Schulman at a pro-choice protest in the 1980s. Photo: Joan E. Biren
In this evening of readings and conversation, novelist, nonfiction writer and activist Sarah Schulman is joined by artist and writer Matias Viegener to discuss Schulman’s three decades of work and their shared friendship and engagements with Kathy Acker.
Since the mid-1980s, Sarah Schulman’s novels and nonfiction writings have spanned different genres and subjects, while often returning to questions of human vulnerability, and the behaviours that stem from underlying traumas within individuals and communities. From her 1988 novel After Delores to 2012’s seminal treatise The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, Schulman has chronicled the ways in which the late-20th-century gentrification of urban spaces was paralleled by the homogenisation of mental spaces and ways of viewing the complexity of the world.
In The Gentrification of the Mind, Schulman writes: ‘When you look in the mirror and see a smart, angry girl who wants to be free, you’re seeing a paradigm Kathy helped bring into the realm of the recognisable.’ Both Schulman and Viegener had close friendships with Acker during her lifetime and have continued to articulate the importance of her work and the ongoing efficacy of her antagonistic position towards social conformity.
For this event, Schulman will read from her two most recent works of fiction: The Cosmopolitans and Maggie Terry, which build around themes of friendship, blame, police violence and queer identity.