In-person Event: Ling Ma & Nick Drnaso in conversation with Anya Davidson

Join us for an in-person joint book launch celebrating the new releases from Ling Ma (Bliss Montage) & Nick Drnaso (Acting Class)! The two authors will be interviewed by Anya Davidson.

Please note: Pre-registration for this event is required. By pre-registering, you are verifying that you are fully vaccinated and will wear a mask throughout the entirety of the event.


What happens when fantasy tears the screen of the everyday to wake us up? Could that waking be our end?

In Bliss Montage, Ling Ma brings us eight wildly different tales of people making their way through the madness and reality of our collective delusions: love and loneliness, connection and possession, friendship, motherhood, the idea of home. A woman lives in a house with all her ex-boyfriends. A toxic friendship grows up around a drug that makes you invisible. An ancient ritual might heal you of anything—if you bury yourself alive.

From the acclaimed author of Sabrina, Nick Drnaso’s Acting Class creates a tapestry of disconnect, distrust, and manipulation. Ten strangers are brought together under the tutelage of John Smith, a mysterious and morally questionable leader. The group of social misfits and restless searchers have one thing in common: they are out of step with their surroundings and desperate for change.

A husband and wife, four years into their marriage and simmering in boredom. A single mother, her young son showing disturbing signs of mental instability. A peculiar woman with few if any friends and only her menial job keeping her grounded. A figure model, comfortable in his body and ready for a creative challenge. A worried grandmother and her adult granddaughter; a hulking laborer and gym nut; a physical therapist; an ex-con.

With thrumming unease, the class sinks deeper into their lessons as the process demands increasing devotion. When the line between real life and imagination begins to blur, the group’s deepest fears and desires are laid bare. Exploring the tension between who we are and how we present, Drnaso cracks open his characters’ masks and takes us through an unsettling American journey.

Ling Ma is a writer hailing from Fujian, Utah, and Kansas. She is the author of the novel Severance, which received the Kirkus Prize, the Whiting Award, and the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award. She lives in Chicago with her family.

Nick Drnaso was born in 1989 in Palos Hills, Illinois. His debut, Beverly, received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Graphic Novel. His followup, the graphic novel Sabrina, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and received nominations for the Booker Prize, the Eisner Award, the LD and LaVerne Harrell Clark Fiction Prize, the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. Sabrina has been published in fifteen countries. Drnaso lives in Chicago with his wife and their two cats.

Anya Davidson is a cartoonist, musician and comics professor living in Chicago. She's the author of three graphic novels, including Band For Life, published in 2016 by Fantagraphics books. 

Image Description: An orange colored banner with a faint pattern of open books. The banner features two small cover images for BLISS MONTAGE and ACTING CLASS centered between two images of the authors: a photograph of Ling Ma and an illustrated silhouette of Nick Drnaso The text reads: "Women & Children First presents an in-person launch for Ling Ma and Nick Drnaso, Wednesday, October 26 at 7 p.m. CT. Masks and proof of vaccination required."

Accessibility: Email with questions or to request accommodations.

Event date: 
Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St.
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
Bliss Montage: Stories By Ling Ma Cover Image
By Ling Ma
ISBN: 9780374293512
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 13th, 2022

Acting Class By Nick Drnaso Cover Image
ISBN: 9781770464926
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Drawn and Quarterly - August 16th, 2022