Author Reading: My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland

Please join us for a reading, audience Q&A, and book signing for My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland. 

Register for this free event HERE. Registration is encouraged but not required.

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers is an audacious new form of nonfiction that remakes the boundaries between criticism, biography, and autobiography in search of two identities.

While working as an intern in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Jenn Shapland encounters the love letters of Carson and a woman named Annemarie—letters that are tender, intimate, and unabashed in their feelings. Shapland recognizes herself in the letters’ language—but does not see Carson as history has portrayed her.

And so, Shapland is compelled to undertake a recovery of the full narrative and language of Carson's life: She wades through the therapy transcripts; she stays at Carson’s childhood home, where she lounges in her bathtub and eats delivery pizza; she relives Carson’s days at her beloved Yaddo. As Shapland reckons with the expanding and collapsing distance between her and Carson, she sees the way Carson’s story has become a way to articulate something about herself. The results articulate something entirely new not only about this one remarkable, walleyed life, but about the way we tell queer love stories.

In genre-defying vignettes, Jenn Shapland interweaves her own story with Carson McCullers’s to create a vital new portrait of one of America’s most beloved writers, and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are.  

Jenn Shapland's work won a 2017 Pushcart Prize and fellowships/residencies at Ucross, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Yaddo, the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, and Vermont Studio Center. Her essays have been published in Tin HouseTHE Magazine, Pastelegram, The Lifted Brow, Electric Literature, NANOfiction, and The Millions. She teaches in the Creative Writing department at the Institute of American Indian Arts and has a PhD in English from UT Austin. She designs and makes clothing for Agnes. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Accessibility: Our store is wheelchair accessible, however--there is a narrow hallway and sharp 90-degree turn on the way to our bathrooms. Seating is first-come, first-served, but we are happy to reserve seats for people with disabilities. We have LED lighting that can be adjusted with dimmers. Please call the store at 773-769-9299 the day of the event if you need a reserved seat or have additional questions.

Event date: 
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Women & Children First
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781947793286
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Tin House Books - February 4th, 2020