Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

See punks, satirists, authors, playwrights and cartoonists discuss and read their work at these top spring book events.

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  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Sam Lipsyte

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Jennifer Egan

  • Photograph: Sylvia Plachy

    Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Ed Park

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Jeffrey Frank

  • Photograph: Jillian Edelstein

    Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Mohsin Hamid

  • Photograph: Iniz & Vinoodh

    Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Richard Hell

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Jonathan Lethem

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Joy Harjo

  • Photograph: Nancy Crampton

    Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Taiye Selasi

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Aleksandar Hemon

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Downtown Literary Festival

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Ben Katchor

  • Photograph: Richard Avedon

    Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Renata Adler

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Percival Everett

  • Photograph: Jeff Morgan

    Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Gary Shteyngart

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    World Book Night

  • Photograph: Kenneth Noland

    Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Jamaica Kincaid

  • Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Alison Bechdel

  • Photograph: Susan Johann

    Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

    Lynn Nottage and Stephen Guirgis

Spring book events in NYC 2013: Readings, performances and talks

Sam Lipsyte

The next three months sees a wide variety spring book events. Punk legend Richard Hell makes two appearances to discuss and read from his autobiography for those who want to relive, or vicariously experience, the gritty New York of old. Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story) and Etgar Keret debut new works at the Selected Shorts series, while the minds behind the Broadway show The Motherfucker with the Hat and the Pulitzer Prize—winning Ruined share pieces of their work.


RECOMMENDED: Spring in New York guide


Sam Lipsyte

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Lipsyte's acidic and pitch-black satires keep getting better—The Ask, about a middle-aged failure called Milo, was one of the best books of 2010. His new collection, The Fun Parts, contains many of the short stories he's published in The New Yorker and elsewhere, and exhibits the crackling dialogue and casually misanthropic messes he’s so good at crafting.

  1. New York University, Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House 58 W 10th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Until Thu May 2
More info

Thalia Book Club: Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, with Jennifer Egan, Siri Hustvedt and Margot Livesey

  • Critics choice

Three well-regarded novelists, who have led lively discussions of Middlemarch and Anna Karenina for this series, guide the crowd in an analysis of an early American classic.

  1. Symphony Space 2537 Broadway, at 95th St, 10025
  2. Until Wed Mar 6
More info

Jeffrey Frank

  • Critics choice

The former Washington Post and New Yorker editor’s new nonfiction, an in-depth look at the relationship between an American Vice President and his boss, already has people talking. Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage depicts a young and unsure Nixon seeking approval from great former war hero Eisenhower (who never quite invests or believes in his veep). Since Frank is also a published novelist, his interest in character motivation runs alongside the historical record.

  1. Barnes & Noble Tribeca 97 Warren St, at Greenwich St
  2. Until Thu Mar 7
More info

Mohsin Hamid

  • Critics choice

In Moth Smoke, this Pakistani author told the story of a banker’s fall from grace; in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, an American immigrant came to resent his adopted home. Hamid's propulsive and formally playful prose continues in the new How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, the tale of a rural boy who moves to a nameless metropolis and becomes a wealthy businessman, all while pining after one woman.

  1. Greenlight Bookstore 686 Fulton St, at South Portland Ave
  2. Tue Mar 12
More info

Richard Hell

  • Critics choice

Punk legend Richard Hell—cofounder of Television, the Heartbreakers and bandleader behind Richard Hell and the Voidoids—pours his heart out in a memoir (I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp) about rising alongside Patti Smith and the Ramones at CBGBs, opening for the Clash and his descent into drug addiction. The prose is candid and straightforward, without much of the self-serving nostalgia that easily could have accompanied such a trip.

  1. Bookmarc 400 Bleecker St , at 11th St , 10014
  2. Thu Mar 14 - Tue Mar 19
More info

Jonathan Lethem in conversation with Jessica Hagedorn

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Though we at TONY mourn Brooklyn boy Jonathan Lethem’s departure to sunnier climes, there’ll still be lit and local color to enjoy as the fiction writer and essayist sits down with another New York novelist, Jessica Hagedorn. Lethem’s latest forays—the obsessive 33 1/3 volume about Talking Heads’ Fear of Music; essay collection The Ecstasy of Influence; and elegiac, loopy novel Chronic City—should prove a nice preamble for talk of this fall’s expected volume, Dissident Gardens.

  1. Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus 1 University Plaza, at Flatbush Ave
  2. Until Fri Oct 11
More info

Native Innovation: Indigenous American Poetry in the 21st Century

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Poets House welcomes a long list of Native American poets to NYC for a weekend of readings, conversations and panels about the current state of indigenous verse in the U.S. Storytelling and innovation will be addressed alongside politics; attendees include dg nanouk okpik, Cedar Sigo, Santee Frazier, LeAnne Howe and the great Joy Harjo, whose swirling memoir of her upbringing, Crazy Brave, was published last year.

  1. Poets House 10 River Terr, at Murray St
  2. Sun Mar 24
More info

Taiye Selasi

  • Critics choice

Since Granta published Selasi’s short story “The Sex Lives of African Girls” in 2011, there has been much anticipation for more of this writer’s work. This spring sees the publication of her first full-length novel, Ghana Must Go. The tale explores more of the author’s Nigerian and Ghanaian heritage, tracing the slow dissolution of a family after the death of its patriarch; Selasi's lyrical storytelling is ravishing, even as it wanders through difficult places.

  1. Center for Fiction 17 E 47th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Until Mon Apr 1
More info

Aleksandar Hemon

An author who famously started his career after being stranded in Chicago by the outbreak of war in his native Sarajevo, Aleksandar Hemon (The Lazarus Project, Love and Obstacles) regularly contends with the immigrant experience and tracing the path back to the old country. His new volume, The Book of My Lives, takes a new tack into the realm of nonfiction; it looks at family, home and growing up in a way that's both personal and political.

  1. McNally Jackson Books 52 Prince St, between Lafayette and Mulberry Sts
  2. Thu Mar 28 - Fri Mar 29
More info

Downtown Literary Festival

  • Critics choice

For the first time, McNally Jackson Books and Housing Works Bookstore team up to present a day of nontraditional events reflecting their collective vision of the downtown scene. The individual happenings are still taking shape, but they’ll include a reading of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems, a literary walking tour of the area and a lecture pairing books with a proper Scotch. Participants include Lapham’s Quarterly and Tumblr, and the whole day will wrap up with wine and chatting at Housing Works.

Ben Katchor

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The man responsible for surreal and satirical serials including Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer and the graphic novel The Cardboard Valise publishes a new collection of strips called Hand-Drying in America this season. His imaginative snatches of consumer life in the city and abroad are as funny and jarring as ever.

  1. Greenlight Bookstore 686 Fulton St, at South Portland Ave
  2. Until Mon Apr 15
More info

Renata Adler

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Adler, a journalist and film critic for publications including The New Yorker and The New York Times since the ’60s, also wrote genre-bending novels Speedboat and Pitch Dark. In 2010, David Shields’s manifesto Reality Hunger pointed the National Book Critics Circle to Adler’s precise, savage wit; following the NBCC’s recommendation, NYRB will reprint the books this spring. This attention is well deserved: Her pulsing fragments of prose are remarkably lucid and relevant New York fever dreams.

  1. Center for Fiction 17 E 47th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Until Tue Apr 16
More info

Percival Everett

  • Critics choice

This writer has taken us aback with his devilish, oft-satirical novels of faith, politics, identity and celebrity, including Erasure and I Am Not Sidney Poitier. His latest is Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, a knotty but rewarding puzzle about fathers and sons, youth and old age, and the question of authorship.

  1. 192 Books 192 Tenth Ave, between 21st and 22nd Sts
  2. Until Wed Apr 17
More info

Poetry and the Creative Mind Gala

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This star-studded annual happening lures poesyphobic New Yorkers with celebrity readers and relatively affordable seats. Big-name proponents of verse, including Jake Gyllenhaal, tout their favorite poems in an evening that supports the worthy Academy of American Poets and helps anchor National Poetry Month.

  1. Alice Tully Hall (at Lincoln Center) 1941 Broadway, at 65th St
  2. Until Thu Apr 24
More info

Selected Shorts: Etgar Keret + Gary Shteyngart

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Two satirists, one Isreali and one Russian, join forces for this evening of new stories read by well-known actors. Keret has made some strides in the U.S. the past few years, landing his loopy, fantastical short neo-fables in venues such as The New Yorker and in a great 2012 collection titled Suddenly a Knock on the Door. Super Sad True Love Story, he most recent novel from Shteyngart (Absurdistan, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook) tapped into the insecurity and longing of a middle-aged man even while charting a dystopic near-future.

  1. Symphony Space 2537 Broadway, At 95th St
  2. Wed Apr 17
More info

World Book Night

  • Critics choice

Last year, the city (along with the rest of the U.S., the U.K., Ireland and Germany) celebrated World Book Night: Volunteers signed up to hand out donated special editions of beloved novels—30 in all—to strangers who might not have convenient access to literature. This year, promote literacy yourself by targeting a community of needy readers with titles that range from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to Tina Fey’s Bossypants. As a bonus, meet some of your fellow lit enthusiasts over drinks and snacks while collecting your titles at participating shops, including WORD. Visit worldbooknight.org to sign up.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Wed Apr 23
More info

PEN World Voices Festival

  • Critics choice

This massive festival, now in its ninth year, brings together writers from around the globe to contemplate change, international politics and the value of free speech. This year's theme, bravery, will bring a cast of scribes including Ursula Krechel, Jamaica Kincaid, Eduardo Galeano, Téa Obreht and Fran Lebowitz.

Eat, Drink and Be Literary: Alison Bechdel

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Bechdel is the author of two epic journeys—Are You My Mother? released last year and the groundbreaking graphic novel Fun Home—delving into her relationships with her parents, her analysts, her lovers and herself; both trips are funny, intricate, carefully observed and altogether satisfying. During this BAM event, Writer-critic Phillip Lopate engages Bechdel in an in-depth talk while you have your fill of food and wine.

  1. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, 11217
  2. Wed May 8
More info

Stephen Guirgis + Lynn Nottage

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This bill features two of the best playwrights working today, both of whom are New Yorkers. Guirgis nails the impassioned yearning of the city’s desperate, repentant sinners (in their own vernacular) in plays that include prison drama Jesus Hopped the A Train and Broadway show The Motherfucker in the Hat. For her part, Nottage channels the struggle and pain of black women be they a turn-of-the-century seamstress (Intimate Apparel) or Congolese, a Mother Courage-like business owner (Ruined). Don’t be surprised if some of their actor friends show up to help out.

  1. 92nd Street Y 1395 Lexington Ave, between 91st and 92nd Sts
  2. Thu May 9
More info


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