Skip to Content

The Center for Fiction and Harper’s Magazine Present What Happened to Gen X?

September 18, 2023

What happened to Gen X? That’s the question at hand in Harper’s Magazine’s September issue and it’s one that three members of the generation, Rachel KushnerEthan Hawke, and Christopher Beha (born in 1968, 1970, and 1979, respectively), explored in a fascinating discussion that touched upon literature, film, art, and attitude. Kushner writes the magazine’s “Easy Chair” column and is the bestselling author of three novels: The Mars Room, The Flamethrowers, and Telex from Cuba. Her collection of essays, The Hard Crowd, was published in 2021. Christopher Beha is the editor of Harper’s and the author of a memoir, The Whole Five Feet, and the novels Arts & Entertainments, What Happened to Sophie Wilder, and The Index of Self-Destructive Acts.

Presented in partnership with Harper’s Magazine.

In Conversation

  • RK1flat - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Rachel Kushner

    Rachel Kushner

    Rachel Kushner is the bestselling author of three novels: the Booker- and NBCC Award-shortlisted The Mars Room; The Flamethrowers, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Top Ten Book of 2013; and Telex from Cuba, a finalist for the National Book Award. Her collection of essays, The Hard Crowd, was published in 2021. She grew up in San Francisco and lives in Los Angeles.

  • EH_-APPROVED-Headshot-Photographer-Francois-Berthier-Title-Ethan-Hawke-Paris-Match-November-29-2019-min-scaled

    Ethan Hawke

    Ethan Hawke

    Ethan Hawke is a four-time Academy Award-nominated artist and one of Hollywood’s most multifaceted stars: actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and bestselling novelist.

    His prolific film acting career includes Dead Poets Society; Reality Bites; Gattaca; Training Day; Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead; Boyhood; Born to Be Blue; Maudie; Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight; and First Reformed.

    His film directing debut Chelsea Walls premiered at Cannes in 2001. Since then, Hawke has directed the feature films The Hottest State (Venice), Blaze (Sundance, Locarno FF), and the documentary feature Seymour: An Introduction (Telluride, TIFF). Most recently, Hawke directed The Last Movie Stars (SXSW, Cannes) for CNN Films and HBO Max, a six-part documentary about the lives and careers of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. His latest film Wildcat, starring Maya Hawke as the Southern Gothic author Flannery O’Connor, premiered at the 2023 Telluride Film Festival.

    With his Under the Influence banner, Hawke executive produced, co-wrote, and starred in the Peabody award winning limited series The Good Lord Bird.

    At the age of twenty-one, Hawke founded the Malaparte Theater Co., which gave young artists a home to develop their craft for over five years. A Tony Award & Drama Desk award-nominated stage actor, Hawke starred on Broadway in the revival of Sam Shepard’s True West; Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia; Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Henry IV; and Chekhov’s The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard. In 2010, Hawke directed Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, for which he received a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play. He also directed the acclaimed off-broadway productions of Clive and Things We Want.

    A bestselling author, in 2021 he released A Bright Ray of Darkness and the graphic novel Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story. Other written works include the novels The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday, the graphic novel Indeh, and Rules for a Knight.

    Photo Credit: Francois Berthier

  • CHristopher Beha Photo - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Christopher Beha

    Christopher Beha

    Christopher Beha is the editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author of a memoir, The Whole Five Feet, and the novels Arts & Entertainments and What Happened to Sophie Wilder. His latest novel, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts, was nominated for the 2020 National Book Award. He is currently writing an intellectual history of atheism for Penguin Press.

    Photo Credit: Ira Lippke