RADICAL HOPE: LETTERS OF LOVE AND DISSENT IN DANGEROUS TIMES
Thursday May 25: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Donald Trump's election has left many in a state of grief, outrage, and fear of the future. As we enter an unprecedented period in U.S. history, many communities—immigrants, Muslims, people of color, gay and transgender people, and women, to name a few—are bracing themselves for a four-year period of bitterly divisive rhetoric and increased vulnerability. This climate goes against the values of many millions of Americans, from all walks of life.
This collection of letters addresses the tumult and danger of these times, through a range of leading contemporary voices. The thirty-one original letters and essays written for this anthology are woven into a passionate narrative, and divided into three sections: “Roots” explores the histories that bring us to this moment, with many letters addressed to ancestors; “Branches” addresses present-day people or communities—a stranger in the supermarket, Baby Boomers, Millennials, white people, artists, the protestors at Standing Rock—and delves into complex questions of our current era; and, finally, “Seeds” looks to the future by speaking to new generations, to sons and daughters, to godchildren, or to imagined children yet to be born, all of them inheritors of what happens now. The anthology offers readers an antidote to despair: it is a salve, a balm, a compass, a rallying cry, a lyrical manifesto, a power source, a torch to light the way forward. It is both provocative and inspiring, and offers a kaleidoscopic view of the love and courage needed to navigate this time of upheaval, uncertainty, and fear.
Joining Carolina de Robertis, editor of Radical Hope, will be Mona Eltahawy, author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, and Boris Fishman, author of Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo and writer at the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and Book Review, the New Republic, and elsewhere.
A writer of Uruguayan origins, Carolina De Robertis is the author of the novels The Gods of Tango, Perla, and the international bestseller The Invisible Mountain. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages, and have been named Best Books of the Year in venues including the San Francisco Chronicle, O, The Oprah Magazine, BookList, and NBC. She is the recipient of a Stonewall Book Award, Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize, and a 2012 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other honors. She is also an award-winning translator of Latin American literature. She teaches fiction and literary translation at San Francisco State University, and is at work on her fourth novel. (Photo by Nye' Lyn Tho)
Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, Belarus, and immigrated to the United States in 1988 at nine. His journalism, essays, and criticism have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and Book Review, the New Republic, The Nation, The London Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and other publications. Boris received a degree in Russian literature from Princeton University. Afterward, he was on the editorial staff of the New Yorker, and edited Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier (Random House). Boris received his MFA in fiction from New York University, and has received residencies and fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, among others. His first novel, A Replacement Life (HarperCollins), was a front-cover review in the New York Times Book Review. It was also one of The New York Times‘ 100 Notable Books of 2014; the winner of the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal; a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick; a best-of-2014 selection by The San Francisco Chronicle, Shakespeare & Co., and others; a BuzzFeed 20-Under-40 Debut Writers selection; and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, the Sami Rohr Prize, and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. It received raves from the New Yorker, NPR, NBC, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Publishers Weekly (starred review), MSN, Vogue, and others. His second novel, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo, about a New Jersey couple that adopts a boy from Montana who turns out to be wild, has received raves from O, the Oprah Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, NPR, and others, and has just been selected as one of the New York Times‘ 100 Notable Books of 2016. Boris teaches in Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and is at work on his next book, a work of creative nonfiction about food. (Photo by Stephanie Kaltsas)
Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism. She is based in Cairo and New York City. She is the author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, released April 2015, and is a contributor to the New York Times opinion pages. Her commentaries have appeared in several other publications and she is a regular guest analyst on various television and radio shows. During the 18-day revolution that toppled Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, she appeared on most major media outlets, leading the feminist website Jezebel to describe her as "The Woman Explaining Egypt to the West". In November 2011, Egyptian riot police beat her, breaking her left arm and right hand, and sexually assaulted her and she was detained for 12 hours by the Interior Ministry and Military Intelligence. Newsweek magazine named Ms Eltahawy one of its "150 Fearless Women of 2012", Time magazine featured her along with other activists from around the world as its People of the Year and Arabian Business magazine named her one of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women. Before she moved to the U.S. in 2000, Ms Eltahawy was a news reporter in the Middle East for many years, including almost six years as a Reuters correspondent and she reported for various media from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia and China. In 2012, the Missouri School of Journalism awarded her its Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism and the Columbia Journalism Review named her as one of 20 women in the media to watch. In 2010 the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded her its Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism and the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver gave her its Anvil of Freedom Award. In 2009, the European Union awarded her its Samir Kassir Prize for Freedom of the Press for her opinion writing and Search for Common Ground named her a winner of its Eliav-Sartawi Award for Middle Eastern Journalism. Mona was born on Aug. 1, 1967 in Port Said, Egypt and has lived in the U.K, Saudi Arabia and Israel. She calls herself a proud liberal Muslim. In 2005, she was named a Muslim Leader of Tomorrow by the American Society for Muslim Advancement and she is a member of the Communications Advisory Group for Musawah, the global movement for justice and equality in the Muslim family.