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Reading Lolita in America: A Panel Discussion with Sarah Weinman, Susan Choi, and Morgan Jerkins


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Thursday, 7:00 pm September 26, 2019

More than six decades after publication, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov remains one of the most controversial and iconic novels of the 20th century, one that inspires heated debate for its content—and its most unreliable narrator, Humbert Humbert—and rapturous praise for its inventive language.

The experience of reading (and re-reading) Lolita can’t help but change over time and in response to the culture. Can Dolores Haze, the titular character, ever be centered in the narrative? What do we gain and lose by reading Lolita today?

Join Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita: A Lost Girl, An Unthinkable Crime, and a Scandalous Masterpiece, recently published in paperback, as she discusses what it is to read Lolita, in America and beyond, with two of her favorite writers: Susan Choi (Trust Exercise), and essayist Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing).

Due to unexpected changes to her schedule, Catherine Chung is no longer able to participate in the panel. 

  • Sarah Weinman

    Sarah Weinman

    Sarah Weinman

    Sarah Weinman is the author of The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World, which was named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, BuzzFeed, The National Post, Literary Hub, and Vulture, and won the Arthur Ellis Award for Excellence in Crime Writing. She also edited the anthologies Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s (Library of America) and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (Penguin).

    Weinman, currently a contributing editor and columnist at CrimeReads, has written for the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Washington Post, Topic, New York, the New Republic, the Guardian, and Buzzfeed, among other outlets, while her fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and numerous anthologies. Weinman also writes the Crime Lady newsletter, covering crime fiction, true crime, and all points in between. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Susan Choi by Heather Weston

    Susan Choi

    Susan Choi

    Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into a film. Her third novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2010 she was named the inaugural recipient of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award. Her fourth novel, My Education, received a 2014 Lammy Award. Her fifth novel, Trust Exercise, and her first book for children, Camp Tiger, came out earlier this year. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, she teaches fiction writing at Yale and lives in Brooklyn.

  • Guest Photo - Morgan Jerkins

    Morgan Jerkins

    Morgan Jerkins

    Morgan Jerkins is the author of This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America, which became a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Editors’ Choice Pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, and was longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Her short-form work has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and The Guardian, among many others. A graduate of Princeton University and Bennington College Writing Seminars, Jerkins is a former Associate Editor at Catapult and currently teaches nonfiction at Columbia University’s MFA program. She currently is the Senior Editor at ZORA and is based in Harlem.