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The Stories of NYC: Downtown New York City Writers of the 1970s and ‘80s with Naomi Huffman and Julia Ringo


4 Sessions

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Four Sessions Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT April 9 to June 11, 2024

Online via Zoom

Meeting Dates:
4/9, 4/30, 5/21, 6/11
Online via Zoom

In recognition of the 400th anniversary of the establishment of New York City in 1624, we’re exploring The Stories of NYC.

In the latter decades of the twentieth century, New York City was a newly difficult place to be an artist. Following the fiscal crisis of the late 1970s, the city disinvested in its populace and stripped it of many basic social services. It bulldozed parks and theaters and criminalized all-night clubs and dance halls—spaces where queer people, people of color, the unhoused, and activists had congregated—to pave the way for corporate interests, luxury real estate development, and culture-degrading ideas of what a so-called safe city looks like.

Despite these crises, or in response to them, the writers living in New York City during the late 1970s and 1980s produced an electrifying body of work. It was an era of formal experimentation and postmodernist play, during which many writers embraced the aesthetics and politics of punk by making and distributing zines, establishing small journals and magazines, and collaborating with artists across media and practices. The fiction that emerged was bold and brash, and it baldly faced issues of sex and sexuality, gender and power, class divisions, and race—the very problems that those in power wished to ignore. In this course, we’ll celebrate the audacious and rebellious creativity of Fran Ross, Gary Indiana, Mary Gaitskill, and Ann Rower, and read excerpts of essays by writers like Samuel Delany, Cookie Mueller, and Lucy Sante. This course is propelled by group discussion; it includes special guests and presentations about each author.

Participants should read Oreo by Fran Ross in advance of the first meeting.

What to expect from this reading group: This course is propelled by group discussion; it includes special guests and presentations about each author.


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  • huffman-ringo

    Naomi Huffman & Julia Ringo

    Naomi Huffman & Julia Ringo

    Naomi Huffman and Julia Ringo are the co-founders of Hagfish, an editorial studio and small press based in Brooklyn.