Denis Johnson Tribute & Book Release: The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
Join us at City Lit Books for a tribute to Denis Johnson in conjunction with the release of his final book, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden. Twenty-five years after Jesus’ Son, this is a haunting new collection of short stories on aging, mortality, and transcendence, from National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Denis Johnson. Finished shortly before his death, this collection is the last word from a writer whose work will live on for many years to come.
“An instant classic . . . A masterpiece of deep humanity and astonishing prose . . . It’s filled with Johnson's unparalleled ability to inject humor, profundity, and beauty—often all three—into the dark and the mundane alike. These characters have been pushed toward the edge; through their searches for meaning or clawing just to hold on to life, Johnson is able to articulate what it means to be alive, and to have hope.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Mesmerizing . . . psychologically revelatory, spiritually inquisitive, and grimly funny stories . . . Johnson will be remembered and revered as an incisive storyteller fluent in the comedy and tragedy of human confusion and the transcendence of compassion.”—Booklist (starred review)
Local authors, including Rebecca Makkai, Juan Martinez, Nami Mun, Adam Morgan, and Amin Ahmad will participate in this tribute event to read from the new book, present original work inspired by or in response to Johnson, or comment on the influence Denis Johnson's writing may have had in their writing life. We have invited local authors who seem to have been influenced by his writing particularly his lyricism, forthrightness, and wit.
Rebecca Makkai is the author of the novels The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, and the collection Music for Wartime—six stories from which have appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, Rebecca has taught at the Tin House Writers' Conference and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is currently on the faculty of the MFA programs at Sierra Nevada College and Northwestern University. Her website is www.rebeccamakkai.com.
Juan Martinez is a fiction writer. He was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and has since lived in Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada. His work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Glimmer Train, McSweeney's, TriQuarterly, Conjunctions, National Public Radio's Selected Shorts, Norton's Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and The Perpetual Engine of Hope: Stories Inspired by Iconic Vegas Photographs. Best Worst American, his story collection, was published in February 2017.
Adam Morgan is the editor-in-chief of the Chicago Review of Books, a weekly arts and culture columnist at Chicago magazine, and a book critic at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. His writing has also appeared in The Guardian, Poets & Writers, The Denver Post, Literary Hub, Electric Literature, Chicago Reader, Necessary Fiction, Strange Horizons, Bookpage, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere.
Nami Mun grew up in Seoul, South Korea and Bronx, New York. For her first book, Miles from Nowhere, she received a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, The Hopwood Award, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the Asian American Literary Award. Miles from Nowhere was selected as Editors’ Choice and Top Ten First Novels by Booklist; Best Fiction of 2009 So Far by Amazon; and as an Indie Next Pick. Chicago Magazine named her Best New Novelist of 2009. Her stories have been published in The New York Times, Granta, Tin House, The Iowa Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Evergreen Review, Witness, and elsewhere. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in Chicago.
Amin Ahmad was raised in India and educated at Vassar College and M.I.T. His essays and stories have been published in literary magazines and listed in Best American Essays. As A.X. Ahmad, he is the author of the suspense novels The Caretaker and The Last Taxi Ride, one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015. He taught novel writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, from 2012 to 2016, and created the "Novel Year" program for advanced novelists. He was awarded a 2015–16 Artist’s Fellowship grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In Spring 2017, he will be the Visiting Artist in Residence at Northwestern University. You can find him at www.axahmad.com.