Two N.Y. literary to-dos
Two worthy literary journals have benefits coming up in New York. This Angeleno won't be there, but perhaps you will.
First, in order of appearance, is the Paris Review's Spring Revel on April 3. Founded in 1953, the Paris Review has just released its 200th issue, which includes a new piece by John Jeremiah Sullivan, fiction by David Means and Lorrie Moore, poetry by Yusef Komunyakaa and Adrienne Rich, and interviews with Terry Southern (who died in 1995) and Bret Easton Ellis. The annual event is a gala; the ticket prices, which start at $500, pretty much ensure that the dress will be fancy and the festivities festive. That's not a bad thing, if you can swing it -- it's a benefit, after all, and will feature David Cross, Mona Simpson and Zadie Smith. (I doubt I'll ever type those three names in conjunction again.) New York Review of Books editor Robert Silvers will receive the magazine's highest honor, the Hadada Prize. He spoke about his early experiences with the Paris Review here.
Did Paris seem like a particularly fertile place for that kind of literary production in the early fifties?
In 1952 — just think, it was only seven years after the war — Paris was still quite a broken up and poor place. There were many streets that you’d walk into, and the gutters and even sewers would be erupting, and you’d smell them. But this poverty conferred an advantage on people who had dollars — the rate was extremely high. So you could live cheaply and put out a magazine cheaply. It was only after three years, though, that we found that the printing we were getting was so messy. The printers, who were charming but usually drunk, had terrible trouble with English. So we moved the paper’s printing to Holland.
And you lived on a barge.
Yeah, a friend of mine had rented a barge for a season, and he said, "Listen, why don’t we join together?"
And this was Peter Duchin?
Peter Duchin, he was then a music student in Paris. We lived for a year on this Thames river barge. It was a lovely boat, about 90 feet. To live on the Seine is, I suppose, one of the nicest things you can do.
Two weeks later, more or less, is the One Story Literary Debutante Ball. The cost of entry is lower -- tickets start at $75 and max at $500 (although yes, larger donations are welcome). That makes sense, as part of the point of One Story's fundraiser is to celebrate writers just coming into their own. One Story celebrates, in tongue-in-cheek debutante style, writers who have been published in its pages whose first books have come out in the past year. This year's debutante class and their books:
Ramona Ausubel, "No One is Here Except All of Us" (Riverhead)
Megan Mayhew Bergman, "Birds of a Lesser Paradise" (Scribner)
Caitlin Horrocks, "This Is Not Your City" (Sarabande Books)
Katherine Karlin, "Send Me Work: Stories" (Triquarterly)
Miroslav Penkov, "East of the West: A Country in Stories" (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Anna Solomon, "The Little Bride" (Riverhead)
Arlaina Tibensky, "And Then Things Fall Apart" (Simon Pulse)
Each author will be "presented" by an editor or teacher that has served as a mentor. The event will also honor Ann Patchett for her support of writers -- which now includes opening the independent Parnassus Books in Nashville. One Story publishes a single story in each issue, delivering the pocket-sized magazine to your mailbox about once every three weeks. At that rate, the 10-year-old magazine is close to catching up to the senior Paris Review, a quarterly -- One Story is on issue #161.
-- Carolyn Kellogg