Tuesday, 7:00 pm EDT March 28, 2023
The Center for Fiction
The Ticket/Voucher option includes a $10 Bookstore voucher, redeemable toward the featured event book on the night of the event. All registrants will receive a link to livestream the event.
“Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.” —Oscar Wilde
Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Is a portrait a reflection of the model or the artist? What compels a writer to inhabit the mind of a visual artist in a work of fiction? What drives the artist in literature and in life? Idra Novey (Those Who Knew, Ways to Disappear) will converse with Brandon Taylor (Real Life, The Late Americans) and Siri Hustvedt (Memories of the Future, The Blazing World) about the mercurial figure of the fictionalized artist in their respective books in a panel moderated by author Jennifer Gilmore (Something Red).
Novey’s new novel, Take What You Need, follows an outsider artist; Hustvedt has explored the lives of visual artists and the politics of the art world throughout her work; and Taylor’s nationally bestselling collection of stories, Filthy Animals, dives into the intersection of love, sex, and artistic expression. In collaboration with Harper’s Magazine, the panel will explore big questions regarding art, humanity, and literature.
Presented in partnership with Harper’s Magazine.
Idra Novey is the award-winning author of the novels Ways to Disappear and Those Who Knew. Her work has been translated into a dozen languages and she’s written for the Atlantic, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. She teaches fiction at Princeton University and in the MFA Program at New York University.
Photo Credit: Jesse Ditmar
Siri Hustvedt is the author of a book of poetry, six essay collections, seven novels, including The Blazing World and Memories of the Future, and several works of nonfiction. Hustvedt has a Ph.D. from Columbia University in English Literature and an appointment as a lecturer in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. The Blazing World was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won The Los Angeles Book Prize for Fiction. She has been awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities, the Prix européen de l’essai from the Foundation Charles Veillon, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and the Princess of Asturias Award in Spain. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages. Hustvedt lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Brandon Taylor is the author of the novels The Late Americans and Real Life, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Science + Literature Selected Title by the National Book Foundation. His collection Filthy Animals, a national bestseller, was awarded The Story Prize and shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. He is the 2022-2023 Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
Photo Credit: Haolun Xu
Jennifer Gilmore is the critically acclaimed author of five novels, including The Mothers, Something Red, and Golden Country, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Harold U Ribalow Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Atlantic, Bookforum, Harper’s Magazine, the Forward, the Los Angeles Times, New York magazine, the New York Times, Real Simple, Salon, the Washington Post, and Vogue. Gilmore has taught creative writing and literature at Barnard, Cornell, Harvard, New York University, the New School, Princeton, and Sarah Lawrence. She currently teaches creative writing at Lafayette College.
Photo Credit: Michael Lovett
Take What You Need
By Idra Novey
Published by Viking
Set in the Allegheny Mountains of Appalachia, Take What You Need traces the parallel lives of Jean and her beloved but estranged stepdaughter, Leah, who’s sought a clean break from her rural childhood. In Leah’s urban life with her young family, she’s revealed little about Jean, how much she misses her stepmother’s hard-won insights and joyful lack of inhibition. But with Jean’s death, Leah must return to sort through what’s been left behind.
What Leah discovers is staggering: Jean has filled her ramshackle house with giant sculptures she’s welded from scraps of the area’s industrial history. There’s also a young man now living in the house who played an unknown role in Jean’s last years and in her art.
With great verve and humor, Idra Novey zeros in on the joys and difficulty of family, the ease with which we let distance mute conflict, and the power we can draw from creative pursuits.
Take What You Need explores the continuing mystery of the people we love most with passionate and resonance, this novel illuminating can be built from what others have discarded—art, unexpected friendship, a new contentment of self. This is Idra Novey at her very best.
About Harper's Magazine
Harper’s Magazine is America’s longest-running general interest publication, consistently bringing bold and original ideas to our audience since the first issue in June 1850. This is the magazine that broke the scandals of the My Lai massacre and Guantanamo suicides coverup, where Moby-Dick was first serialized and “Nickel and Dimed” first lived, the only American magazine to excerpt The Satanic Verses, and among the first to condemn the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Harper’s devotes over a third of every issue in some way to books—reviews, excerpts, and analysis—alongside investigative reporting, opinion, photo essays, short fiction, art, poetry, and the inimitable Harper’s Index.
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