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In-Person: STILL ALIVE by LJ Pemberton

We are excited to welcome LJ Pemberton to the bookstore to celebrate the release of Still Alive. For this event, LJ will be joined in conversation by Zachary Kocanda. 

Please note: This event is free to attend, by registration is required. By registering, you verify that you will wear a mask throughout the duration of the event, per W&CF's Covid-19 policies. 


A hero's journey through a dying empire. On the Road for a beaten generation. After V meets Lex, a butch painter, at an underground punk show, they enter a multi-year relationship that ranges from Portland, Oregon, to New York City, and finally Los Angeles, with V's family of origin ever interjecting with dysfunction and neediness. Her brother has retreated into a hodgepodge of Eastern religiosity and their mother's addictions are worsening. Meanwhile her father is busy building a new family, as sunny as V's childhood was grim. Leroy, V's gay best friend, has chosen rural peace, but V can't find the same satisfaction - anywhere. Ever in search of love, meaning, and temp work, V hurtles across the US, resisting the store-bought narratives of mainstream life to create a freedom all her own.

With heady pacing, a recursive structure, and sharp prose, STILL ALIVE renders the much-maligned adult millennial experience with affection and profundity. In this story, as in life, there's no cure for living.

"This is what it's like when, sometime between getting out of bed and returning to it, you encounter a work of art. This is what it's like when someone else's truth reads like your own. This is what it's like to feel less alone."  -Guillermo Stitch, author of Lake of Urine

"This is a book for wanderers and searchers, a love story with all of the attendant cliches wadded into a ball and tossed overboard. LJ Pemberton has written a quarter-life raft for the dissatisfied and unmoored. Still Alive is punch-drunk and furious, listless and wondrous, brilliantly funny and sexy as hell. I devoured it." -Hilary Leichter, author of Temporary and Terrace Story

LJ Pemberton is the author of Still Alive, a novel (Malarkey Books). Her essays, poetry, and award- winning stories have been featured in The Baffler, Exacting Clam, Los Angeles Review, the Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. She was previously an assistant editor at NOON and she currently reviews fiction for Publishers Weekly.

Zachary Kocanda is the author of the chapbook Self Defense for Gentle People (Bottlecap Press, 2022). His fiction has appeared in JoylandOyez Review, and Another Chicago Magazine, among others. He lives in Chicago, where he currently hosts the monthly Test Literary Series at The Whistler in Logan Square.

Accessibility: This event is hosted at the bookstore, which is a wheelchair accessible space. Masks are required. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. To request ASL interpretation for this event, please email by no later than 14 days before the event. For other questions or access needs, please email

Event date: 
Thursday, June 27, 2024 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event address: 
5233 N Clark Street
Still Alive By Lj Pemberton Cover Image
ISBN: 9798987465448
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Malarkey Books - February 8th, 2024