable, mineral, mothers, grandmothers, continents, bugs and blood and guts—the poems in Overpour are bodies of vibrant and vibrating matter that constellate across biography, family history, and geography. They see widely and feel deeply and subtly; they tumble out with a wondrous, now-reverent, now-frenetic, ever-keen sense of the sense-memories that carry us.

My Fault by Leora Fridman (Cleveland State University Press, 2016)

If you ride the Emory shuttle buses, you might have seen a small snippet of Leora Fridman's work. If you haven't seen it, I hope you'll look for it. It says, "Am I too willing / to be safe on legs / when I want every body to speak." These lines were chosen because they highlight a complexity Leora's poetry dives endlessly into. How is the perceived smallness of line and poem also responsibility? What work gives line and poem? Do you live in a state of repercussion? Do you live in a state of repercussion precisely? Fridman's My Fault pushes a widening, granularly and hugely. Her poems are mountainous, angeld, and shifting, turning. Impossibly close to the sky or something like the sound of water screaming, which is a line. It's a line.

The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga (Two Dollar Radio, 2016)

Heralded in the author's native South Africa as "the hottest novel of the year," The Reactive is a clear-eyed and compassionate depiction of a young HIV+ man grappling with the sudden death of his younger brother, for which he feels unduly responsible.

Lindanathi and his friends—Cecelia and Ruan—make their living working low-paying jobs and selling anti-retroviral drugs (during the period in South Africa before ARVs became broadly distributed). In between, they huff glue, drift in and out of parties, and traverse the streets of Cape Town, where they observe the grave material disparities of their country. A mysterious masked man appears seeking to buy their surplus of ARVs, an offer that would present the three with the opportunity to escape their environs, while at the same time forcing Lindanathi to confront his path, and finally, his past.

With brilliant, shimmering prose, Ntshanga has delivered a redemptive, ambitious, and unforgettable first novel.

Visit Barnes & Noble @ Emory in person or on the web to find these and other titles.