Achy Obejas

City Lights welcomes Achy Obejas reading from her new short story collection The Tower of the Antilles from Akashic Books.

The Cubans in Achy Obejas’s story collection The Tower of the Antilles are haunted by an island: the island they fled, the island they’ve created, the island they were taken to or forced from, the island they long for, the island they return to, and the island that can never be home again.

In “Supermán,” several possible story lines emerge about a 1950s Havana sex-show superstar who disappeared as soon as the Revolution triumphed. “North/South” portrays a migrant family trying to cope with separation, lives on different hemispheres, and the eventual disintegration of blood ties. “The Cola of Oblivion” follows the path of a young woman who returns to Cuba, and who inadvertently uncorks a history of accommodation and betrayal among the family members who stayed behind during the revolution. In the title story, “The Tower of the Antilles,” an interrogation reveals a series of fantasies about escape and a history of futility.

With language that is both generous and sensual, Obejas writes about lives beset by events beyond individual control, and poignantly captures how history and fate intrude on even the most ordinary of lives.

ACHY OBEJAS is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other books of fiction. She edited and translated (into English) the anthology Havana Noir, and has since translated Junot Díaz, Rita Indiana, Wendy Guerra, and many others. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translation. She currently serves as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Gordon Ball

http://www.citylights.com/Resources/titles/87286100159320/Images/87286100159320L.jpgCity Lights welcomes Gordon Ball, reading from his new short story collection, On Tokyo’s Edge, from Red Mountain Press.

Gordon Ball is a poet, photographer, filmmaker, professor of English, and master storyteller. For 28 years he took informal photographs of poet Allen Ginsberg and others of the Beat Generation, the literary and cultural phenomenon which has had a world-wide impact since its inception in the mid-1950s.  As well as being exhibited at numerous conferences and other sites, Ball’s photos have appeared in many books, including Dennis McNally’s Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America and Carole Tonkinson’s Big Sky Mind: Buddhism and  the Beat Generation.  Starting at Ginsberg’s upstate New York farm in 1968, he worked with the poet on various literary and artistic projects, editing three books, including two volumes of journals and the Pulitzer Prize nominee Allen Verbatim.  He’s the author of ’66 Frames: A Memoir (Coffee House Press, 1999);  Dark Music (Cityful Press 2006, Elik Press, 2012); and East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg (Counterpoint 2011).  He is as well an award-winning maker of personal film (and will be giving a Canyon Cinema Salon of his work the night after his reading at City Lights).  His City Lights reading will be devoted to his just-released On Tokyo’s Edge: Gaijin Tales from Postwar Japan, a volume of interrelated short stories which Bill Morgan has characterized as “Beautifully written” and “a book I couldn’t put down.”  Gordon lives in Lexington, Virginia, where he teaches at Washington and Lee University.