Writers at Work series presents novelist and critic Edmund White

Author discusses life in New York during the 1960s and 1970s

As part of the Writers at Work series, esteemed novelist and cultural critic Edmund White will discuss his autobiography – “City Boy” – at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22 at the Kansas City Public Library, 14 W. 10th St., Kansas City, Mo. A 6 p.m. reception will kick off the event, which is organized by Kansas City novelist Whitney Terrell and sponsored by the UMKC College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of English, Chris Davis and the Kansas City Public Library.

Nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, “City Boy” is a memoir of the social and sexual lives of New York’s cultural and intellectual in-crowd. It also chronicles White’s twenties and thirties and his formation as an author. In the 1960s, White arrived in New York broke and unknown, struggling to express himself as a gay man. New York wasn’t faring much better. It was a grungy, dangerous, bankrupt city where garbage piled up during sanitation worker strikes and where a major blackout led to days of looting.

A time of enormous intrigue and artistic tumult, White describes encounters with famous names and cultural icons including James Merrill, Elizabeth Bishop, William Burroughs, Harold Brodkey, Susan Sontag and Jasper Johns. Present at the Stonewall uprising in 1969, White witnesses the beginning of the gay movement.

White has written more than 20 books, including the autobiographical novel “A Boy’s Own Story;” a previous memoir, “My Lives;” and most recently, a biography of poet Arthur Rimbaud. White lives in New York and teaches writing at Princeton University.

“I believe Edmund White is one of the best writers of my generation; he’s certainly the contemporary American writer I reread more than any other, and the one whose next book I look forward to reading most,” said John Irving, American novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter.

For more information, contact the Kansas City Public Library at (816) 701-3400. Books will be available at the event and in advance through Rainy Day Books.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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