This is a virtual only program via City of Asylum @ Home.
In her first visit to City of Asylum, Selby Wynn Schwartz shares her ode to The Poetess. Longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize, Selby’s debut novel, After Sappho, connects a myriad of women inspired by the ghost of Sappho to wrest their freedom and desire from the page. These reimaginings of historical figures—Isadora Duncan, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf—are “ardent and indescribable.” Selby challenges our sense of isolation in earlier eras through these masterful vignettes and purposed use of the collective “we.” She reminds us of the presence and importance of community—among artists, among women, among those who love and are loved.
Far from a nostalgic meditation on bygone eras, After Sappho instead urges readers to transform our understandings of sapphism past and present. Sappho once promised her beloved, someone will remember us / I say / even in another time. Centuries later, Schwartz’s debut makes good on that promise, centering the poet’s iconic work in a dazzling exploration of lesbian desire.
You can purchase your own copy of Selby’s book, After Sappho, at City of Asylum Bookstore.
About The Author:
Selby Wynn Schwartz (she/her) holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and Their Afterlives, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and the forthcoming novella A Life in Chameleons.
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