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As part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati Series, we welcome author Stephen Markley in support of his bestselling debut, Ohio, which NPR called "a wild, angry and devastating masterpiece of a book." After his reading Stephen will be joined in conversation with Brad Felver. This event is free and open to the public.
About the book: Since the turn of the century, a generation has come of age knowing only war, recession, political gridlock, racial hostility, and a simmering fear of environmental calamity. In the country's forgotten pockets, where foreclosures, Walmarts, and opiates riddle the land, death rates for rural whites have skyrocketed. This is the world the characters in Stephen Markley's brilliant debut novel, Ohio, inherit. This is New Canaan.
On one pivotal summer night in 2013, four former classmates converge on the rust belt town where they grew up, each of them with a mission. There's Bill Ashcraft, an alcoholic, drug-abusing activist, whose fruitless ambitions have taken him from Cambodia to Zuccotti Park and now back to "The Cane" with a mysterious package strapped to the underside of his truck; Stacey Moore, a doctoral candidate reluctantly confronting her former lover's mother; Dan Eaton, a veteran of three tours in Iraq, home for a date with a woman he's tried to forget; and the beautiful, fragile Tina Ross, whose rendezvous with the captain of the football team triggers the novel's shocking climax.
"[ Ohio is] a descendant of the Dickensian 'social novel' by way of Jonathan Franzen: epic fiction that lays bare contemporary culture clashes, showing us who we are and how we got here" ( O, the Oprah Magazine). "Markley is one of the first novelists to fully reflect the social forces at work without sacrificing an iota of character work or narrative tension" ( New York magazine), and Ohio captures the fractured zeitgeist of a nation, offering a prescient vision for America at the dawn of a turbulent new age.
About the author: Stephen Markley is an author, screenwriter, and journalist. A graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, Markley's previous books include the novel Ohio, the memoir Publish This Book The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book, and the travelogue Tales of Iceland. He lives in Los Angeles.
Brad Felver is author of the story collection The Dogs of Detroit (University of Pittsburgh Press), which won the 2018 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by Library Journal. His other honors include an O. Henry Prize, the Zone 3 Fiction Prize, and a fellowship to Bread Loaf among others. His fiction and essays have appeared widely in magazines such as One Story, New England Review, Hunger Mountain, and Colorado Review. He lives with his wife and kids in northern Ohio.