City Tech’s annual Literary Arts Festival to feature award-winning author Mary Gaitskill

March 15, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mary Gaitskill. Photo by Derek Shapton
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Mary Gaitskill, best known for delivering powerful stories of dislocation, longing and desire, will read from her work at City Tech’s 35th Literary Arts Festival on March 24 at 5:30 p.m. in the Voorhees Theatre (186 Jay St. in Downtown Brooklyn). City Tech students and faculty will also read original works at the event, and the City Tech Steppers will perform. Admission is free and the festival is open to all.

Gaitskill is the author of three novels: “The Mare” (2015); “Veronica” (2005), nominated for the 2005 National Book Award, National Critic’s Circle Award and the LA Times Book Award; and “Two Girls, Fat and Thin” (1991). She is the author of the story collections “Bad Behavior” and “Because They Wanted To,” nominated for the PEN/Faulkner award in 1998. “Bad Behavior,” now a classic, made critical waves when it was first published, heralding Gaitskill’s arrival on the literary scene and establishing her as one of the sharpest, erotically charged and audaciously funny writing talents of contemporary literature. Her 2009 collection of stories is titled “Don’t Cry,” about which Bomb Magazine declared: “Written with her distinctive, uncanny combination of bluntness and high lyricism, ‘Don’t Cry’ takes its place among artworks of great moral seriousness.”

At City Tech’s Literary Arts Festival, Gaitskill will read from her latest novel, “The Mare,” which explores contemporary class, race and the complex politics of “giving” through the story of a young Dominican girl from Brooklyn who comes to live with a couple in Upstate New York through the controversial Fresh Air Fund and how all of their lives are changed.

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Gaitskill’s stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, EsquireBest American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. In 2002, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction, and in 2010, she was awarded a Cullman Research Fellowship at the New York Public Library. She has taught at UC Berkeley, the University of Houston, New York University, Brown and Syracuse University. She is currently the Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Claremont College in California.  

“At this year’s event, our students will contribute in many different capacities,” said City Tech Professor Jennifer Sears. “Our Literary Arts Festival student volunteer team has been working on a video. They wrote the script and are doing all the filming. This video will open the show. Other students will read their winning writing entries in a variety of categories including fiction, poetry, personal essays and graphic text awards.”

For the second year since the festival’s inception, the organizers will host the Literary Arts Festival Literature Roundtable on Monday, March 21, at 11:30 a.m. in the Atrium Amphitheater. English Professors Renata Ferdinand and Ruth Garcia will lead a discussion of Mary Gaitskill’s works for faculty and students. This event is also free and open to faculty and students.


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