2020 San Antonio Book Festival
Bless Your Little Gothic Heart: Megan LeBrees, Editor of Kirkus Reviews
Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You
Edward Carey, The Swallowed Man
Gothic literature didn’t thrive just in Victorian England—it’s alive and well now, ushering in overcast shadows and a mordant, sardonic take on the world’s miseries. We’ve asked Edward Carey and Amber Sparks to color it dark for us during this session. Carey is the acclaimed author of Little whose new novel, The Swallowed Man, imagines the years Geppetto, Pinocchio’s creator, spends within the belly of a sea beast. Amber Sparks’ latest story collection, And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges, is populated with such heroes as time-traveling queens and video-game designing goddesses, and such specters as clingy ghosts and mediocre men.
Moderator Megan Labrise is the editor at large at Kirkus Reviews and the host of their podcast, Fully Booked. Please support our writers, the Festival, and Nowhere Bookshop by purchasing our writers’ books using the Buy the Books button.
Edward Carey: Two years prote spents in belly of monstrous sea creature. Was in children’s hospital in Florence at the time, where Pinocchio lived most of his life. Pinocchio often asked what it meant ot b ehuman. I ask am I still human to have been stuck inside the belly of a fish?
Favorite gothic: Auntie Toothache by Hans Christian Andersen
Amber: The Eyes of St. Lucie. I have obsession with collecting small objects. Been interested with idea of escape into miniature world.
Edward: I love the idea of inverse fairy tales. I teach fairy tales, and I’ve been doing it for years. Why do you go back to those? What is it about them? Old texts are very dark. They’re the opposite of what Disney has made of them. As if you’ve cut off the form of human head and died inside neck hole, now you’re swimming about the insides. Gets back, crawls away from all the rest of the boring stuff. Let’s deal with monsters, death, the issues of surviving, really real issues. My experience as a writer was sort of given a rebirth-I got really lost as a writer writing a novel that took me fifteen years to write. I didn’t care about people who really existed, it’s the fake ones I like. I got so lost in it. How do I reset myself ? I asked why I was writing, anyway. What do I think I carea bout? I went back to books that meant more than anything to me as a kid. I love that rumpelstiltskin can get so angry that he can tear himself in two. I love thtat there are real monsters around and they can reflect on our real world existence. Let’s have blood everywhere. Exaggeration is essential. If there’s something under the bed, let it come out.
Amber, would you say a gothic novel is a fairy tale for an adult? I think they’re for adults. The non-sanitized versions certainly are. I do think they have a lot of similarities. A lot of times, gothic novel goes into the happy ever after. What you really find out about mr. Rochester and the reveal there.
SABF & the Portland Book Festival Present Jeff VanderMeer in Convo with Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed speculative novels Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Signal to Noise, Certain Dark Things, and The Beautiful Ones; the forthcoming noir Velvet Was the Night; and the crime novel Untamed Shore. She has edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (aka Cthulhu’s Daughters). She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jeff VanderMeer is the author of Dead Astronauts, Borne, and The Southern Reach Trilogy, the first volume of which, Annihilation, won the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award and was adapted into a movie by Alex Garland. He speaks and writes frequently about issues relating to climate change as well as urban rewilding. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, on the edge of a ravine, with his wife, Ann VanderMeer, and their cat, Neo.
Notes from the Bathroom Line
Catherine Cohen, a native of Houston, is a comedy sensation who has a residency at Joe’s Pub and hosts a weekly show at Club Cumming in NYC; she also cohosts the popular podcast about dating, boys, and sex, Seek Treatment. She has been featured in The New York Times, Vogue, and The Village Voice, and was named Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019. Her many film and TV credits include a role in Michael Showalter’s The Lovebirds and Season 3 of High Maintenance on HBO. She’s also the author of God I Feel Modern Tonight: poems from a gal about town. Follow her while you’re young @catccohen on Instagram.
Amy Solomon is a film and TV producer, most recently on HBO’s Barry and Silicon Valley. She runs Alec Berg’s production company where she develops movies and TV that you’ll hopefully see someday. She’s originally from Chicago but now lives in Los Angeles with her dogs, Nan and Goose, who are perfect. She is the editor of Notes from the Bathroom Line: Humor, Art, and Low-Grade Panic from 150 of the Funniest Women in Comedy. She’s a graduate of Princeton University. She loves baseball and her friends’ kids.
Tien Tran is an LA-based comedian, actor, and writer. Her stand-up has been featured at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal as part of the 2019 New Faces of Comedy showcase. She’s written for Showtime’s Work in Progress and is a co-host of Crooked Media’s Hysteria podcast.
Rachel Wenitsky is an actor and writer in LA. She was a sketch writer on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and has also written for Saturday Night Live, Reductress and is the head writer of The Story Pirates Podcast. She’s one half of the comedy folk duo Friends Who Folk and has been on been on *television* which is pretty cool if you think about it.
From Isabel Allende, the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea comes The Soul of a Woman, a passionate and inspiring meditation on what it means to be a woman. Signed copies of The Soul of a Woman are available while quantities last!
“When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating,” Allende writes. As a child, she watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children without “resources or voice.” Isabel became a fierce and defiant little girl, determined to fight for the life her mother couldn’t have. As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the second wave of feminism. Among a tribe of like-minded female journalists, Allende for the first time felt comfortable in her own skin, as she and her female colleagues wrote “with a knife between our teeth” about women’s issues. But what feeds the soul of feminists—and all women—today? To be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to have their own resources, to be connected, to have control over our bodies and lives, and above all, to be loved. On all these fronts, there is much work yet to be done, and this book, Allende hopes, will “light the torches of our daughters and granddaughters with mine.”
Journey into the Hinterland, a brutal and beautiful world where a young woman spends a night with Death, brides are wed to a mysterious house in the trees, and an enchantress is killed twice, and still lives. Melissa Albert is the New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood and The Night Country. She was the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and has written for publications including McSweeney’s, Time Out Chicago, and MTV. Melissa lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Please support our writers, the Festival, and Nowhere Bookshop by purchasing our writers’ books using the Buy the Books button.
Moderator Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including the Alex & Eliza trilogy, Disney’s Descendants novels, the Blue Bloods series, and the Summer on East End series. Her books have sold over eight million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network. Visit her at melissa-delacruz.com.
Three writers with new books: covering fiction, nonfiction, poetry-wrestle with ways of depicting and resolving questions about Latinx masculinity. In Pedro’s Theory, Marcos Gonsalez explores the lives of many Pedros, real and imagined Several are the author, while others are strangers, lovers, archetypes, and the people Gonsalez might have been in other circumstances. all are journeying to some sort of promised land, or hoping to discover an America of their own. Benjamin Garcia makes a stunning debut with his poetry collection, Thrown in the Throat. In a sex-positive incantation that retextures what it is to write a queer life amidst troubled times, Garcia writes boldly of citizenship, family, and Adam Rippon’s butt. And Rudy Ruiz’s The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez is a novel of magical realism that weaves together the past and present as Fulgencio strives to succeed in America, break a mystical family curse of masculine rage, and win back a woman’s love after a doomed youthful romance.
Moderator Lilly Gonzalez is the executive director of the San Antonio Book Festival.