Sara Majka and Naomi Williams in conversation with Yiyun Li
Thursday, February 25, 2016, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers. 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

Sara Majka and Naomi Williams in conversation with Yiyun Li

This event is co-sponsored by Graywolf Press and A Public Space

celebrating the release of

Cities I've Never Lived In

By Sara Majka

from Graywolf Press in conjunction with A Public Space


Landfalls: A Novel

by Naomi Williams

from Farrar, Straus and Giroux


about Cities I've Never Lived In:

Fearlessly riding the line between imagination and experience, fact and fiction, the linked stories in Sara Majka's debut collection offer intimate glimpses of a young New England woman whose life must begin afresh after a divorce. Traveling the roads of Maine and the train tracks of Grand Central Station, moving from vast shorelines to the unmade beds of strangers, these fourteen stories circle the dreams of a narrator who finds herself turning to storytelling as a means of working through the world and of understanding herself. A book that upends our   ideas of love and belonging, and which asks how much of ourselves we leave behind with each departure we make, Cities I've Never Lived In exposes, with great sadness and great humor, the ways in which we are most of all citizens of the places where we cannot stay.


about Landfalls:

Landfalls is a gripping story of a dramatic eighteenth-century voyage of discovery. In her wildly inventive debut novel, Naomi J. Williams reimagines the historical Lapérouse expedition, a voyage of exploration that left Brest in 1785 with two frigates, more than two hundred men, and overblown Enlightenment ideals and expectations, in a brave attempt to circumnavigate the globe for science and the glory of France.

Deeply grounded in historical fact but refracted through a powerful imagination, Landfalls follows the exploits and heartbreaks not only of the men on the ships but also of the people affected by the voyage-indigenous people and other Europeans the explorers encountered, loved ones left waiting at home, and those who survived and remembered the expedition later. Each chapter is told from a different point of view and is set in a different part of the world, ranging from London to Tenerife, from Alaska to remote South Pacific islands to Siberia, and eventually back to France. The result is a beautifully written and absorbing tale of the high seas, scientific exploration, human tragedy, and the world on the cusp of the modern era

By turns elegiac, profound, and comic, Landfalls reinvents the maritime adventure novel for the twenty-first century.


About Sara Majka:

When she was young, SARA MAJKA's family moved along the New England shoreline with the Coast Guard, living in Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Cuttyhunk, northern Maine, and even for a time in a lighthouse. She went on to get graduate degrees in writing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Bennington College and was awarded a fiction fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in A Public Space, PEN America, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Guernica. After years of moving and traveling, she now lives in Queens, New York with her young son. Cities I've Never Lived In is her first book.

About Naomi Williams:

Naomi J. Williams was born in Japan and spoke no English until she was six years old. Her debut novel, Landfalls, a fictionalized account of the 18th-century Lapérouse expedition, came out with Farrar, Straus & Giroux in August of 2015. Naomi's short fiction has appeared in journals such as A Public Space, One Story, The Southern Review, and The Gettysburg Review. In 2009, she received a Pushcart Prize and a Best American Honorable Mention. Naomi has an MA in Creative Writing from UC Davis. Naomi lives with her family in Davis, California, where she’s started work on her second book, a novel about the early 20th-century Japanese poet Yosano Akiko.

About Yiyun Li:

Yiyun Li's debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and California Book Award for first fiction. Her novel, The Vagrants, won the gold medal of California Book Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for Dublin IMPAC Award. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, her second collection, was a finalist of Story Prize and shortlisted for Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Kinder Than Solitude, her latest novel, was published to critical acclaim. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She has received numerous awards, including Whiting Award, Lannan Foundation Residency fellow, 2010 MacArthur Foundation fellow, and 2014 Benjamin H. Danks Award from American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40. She is a contributing editor to the Brooklyn-based literary magazine, A Public Space.