Cities can play a key role in literature—from Ferrante’s Naples to Calvino’s fantastical creations, Joyce’s Dublin to Dickensian London. They can be a familiar space, or an alienating force; a character in themselves, or simply a backdrop for events.
Novelists Jessie Chaffee (Florence in Ecstasy) and Kristopher Jansma (Why We Came to the City) are joined by essayist and editor Garnette Cadogan (Non-Stop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas) to explore how cities inspire writers, and how they are represented in both fiction and non-fiction.
Garnette Cadogan is an essayist who is at work on a book on walking. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, and is editor-at-large for Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas (edited by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly Schapiro).
Kristopher Jansma is the author of Why We Came to the City and The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, winner of the Sherwood Anderson Foundation Fiction Award and recipient of an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award. He has written for the New York Times, Salon, ZYZZVA, The Believer, The Millions, Slice, and Electric Literature. His work has been noted as distinguished in The Best American Short Stories 2016 and The Best American Essays 2014. He is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at SUNY New Paltz and a graduate lecturer in fiction at Sarah Lawrence College.
Jessie Chaffee's debut novel, Florence in Ecstasy, will be published by the Unnamed Press in May 2017. She was awarded a 2014-2015 Fulbright Grant in Creative Writing to Italy to complete the novel, during which time she was the Writer-in-Residence at Florence University of the Arts. Her writing has been published in The Rumpus, Bluestem, Global City Review, Big Bridge, and The Sigh Press, among others. She lives in New York City, where she is an editor at Words Without Borders, an online magazine of international literature in translation. Find her at www.jessiechaffee.com.