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NYC author pens essay collection on how we form identities in life, politics, art

Brooklyn BookBeat

April 12, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Alexander Chee. Images courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
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Alexander Chee has cemented his place as one of the most beloved novelists of his generation, and now, in his first collection of nonfiction, “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel” (April 17), he returns to the craft that sustained his early career at a wide variety of publications: the essay. Readers will delight in this memoir-in-essays, tracking Chee’s coming-of-age as a writer, and as a man. In these pieces, he evolves from a plucky 15-year-old beguiling the locals of Mexico into believing he’s one of them after his swift acquisition of Spanish, to one of America’s premiere literary voices fighting against politics that threaten his deepest convictions.

Chee will present his new book at Books Are Magic on the day it is released, and on April 18 at The Strand. With wit and heart, Chee imparts wisdom that can only be learned through a life richly lived, and he confronts some of the most pivotal moments of his personal history and the nation’s, including his father’s death, the AIDS crisis, 9/11 and odd jobs that kept him afloat while he relentlessly pursued writing. As Garth Greenwell says, “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel” “is an essential book about how to survive as an artist today.” This manifesto’s universal truths will speak to readers from all walks of life.

Chee is a novelist and essayist and teaches fiction writing and the essay in the MFA program at Dartmouth College. He is the author of the novels “Edinburgh” and “The Queen of the Night.” His work has appeared in Best American Essays, The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, on NPR and elsewhere. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, an editor at large at The Virginia Quarterly Review and a critic at large at The Los Angeles Times. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Editor’s Choice Prize, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Literary Award, the Whiting Award and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in prose, as well as residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Civitella Ranieri and Leidig House. He serves on the board of directors of the Authors’ Guild of America, and splits his time between Vermont and New York City, where he hosts the Dear Reader series at the Ace Hotel.

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