Jan Kerouac: A Life In Memory
Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 7:00 P.M., City Lights Bookstore

hosted by editor Gerald Nicosia

with special guest appearances by Adiel Gorel, Brenda Knight, John Cassady, Carl Macki, and Phil Cousineau (tentative)

celebrating the release of

Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory

published by Noodlebrain Press

Edited and conceived of by acclaimed Jack Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia, Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, assembles, for the first time, a collection of memoirs, photos, and an extensive interview with Jan Kerouac, which bring into sharp focus the life and work of this seminal post-Beat writer. It serves as the first mosaic portrait of "the missing element," as she liked to call herself, who "enabled him [Jack Kerouac] to be who he was." She was a daughter who during her life had only three encounters with her father. Nevertheless, she managed to find him in her work, her travels, her loves, and her consciousness since the day she was first taught to spell her unusual last name.

Jan Kerouac died on June 5, 1996, at the age of 44. he left three novels, two published in her lifetime and one postumously. Parrot Fever, the third novel, nearly completed—was a capstone to her trilogy of what it meant to be the daughter of the Beat Generation's most celebrated icon. Her work bore her own stamp and her own voice. Lawrence Ferlinghetti declared that in her writing she was "on her own wide road." Carolyn See wrote that Jan Kerouac "moves in the company of her father—not to rival him in letters, but to bring him back." The Village Voice called her writing "haunting." The Los Angeles Herald Examiner called her "an original voice that deserves to be heard for itself."   

Gerald Nicosia, a friend and collaborator of Jan Kerouac for much of her life, conceived of Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory in an effort to make the facts of her life accessible as well as to revive interest in her own work. The book gathers witty, articulate, and eloquent contributions from such notables as Aram Saroyan, Phil Cousineau, Brenda Knight, Mary Emmerick, and others.

Gerald Nicosia was a close friend and confident of Jan Kerouac and the literary executor of her estate. He has championed the cause of her memory and her work since her passing. He has taught creative writing and journalism at Universities across the country and has been a featured speaker at Beat and Kerouac conferences worldwide. He is poet, fiction writer, playright, and life-long activist. For the past 20 years, Nicosia has worked with Vietnam veterans, studying, documenting, and aiding in their recovery from the war. He is the author of the seminal book on the plight of the veterans titled Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement. Nicosia is currently working on a biography of Ntozake Shange, called Beautiful Colored and Alive: The Life and Works of Ntozake Shange and a book about racism and the death penalty titled Blackness Through The Land.