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World Literature with Anderson Tepper: Alvaro Enrigue on Re-Imagined Empires

January 17 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST

From the visionary author of Sudden Death, a hallucinatory, revelatory, colonial revenge story.

“Perhaps no one has offered a more wide-eyed, kaleidoscopic perspective on Mexican (and American) reality in recent literature than Álvaro Enrigue. Álvaro’s 2016 novel Sudden Death was described by Marlon James as “brainspinning” and as “brilliantly original” by Salman Rushdie. His new novel, You Dreamed of Empires, promises nothing less than another mind-bending journey down the rabbit hole of empire and re-imagined history. It will be a pleasure to welcome Álvaro to Alphabet City with the novel’s translator Natasha Wimmer (who has also translated Roberto Bolaño, Nona Fernández, and Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, among others) joining virtually from Brooklyn!” —Anderson Tepper

One morning in 1519, conquistador Hernán Cortés entered the city of Tenochtitlan – today’s Mexico City. Later that day, he would meet the emperor Moctezuma in a collision of two worlds, two empires, two languages, two possible futures. Soon, one of Cortés’s captains, Jazmín Caldera, overwhelmed by the grandeur of the city, begins to question the ease with which they were welcomed inside, and wonders at the risks of getting out alive, much less conquering the empire. You Dreamed of Empires brings to life Tenochtitlan at its height, and reimagines its destiny. The incomparably original Alvaro Enrigue sets afire the moment of conquest and turns it into a moment of revolution, a restitutive, fantastical counter-attack, in a novel so electric and so unique that it feels like a dream.

This reading will be followed by an audience Q&A and a moderated conversation with Anderson Tepper and Natasha Wimmer, who will be joining virtually. You can purchase your own copy of Álvaro’s book, You Dreamed of Empires, at City of Asylum Bookstore.

About the Author:

Álvaro Enrigue is a Mexican writer who was a Cullman Center Fellow and a Fellow at the Princeton University Program in Latin American Studies. He has taught at New York University, Princeton University, the University of Maryland, and Columbia University. His work has appeared in The New York Times, n+1, London Review of Books, and El País, among others. His books include Sudden Death, and have been awarded the Herralde Prize, the Barcelona Prize, and the Poniatowska Prize. He lives in New York with his family and teaches Latin American Literature at Hofstra University.

Natasha Wimmer (translator) is the translator of nine books by Roberto Bolaño, including The Savage Detectives and 2666. Her most recent translations are Voyager, by Nona Fernández, and You Dreamed of Empires, by Álvaro Enrigue. Her reviews have appeared in The New York Review of Books and The New York Times. She is a visiting lecturer at Princeton University and Columbia University, and she lives in Brooklyn, NY.


About the Moderator:

Anderson Tepper is City of Asylum’s Curator of World Literature. He is a longstanding member of the international committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival and is a guest curator of the 2024 PEN AMERICA World Voices Festival. Formerly of Vanity Fair, he writes on books and authors for a variety of publications, including The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times, and World Literature Today. Anderson also serves on the City of Asylum Advisory Board.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is open for dinner from 5-9pm. Please visit Open Table or call 412-435-1111 to make a reservation.

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January 17
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST
Program Category:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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