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Reading: Mark Mayer and May-Lan Tan

  • Lettrétage Mehringdamm 61 Berlin Germany (map)
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The Berlin Writers' Workshop and Lettrétage present a reading with Mark Mayer and May-Lan Tan to celebrate the release of AERIALISTS, Mayer’s debut short-story collection.

Free entry. Limited seating. This reading is in English.

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About the authors:

Mark Mayer has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. From 2012 to 2014, he lived at Cornell College’s Center for the Literary Arts as the Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer. His first book, AERIALISTS, won the Michener-Copernicus Prize and is now out from Bloomsbury USA.  

May-Lan Tan’s story collection THINGS TO MAKE AND BREAK is published by Sceptre in the UK and by Emily Books/Coffee House Press in the US. Her stories have appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, The Atlas Review, Arete and The Reader. She lives in Berlin.

About the book:

"Mark Mayer writes with a humorous, wistful elegance. His stories are singular, as detached and intimate as dreaming." --Marilynne Robinson

Welcome to the sublime circus of Mark Mayer's Michener-Copernicus-winning debut, Aerialists, a fiercely inventive collection of nine stories in which classic carnival characters become ordinary misfits seeking grandeur in a lonely world.

Under the luminous tent of Mayer's prose, we see P.T. Barnum's caravan remade: A young misogynist finds a confidante in a cable-TV strongwoman. A realtor for the one percent invokes his inner murder clown. A skin-and-bones mathematician and his bearded wife plot revolution. A friendless peach farmer holds a funeral for a beloved elephant. And a model-train hobbyist prepares to throw his miniature world in the trash.

The circus has always been a collection of American exaggerations-the bold, the beautiful, the freakish, the big. Aerialists finds these myths living in the everyday. Mayer's deftly drawn characters illuminate these small-scale spectaculars, and their attempted acts of daring and feats of strength are rendered with humor, generosity, and uncommon grace.

Praise for AERIALISTS:

“Mayer's skill is unquestionable, and his range is astounding . . . An ambitious collection of short stories that heralds the coming of a new voice in American fiction.” –  Kirkus Reviews

“Mayer's high-wire debut exposes the weirdness of everyday life . . . Wittily subverts reader expectations with stories told in a realistic manner about characters or situations that all share a slightly surreal bent, resulting in a clever collection.” –  Publishers Weekly

“Poignant . . . Genuine . . . Expertly probes the tenuous connections between friends and families.” –  Shelf Awareness, starred review

“One of the best collections I've read in years. These stories are bright and muscular, luminous and generous, nimble and funny, tender and surprising at every turn.” –  Carmen Maria Machado, author of HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES

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Earlier Event: April 6
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Later Event: April 17
Writers' Stammtisch