Writers Margo Jefferson, Ian Buruma and Stephanie Danler discuss the first-ever collection of essays from across Elizabeth Hardwick's illustrious writing career, including works not seen in print for decades; moderated by collection editor Darryl Pinckney and co-presented with New York Review of Books.
Elizabeth Hardwick wrote during the golden age of the American literary essay. She covered civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, places where she lived, locations she traveled to, theater she had seen, and murder trials that gripped her. She wrote sketches for various occasions and countless essays about literature, her greatest passion. For Hardwick, the essay was an imaginative endeavor. The continuous attention to language, the structure of observations, the line of interpretation— Hardwick deserves to be read and reread for the clarity of her perceptions and her enduring assessments of literature and society, and simply for the beauty of her writing alone.
The Collected Essays gathers more than fifty essays for a retrospective of this writer of moral courage, as Joan Didion called her. Hardwick’s readings define literature itself.
- Darryl Pinckney selected The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick (2010). He is the author of two novels, High Cotton (1992) and Black Deutschland (2016), and of two works of nonfiction, Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature (1992) and Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy (2014). He also worked for Robert Wilson on his productions of The Forest, Orlando, Time Rocker, The Old Woman, Letter to a Man, and Garrincha: A Street Opera.
- The winner of a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Margo Jefferson previously served as book and arts critic for Newsweek and The New York Times. Her writing has appeared in, among other publications, Vogue, New York Magazine, The Nation, and Guernica. Her memoir, Negroland, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. She is also the author of On Michael Jackson and is a professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts.
- Ian Buruma is the editor of The New York Review of Books. He has been a frequent contributor to the Review since 1985. He has written seventeen books, including The Wages of Guilt (1995), Murder in Amsterdam (2006), Year Zero (2013), and Theater of Cruelty (2014). He has won several prizes for his books, including the LA Times Book Prize for Murder in Amsterdam, and PEN-Diamonstein Spielvogel award for the art of the essay for Theater of Cruelty. From 2003 to 2017 he was professor of human rights, democracy and journalism at Bard College.
- Stephanie Danler is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Sweetbitter, which is being adapted into a television series. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the New School.