Offsite: BLACKOUTS by Justin Torres

Join us at the Harold Washington Library for a free, public event celebrating the release of Blackouts by Justin Torres. For this event, Torres will be in conversation with Melissa Febos. We are proud to partner with Chicago Public Library on this event.  

Women & Children First will be on-site selling books throughout the event. A book-signing will follow the author readings and conversation. 

W&CF strongly encourages all attendees to wear masks and be fully vaccinated.

Can't make it in-person? Join us via the HWLC YouTube Channel, where the event will be livestreamed:

From the bestselling author of We the AnimalsBlackouts mines lost histories—personal and collective.

Out in the desert in a place called the Palace, a young man tends to a dying soul, someone he once knew briefly, but who has haunted the edges of his life. Juan Gay—playful raconteur, child lost and found and lost, guardian of the institutionalized—has a project to pass along to this new narrator. It is inspired by a true artifact of a book, Sex Variants: A Study in Homosexual Patterns, which contains stories collected in the early twentieth century from queer subjects by a queer researcher, Jan Gay, whose groundbreaking work was then co-opted by a committee, her name buried. As Juan waits for his end, he and the narrator trade stories—moments of joy and oblivion—and resurrect lost loves, lives, mothers, fathers, minor heroes. The past is with us, beside us, ahead of us; what are we to create from its gaps and erasures?

Inspired by Kiss of the Spider Woman, Pedro PáramoVoodoo Macbeth, the book at its own center and the woman who created it, oral histories, and many more texts, images, and influences, Justin Torres's Blackouts is a work of fiction that sees through the inventions of history and narrative. An extraordinary work of creative imagination, it insists that we look long and steady at the world we have inherited and the world we have made—a world full of ghostly shadows and flashing moments of truth.

Justin Torres is the author of We the Animals, which won the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, was translated into fifteen languages, and was adapted into a feature film. He was named a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35,” a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library. His short fiction has appeared in The New YorkerHarper’sGrantaTin House, and The Washington Post. He lives in Los Angeles, and teaches at UCLA.

Melissa Febos is the bestselling author of four books, most recently, Girlhood, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, LAMBDA Literary, The Black Mountain Institute, The British Library, the Bogliasco Foundation, and others. She is a full professor at the University of Iowa.

Accessibility: Need sign language interpretation or other accessibility assistance for this event? Please call (312) 747-8184 or email to request accommodations. Requests must be made at least 14 business days before the event. This event will also be livestreamed via Harold Washington Public Library. Masks are strongly encouraged. 

Event date: 
Thursday, October 12, 2023 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Harold Washington Library
400 S State Street
Chicago, IL 60605
Blackouts: A Novel By Justin Torres Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374293574
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 10th, 2023