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Former Squatter Remembers the ’90s Squat Scene in New Book

(Photo: Akashic Books)

(Photo: Akashic Books)

Stacy Wakefield’s new book The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory, being published by Akashic in May, weaves together her experiences as a squatter in New York City back in the late ’90s. Though it’s a fictional account and the main character Sid, who makes her home in squats in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side, is based on a number of people, the book still offers a window into the waning years of what was once a vibrant squat scene.

We spoke with Wakefield, 43, about the book and what the squatting life was like before it all but disappeared.

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Fiction Forum: Elizabeth Gaffney and René Steinke

Gaffney is the author of When the World Was Young and Metropolis, while Steinke has penned Friendswood, The Fires, and Holy Skirts. The latter’s articles have appeared in the likes of The New York Times, Vogue, O: the Oprah Magazine, and Bookforum, while the former is currently editor at large of literary rag A Public Space. Join the authors for a forum moderated by School of Writing director Luis Jaramillo.

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Talks and Readings: Sex, Shift Scheduling, and Student Debt

This week: everything you generally avoid talking about gets talked about.


Monday, Sept. 15
Hot, Wet and Shaking: Talking About Sex with Kaleigh Trace
Kaleigh Trace is a disabled, queer, feminist sex educator with a mission: to promote “safe, shame-free and consensual sex people of all abilities, ethnicities, races, orientations, and gender identities.” Among other things, she co-wrote and appeared in the above music video in response to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Keep Reading »

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That’s When the Knives Come Down with Dolan Morgan

Greenpointer Dolan Morgan will read on home turf for the Brooklyn launch of his debut collection That’s When the Knives Come Down. A surrealist glance at cities, relationships and lives gone awry, the stories are billed as simultaneously “absurd, harrowing, and inimitable.” According to Catherine Lacey, “Dolan Morgan queers the every day and leaves a sinister domestic scene behind.” He’ll be joined in discussion by B.C. Edwards (The Aversive Clause) and Chelsea Hodson (Pity the Animal).

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Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night with Barbara J. Taylor & Kaylie Jones

Barbara J. Taylor’s debut novel Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night draws the reader into Scranton, Pennsylvania, which aside from being the setting ofThe Office is America’s least happy region and the author’s hometown. Sing in the Morning is set in the early 20th Century, two months after a Fourth of July tragedy left little Daisy Morgan dead in a freak firework accident. Daisy’s parents are devastated, their marriage in tatters, while younger daughter Violet is weighed down by guilt; members of the small community believe that she is to blame for her sister’s untimely demise. Emotionally wrecked, Violet starts cutting school with older boy Stanley Adamski, whose own life was altered by a mining accident. Based on a true story, the haunting novel culminates in a blizzard and a birth. Taylor will read extracts, and participate in a discussion with publisher and novelist Kaylie Jones.

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Readings and Talks: Brooklyn Girls and Renaissance Men

Time again for Word Up, our weekly roundup of readings and talks worth getting up and out of the house for.

Thursday, July 10

friendship copyEmily Gould and Elif Batuman
Gawker blogger turned memoirist Emily Gould’s new novel, Friendship, is about (you guessed it) a young Brooklyn blogger whose boyfriend happens to keep a studio in Greenpoint’s Pencil Factory.​ “Amy loved visiting Sam there, seeing all the other artists in the hallways and on the roof,” Gould writes. “It was so cheering to know that there were still people who made their living by creating physical things—even if some of them were commercial illustrators and graphic designers. Well, Sam wasn’t, anyway! He was just a guy who made giant oil paintings of Cuisinarts.” She’ll be discussing fiction and friendship with Elif Batuman, who has written for the likes of The New Yorker and n+1, and is the author of The Possessed.
7pm, McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince St). FREE.
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Storytelling and the Line Between Fact and Fiction

Both R. Clifton Spargo and Anne Ream are Chicago-based writers with recently published non-fiction books;Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitgerald and Lived Through This: Listening to the Stories of Sexual Violence Survivorsrespectively. Join the writers in a discussion about these books, and the fraught connection between fact and fiction.