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Reading Groups

Memoir and Criticism: Constructing a Nervous System and The Song of the Lark with Jasmine Sanders


4 Monthly Sessions Mondays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT June 27 to September 19, 2022

The Center for Fiction*

The ‘With Books’ option includes both titles required for this reading group at a 10% discount.

Meeting Dates:
Mondays, 6/27, 7/25, 8/22, 9/19
6:30-8pm ET at The Center for Fiction*

Margo Jefferson is one of the most daring and incisive critics of the past 25 years. Her work effortlessly melds memoir, autobiography, and cultural commentary. In her brilliant latest, Constructing a Nervous System, she turns her keen eye inwards in an exploration of all that made her, examined through a constellation of disparate figures. Most prominent is the author Willa Cather, whose Kunstlerroman, The Song of the Lark, provides a model for Jefferson. “I wanted memoir and criticism to combine. Can they?” Jefferson asks. This reading group is an attempted answer, reading the works alongside each other and the two women in conversation: the critic, the writer, and the audience all in the same room.

Participants should read the first 100 pages of Constructing a Nervous System prior to the first session.

*Proof of vaccination is required to attend this in-person reading group. Mask wearing is also required throughout the building. Accepted vaccination proofs include:

  • CDC vaccination card (or an image of it)
  • Excelsior Pass or Excelsior Pass Plus (or a printout of it)
  • A record of vaccination from the healthcare provider who administered your vaccine

Anyone 5 and older is required to show proof of two vaccine doses or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Anyone 18 and older must also present a government issued photo ID.

If you remain unvaccinated because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, please contact us at for assistance or to request a reasonable accommodation.


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  • jasmine sanders

    Jasmine Sanders

    Jasmine Sanders

    Jasmine Sanders is a writer from the South Side of Chicago. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Artforum, Bookforum, New York magazine, and elsewhere.