Includes a Signed Copy of Everybody
Thursday, 1:00 pm EST May 6, 2021
Online via Zoom
Analyzing some of the most significant and complicated figures of the past century through the lens of psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, author Olivia Laing explores gay rights and sexual liberation, feminism, and the civil rights revolution as it relates to bodily rights in her newest book Everybody: A Book About Freedom. To discuss her life and latest work, Laing is joined by MacArthur fellow Maggie Nelson (The Argonauts, The Art of Cruelty). They will discuss freedom and the celebration of the ways that bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world.
Tickets to this virtual event include a signed copy of Everybody: A Book About Freedom. Registered attendees will also receive “Everybody” buttons and be entered into a raffle to win an “Everybody” necklace!
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Olivia Laing is the author of three acclaimed works of nonfiction, To the River (2011), The Trip to Echo Spring (2013), and The Lonely City (2016), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and has been translated into seventeen languages. Her first novel, Crudo, was a New York Times Notable Book and won the 2019 James Tait Black Prize. She writes for the Guardian, New York Times, and frieze, among many other publications. Her collected writing on art, Funny Weather, was published in 2020. The recipient of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize in nonfiction, Laing lives in Suffolk, UK.
Maggie Nelson is the author of several books of poetry and prose, most recently the New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award winner The Argonauts. Her newest book On Freedom is available in September. She teaches at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.
By Olivia Laing
Published by WW Norton
The body is a source of pleasure and of pain, at once hopelessly vulnerable and radiant with power. In her ambitious, brilliant sixth book, Olivia Laing charts an electrifying course through the long struggle for bodily freedom, using the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to explore gay rights and sexual liberation, feminism, and the civil rights movement.
Drawing on her own experiences in protest and alternative medicine, and traveling from Weimar Berlin to the prisons of McCarthy-era America, Laing grapples with some of the most significant and complicated figures of the past century—among them Nina Simone, Christopher Isherwood, Andrea Dworkin, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag, and Malcolm X.
Despite its many burdens, the body remains a source of power, even in an era as technologized and automated as our own. Arriving at a moment in which basic bodily rights are once again imperiled, Everybody is an investigation into the forces arranged against freedom and a celebration of how ordinary human bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world.
By Maggie Nelson
Published by Graywolf Press
So often deployed as a jingoistic, even menacing rallying cry, or limited by a focus on passing moments of liberation, the rhetoric of freedom both rouses and repels. Does it remain key to our autonomy, justice, and well-being, or is freedom’s long star turn coming to a close? Does a continued obsession with the term enliven and emancipate, or reflect a deepening nihilism (or both)? On Freedom examines such questions by tracing the concept’s complexities in four distinct realms: art, sex, drugs, and climate.
Drawing on a vast range of material, from critical theory to pop culture to the intimacies and plain exchanges of daily life, Maggie Nelson explores how we might think, experience, or talk about freedom in ways responsive to the conditions of our day. Her abiding interest lies in ongoing “practices of freedom” by which we negotiate our interrelation with—indeed, our inseparability from—others, with all the care and constraint that entails, while accepting difference and conflict as integral to our communion.
For Nelson, thinking publicly through the knots in our culture—from recent art-world debates to the turbulent legacies of sexual liberation, from the painful paradoxes of addiction to the lure of despair in the face of the climate crisis—is itself a practice of freedom, a means of forging fortitude, courage, and company. On Freedom is an invigorating, essential book for challenging times..
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