Books in the Barn: Jonathan Escoffery
The Anderson Center is honored to welcome author Jonathan Escoffery to the Tower View Barn on Friday, October 27, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. for a public reading & discussion as part of the Books in the Barn series. General Admission tickets are $15 for the public and $10 for Anderson Center members and youth under 18.
A 2014 Anderson Center Artist-in-Residence, Jonathan Escoffery is the author of the linked story collection, If I Survive You (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a New York Times and Booklist Editor’s Choice, an IndieNext Pick, and an International Bestseller. The book follows Jamaican immigrant Trelawny and his family as they make their way in Miami, in linked stories that leap between perspectives and tone. If I Survive You has been shortlisted for the 2023 Book Prize and was also named a ‘best’ book of 2022 by Entertainment Weekly, People, TIME, Oprah Daily, NPR, Literary Hub, The New Yorker, L.A. Times, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere.
His next book is the forthcoming novel, Play Stone Kill Bird. Jonathan is the winner of The Paris Review’s 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction and is the recipient of a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts (Prose) Literature Fellowship and the 2020 ASME Award for Fiction from the American Society of Magazine Editors.
Jonathan has taught creative writing at Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, the Center for Fiction, Tin House, and at GrubStreet in Boston, where, as former staff, he founded the Boston Writers of Color Group, which currently has more than 2,000 members. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Creative Writing MFA Program (Fiction) and attends the University of Southern California’s Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program as a Provost Fellow. He is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
Praise for If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery:
“[Escoffery is] a gifted, sure-footed storyteller, with a command of evocative language and perfectly chosen details…. Perhaps most important, he wields a disarming, irreverent sense of humor, as when Trelawny’s brother tells him he’s ‘been acting like a bum.’ ‘I took no offense,’ Escoffery writes, ‘but clarified, I identify as dispossessed.’ It could be this writer’s credo, and it’s the kind of line that makes me eager to read him for a long time to come.” —Andrew Martin, The New York Times
“It’s rare for a story collection to break out of the gate with as much buzz as Escoffery’s debut, but his linked tales justify the unusual attention… the author exposes uncomfortable social truths with fine details, wit and dazzling verbal versatility.” —Bethanne Patrick, L.A. Times
“Not since Moby Dick has the all-American ethos of “sink or swim” on your own been dramatized to such devastating effect…If I Survive You is an extraordinary debut collection, an intensively granular, yet panoramic depiction of what it’s like to try to make it — or not — in this kaleidoscopic madhouse of a country.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR
Books in the Barn is a two-part reading series, sponsored by the Xcel Energy Foundation, that offers a wide-ranging look at the work of contemporary writers. Books will be available for purchase and signing following each reading, courtesy of Fair Trade Books. Featured authors are also participating in outreach events in the Red Wing community, providing further opportunities to share their work with a broader audience.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Header photo by Cola Greenhill Casados