Leslie Jamison in conversation with Casey Jarman (of The Believer)
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Bookstore. 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

City Lights in conjunction with Graywolf Press and The Believer present Leslie Jamison in conversation with Casey Jarman (of The Believer) with an opening statement from Ethan Nosowsky (of Graywolf Press)

celebrating the release of The Empathy Exams from Graywolf Press

Leslie Jamison's curiosity is insatiable. From her days spent as a medical actor, to her fascination with a group of people who suffer from a phantom disease, to her exploration of the trouble of the West Memphis Three, Jamison is in possession of an inquisitive and restless mind, one that questions and demands more. At the root of these brilliant new essays is pain: how we react to our own and to that of others, and what we choose to do with that pain. But this is not an academic treatise—at its heart, this is a book of personal reflection, an honest and thoughtful examination of one woman's experiences in relation to a question as nebulous as it is vital: How should a person be? With the keen eye of a journalist and the heart of a poet, Leslie Jamison has crafted eleven luminous and piercing essays that get at the very core of what it means to be human. The Empathy Exams is the winner of the Graywolf Prize for Non-fiction.

Leslie Jamison is the author of a novel, The Gin Closet, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The Believer, Harper's Magazine, Oxford American, A Public Space, and Tin House. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is completing a doctorate at Yale University. Find her at www.lesliejamison.com

What has been siad about her work:

"Leslie Jamison threads her fine mind through the needle of emotion, sewing our desire for feeling to our fear of feeling. Her essays pierce both pain and sweetness."—Eula Biss

"Leslie Jamison has written a profound exploration into how empathy deepens us, yet how we unwittingly sabotage our own capacities for it. We care because we are porous, she says. Pain is at once actual and constructed, feelings are made based on how you speak them. This riveting book will make you a better writer, a better human."—Mary Karr

"The Empathy Exams is a necessary book, a brilliant antidote to the noise of our time. Intellectually rigorous, it's also plainly personal, honest and intimate, clear-eyed about its confusions. It's about the self as something other than a bundle of symptoms, it's about female pain and the suffering of solitary souls everywhere, it’s an exploration of empathy and the poverty of our imaginations, it’s ultimately about the limits of language and the liberating possibilities of a whole new narrative. . . .The Empathy Exams earns its place on the shelf alongside Sontag." —Charles D’Ambrosio

"These essays—risky, brilliant, and full of heart—ricochet between what it is to be alive and to be a creature wondering what it is to be alive. Jamison’s words, torqued to a perfect balance, shine brightly, allowing both fury and wonder to open inside us."—Nick Flynn

Books related to this event:

Product image
The Empathy Exams
Leslie Jamison
2014 Edition
If you've got a glowing, tender heart and wonder how it's possible to feel so much, this is the book for you. Hypochondriacs are advised to skip essay #2.—Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books