Book Launch | Tales of Two Americas
NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join for the launch of Tales of Two Americas: Story of Inequalities in a Divided Nation, a new anthology of essays edited by John Freeman. The editor will be in conversation with contributing authors Jess Ruliffson and Rickey Laurentiis, moderated by Sewell Chan.
America is broken. You don’t need a fistful of statistics to know this. Visit any city, and evidence of our shattered social compact will present itself. From Appalachia to the Rust Belt and down to rural Texas, the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest stretches to unimaginable chasms. Whether the cause of this inequality is systemic injustice, the entrenchment of racism in our culture, the long war on drugs, or immigration policies, it endangers not only the American Dream but our very lives. In Tales of Two Americas, some of the literary world’s most exciting writers look beyond numbers and wages to convey what it feels like to live in this divided nation. Their extraordinarily powerful stories, essays, and poems demonstrate how boundaries break down when experiences are shared, and that in sharing our stories we can help to alleviate a suffering that touches so many people.
Jess Ruliffson is an award-winning cartoonist who has traveled across the United States interviewing veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, documenting their injuries in hospital rooms at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, listening to stories at kitchen tables in Georgia, libraries in New York, dive bars in Mississippi, and back porches in Vermont. Her comics have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, The Gainesville Sun, BuzzFeed, The Nib, The Boston Globe, Pantheon Books, WilsonQuarterly, and The Oxford American. She has lectured on comics journalism at the Drawing Center and the Center for Cartoon Studies, and teaches at the Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, FL and the School of Visual Arts in NYC.
Rickey Laurentiis is an award-winning poet. He is the author of Boy with Thorn, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Levis Reading Prize, and a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery award, as well as named one of the top ten debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers Magazine and a top 16 best poetry books by Buzzfeed, among other distinctions. Individual poems have appeared widely, including in the Boston Review, Feminist Studies, The Kenyon Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, New Republic, The New York Times, and Poetry.
Sewell Chan is an American journalist who currently serves as The New York Times international news editor, for which he has worked since 2004. In February 2011, he was named deputy opinion page editor of the Times. He was previously a Washington correspondent covering economic policy. From 2007 to 2009, he was the founding bureau chief of City Room, the newspaper’s local news blog.