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The Center for Fiction Presents Xochitl Gonzalez on Anita de Monte Laughs Last with De’Ara Balenger

Monday, 7:00 pm EDT March 4, 2024

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

In-person tickets for this event are sold out. To view the livestream at home, register above.

Xochitl Gonzalez (Olga Dies Dreaming) joins The Center for Fiction to celebrate and discuss her mesmerizing new novel of power, love, and art, Anita de Monte Laughs Last. The book follows two perspectives: In 1985, Anita de Monte is a rising star in the art world, until she is found dead in New York City. In 1998, first generation Ivy League art history student Raquel feels like an outsider among her privileged classmates, but when she becomes romantically involved with a well-connected older art student, she rises up the social ranks and attempts to straddle both worlds. Raquel stumbles upon Anita’s story, raising questions about the dynamics of her own relationship, which eerily mirrors that of the forgotten artist. De’Ara Balenger, co-founder of maestra (an award-winning social impact and cultural strategy agency) and co-host on Pod Save the People, joins Gonzalez in conversation about her propulsive novel and the questions it raises about who gets to be remembered and who is left behind in the rarefied world of the elite. After the conversation, Gonzalez will sign books.

All tickets include a copy of Anita de Monte Laughs Last.


In Conversation

  • Xochitl Gonzalez_credit Mayra Castillo_Hi Res

    Xochitl Gonzalez

    Xochitl Gonzalez

    Xochitl Gonzalez is the New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming. Named a Best of 2022 by the New York Times, TIME, Kirkus, Washington Post, and NPR, Olga Dies Dreaming was the winner of the Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize in Fiction and the New York City Book Award. Gonzalez is a 2021 MFA graduate from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her nonfiction work has been published in Elle Decor, Allure, Vogue, Real Simple, and the Cut. Her commentary writing for the Atlantic was recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A native Brooklynite and proud public school graduate, Gonzalez holds a BA from Brown University and lives in her hometown of Brooklyn with her dog, Hectah Lavoe.

    Photo Credit: Mayra Castillo

  • De'Ara Balenger

    De'Ara Balenger

    De'Ara Balenger

    De’Ara Balenger is co-founder of maestra, an award winning social impact and cultural strategy agency, and co-host on the award-winning Crooked Media Podcast, Pod Save the People. She has worked on two Presidential campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and she served in the Obama Administration in the U.S. Department of State. De’Ara was a National Organizer for the monumental Women’s March on Washington in 2016 and named a 2017 Glamour Woman of the Year for her role in the Women’s March.