Tuesday, September 22, 2015

NYC Event: 'Stories of Lucia Berlin'—I'm speaking

I'm speaking at the only NYC event for breakout bestseller Lucia Berlin next week. Can't wait—hope to see you there. Tell your friends!

It's Wednesday, September 30 at 7:00p.m. at:

McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince St, New York, New York 10012. 212.274.1160 (Map below.)

The other speakers: Stephen Emerson, who edited her new collection; Lydia Davis, who wrote the forward; and noted poet August Kleinzahler. (Links to their essays on Lucia below.) 

Special appearance by David Berlin, and audio of Lucia reading my favorite story, "My Jockey." (It's one page long.)

Meet many amazing people from Lucia's luminous orbit.

Facebook invite to the event here. Of course check out her amazing story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women, already a NY Times bestseller.

I guess it's considered the Lower East Side.* 
I'll be expanding on some of the ideas I laid out in my tribute to Lucia Berlin in Vanity Fair. A small sample from the piece:
Lucia had contempt for bigots, homophobes, or anyone trying to sanitize descriptions. Some girls were ugly, some were whores. Some predators were gorgeous and intoxicating. Grime could be alluring. In my favorite story, “My Jockey,” she undresses her crumpled jockey as an E.R. nurse. “His boots smelled of manure and sweat, but were as soft and dainty as Cinderella’s.” The beauty enchants her, regardless of the stench—or the pain. 
Lucia had an eye for beauty—she plucked it out everywhere. Devout Catholic children in an old Mission school “who trembled their morning prayers.” The playfulness of the old nuns in the same story: “loved by their God and by their children.” Lucia’s aging nuns were gleeful, because they got to teach the little kids, who “responded to love with tenderness.” The young nuns were gaunt and nervous: forced to teach jaded middle schoolers: “they could not use awe or love. . . . Their recourse was impregnability, indifference to the students who were their duty and their life.” 
Read More Lucia Berlin in Vanity Fair. (BTW, I could use help spreading the word. Please consider tweeting, sharing on FB, etc. Thanks.)

* It's below the grid—I'm helpless down there. Haha. But luckily, it's very close to my gym at Astor Place, so I'll find it. For you, it's very close to the NR, 46 or BDFM subway lines. The store's event listing here.)
Probably no appearance by Bobby Sneakers, sadly.

Lydia Davis, the esteemed short-story writer who wrote the book's forward, will also be speaking. You can read Lydia's piece on Lucia in the New Yorker here. And Stephen Emerson, who edited the book, and wrote the introduction (here), will also speak.

After the jump are some incredible pictures from Lucia's past, courtesy of her family, especially Jill. (Thank you!)

Update, Sep 30: Lucia Berlin has just been announced as finalist for the Kirkus Book Prize. This news comes the morning of the event. Exciting!

Non-adobe Corrales house in the story "My Life is an Open Book," in the collection Safe and Sound.

Edith house in Albuquerque, NM.

Swimming pool behind Edith house in Albuquerque, NM.

Angel's laundromat today.

El Paso family reunion, 1952. Lucia Berlin is far right, on the ground. Damn, she looks happy. / Literary Estate of Lucia Berlin.


  1. I added more pix. I'll try to add more.

  2. I added more pix. I'll try to add more.

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