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"A very funny book about the frailties of the flesh, the absurdities of modern medicine, and how to stay sane amid it all. Scalise's voice is fantastically entertaining, unfailingly honest."
—Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King and Heroes of the Frontier

The Brand New Catastrophe: Mike Scalise and Alexandra Kleeman

Wednesday February 1, 2017
07:00 pm

Tags: Event

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Winner of The Center for Fiction’s 2014 Christopher Doheny Award, The Brand New Catastrophe is a memoir exploring the public and private theaters of illness. The book’s author Mike Scalise talked about his creative process and the challenges of writing the body with Alexandra Kleeman (Intimations, You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine).


About The Brand New Catastrophe

Raucous family memoir meets medical adventure in this heartfelt, hilarious book exploring the public and private theaters of illness. After a tumor bursts in Mike Scalise’s brain, leaving him with a hole in the head and malfunctioning hormones, he must navigate a new, alien world of illness maintenance. His mother, who has a chronic heart condition and a flair for drama, becomes a complicated model as she competes with him for the status of "best sick person." The Brand New Catastrophe is a moving, funny exploration of how we define ourselves by the stories we choose to tell.

 

Mike Scalise’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, AGNI, Indiewire, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. He’s an 826DC advisory board member, has received fellowships and scholarships from Bread Loaf, Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, and was the Philip Roth Writer in Residence at Bucknell University. His memoir, The Brand New Catastrophe, was the recipient of The Center for Fiction's 2014 Christopher Doheny Award.

 

Alexandra Kleeman is a Staten Island-based writer of fiction and nonfiction, and the winner of the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, Conjunctions, and Guernica, among others. Nonfiction essays and reportage have appeared in Harper's, Tin House, n+1, and The Guardian. Her work has received scholarships and grants from Bread Loaf, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and ArtFarm Nebraska. She is the author of the debut novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine (Harper, 2015) and Intimations (Harper, 2016), a short story collection.