Syntax/Synapse: "How We Love" with Garth Greenwell and Dr. Lucy L Brown

Wednesday November 8, 2017
07:00 pm

Tags: Event





A finalist for the 2016 First Novel Prize, Garth Greenwell’s dazzling debut What Belongs to You explores sexual attraction, love, obsession, and trauma, examining how one bleeds into the other and how difficult it can be to tell them apart. Greenwell was joined by neuroscientist Dr. Lucy L. Brown, a pioneer in the neuroscience of romantic love, Clinical Professor in Neurology at Einstein College of Medicine, and Co-Founder of The Anatomy of Love. This event is moderated by the Center's director, Noreen Tomassi. 

Syntax/Synapse is a series of programs and essays exploring the intersections between literature and neuroscience, presented in partnership with the Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab and YHouse. Syntax/Synapse is generously funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.



Lucy L. Brown, PhD, is a neuroscientist and Clinical Professor in Neurology at Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She received her PhD in Experimental/Physiological Psychology from NYU in 1973. During a post-doctoral fellowship at Einstein, she worked on visualizing dopamine neurons and testing their plasticity in reward systems. She also learned about functional brain mapping techniques during the fellowship, and continued at Einstein as a grant-funded investigator. She was Director of the Laboratory for Functional Neuroanatomy and Movement Disorders for over twenty years. Her area of expertise is the neuroanatomy of the somatosensory and motor systems. Together with Art Aron and Helen Fisher she pioneered studies of the neuroscience of romantic love. These studies have had clinical relevance as we begin to better understand drug addictions, and depression after heartbreak. Currently, she collaborates with several investigators on brain imaging of love, personality traits, and mobility and cognition in normal aging.


Garth Greenwell is the author of What Belongs to You, winner of the British Book Award for Debut of the Year. The novel was longlisted for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for six other awards, including the Lambda Literary Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, it was named a Best Book of 2016 by over fifty publications in nine countries, and is being translated into eleven languages. His short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, and VICE, and he has written criticism for the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review, among others. He lives and teaches in Iowa City.


Noreen Tomassi became Director of The Center for Fiction in 2004 and spearheaded the organization's transition from the Mercantile Library, a small membership library, to The Center for Fiction, a nationally known literary center. She came to the Center from Arts International where she worked for 16 years, first as a program director, then as associate director, and then as director. Prior to that she directed the Literature and Theater programs at NJSCA and she began her career in Play Development at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Her books include American Visions/Visiones de las Americas: Artistic & Cultural Identity in the Americas and she was co-creator, with Jane Alexander and Birgitta Trommler, of What of the Night, a play based on the life and work of Djuna Barnes that was premiered by MCC at the Lucille Lortel in 2005. She earned her BA at Skidmore College.