Monday, 8:00 pm EDT June 1, 2020
8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT
This program is part of our Inside and Out Pride 2020 event series, which offers solace and affirmation to the LGBTQ+ community during a time of isolation from trusted social groups and support networks.
Join us for the paperback launch celebration of Nicole Dennis-Benn’s character-driven novel Patsy, which explores gender, sexuality, Jamaican life, and diaspora. In pursuit of a life that has more opportunities than she left behind, Patsy moves from Jamaica to New York City, leaving behind her daughter, Tru. Although hundreds of miles and years separate them, they both grapple with queerness, forgiveness, and abandonment. Critically acclaimed author Roxane Gay will interview Nicole Dennis-Benn. Presented in collaboration with the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival.
“Patsy upends the stereotypes of immigrant and gay fiction…[it] continually and subtly defies predictability as it tells a vital and remarkable life story…” —New York Times
Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of Here Comes the Sun, a New York Times Notable Book and winner of the Lambda Literary Award. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, she teaches at Princeton and lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York.
Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.
By Nicole Dennis-Benn
Published by WW Norton / Liveright
When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it comes after years of yearning to leave Pennyfield, the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised. More than anything, Patsy wishes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, whose letters arrive from New York steeped in the promise of a happier life and the possible rekindling of their young love. But Patsy’s plans don’t include her overzealous, evangelical mother―or even her five-year-old daughter, Tru.
Beating with the pulse of a long-witheld confession, Patsy gives voice to a woman who looks to America for the opportunity to choose herself first―not to give a better life to her family back home. Patsy leaves Tru behind in a defiant act of self-preservation, hoping for a new start where she can be, and love, whomever she wants. But when Patsy arrives in Brooklyn, America is not as Cicely’s treasured letters described; to survive as an undocumented immigrant, she is forced to work as a bathroom attendant and nanny. Meanwhile, Tru builds a faltering relationship with her father back in Jamaica, grappling with her own questions of identity and sexuality, and trying desperately to empathize with her mother’s decision.
Expertly evoking the jittery streets of New York and the languid rhythms of Jamaica, Patsy weaves between the lives of Patsy and Tru in vignettes spanning more than a decade as mother and daughter ultimately find a way back to one another.
About this series
Inside and Out
Inside and Out is a new series from The Center for Fiction to run this Pride Month 2020! The series offers solace and affirmation to the LGBTQ+ community during a time of isolation from trusted social groups and support networks. Featuring a phenomenal line-up of authors whose books center the unique experiences of queer characters, conversations will explore how sexuality and gender identity intersect with race, class, religion, and nationality.
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