Kia Corthron, winner of the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize and author of Moon and the Mars, the highly anticipated new novel that examines NYC and America in the burgeoning moments before the start of the Civil War through the eyes of a young biracial girl, discusses her new book, as well as what happens when the forces of gentrification and history collide in the city, with Sarah Schulman, acclaimed author of Let the Record Show, which Alexander Chee calls, "a masterpiece of historical research and intellectual analysis that creates many windows into both a vanished world and the one that emerged from it, the one we live in now."
In Moon and the Mars, set in the impoverished Five Points district of New York City in the years 1857-1863, we experience neighborhood life through the eyes of Theo from childhood to adolescence, an orphan living between the homes of her Black and Irish grandparents. Throughout her formative years, Theo witnesses everything from the creation of tap dance to P.T. Barnum's sensationalist museum to the draft riots that tear NYC asunder, amidst the daily maelstrom of Five Points work, hardship, and camaraderie. Meanwhile, white America's attitudes towards people of color and slavery are shifting—painfully, transformationally—as the nation divides and marches to war.
Kia Corthron’s debut novel, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, was the winner of the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. She was the 2017 Bread Loaf Shane Stevens Fellow in the Novel. She is also a nationally and internationally produced playwright. For her body of work for the stage, she has garnered the Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama, the United States Artists Jane Addams Fellowship, the Horton Foote Playwriting Award, the Flora Roberts Award, the Simon Great Plains Playwright Award, and others. She was born and raised in Cumberland, Maryland, and lives in Harlem, New York City.
Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, nonfiction writer and AIDS historian. Her 20th book, LET THE RECORD SHOW: A Political History of ACT UP, New York 1987-1993, has just been published by FSG.
THIS IS AN OFFICIAL 2021 BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL BOOKEND EVENT.
Kia Corthron photo by Sophie Kandaouroff