Literature Program

Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 3:00 p.m.

Co-sponsored/co-presented by:
UB Humanities Institute, Talking Leaves... Books, Just Buffalo, Hallwalls, & Institute for Research & Education on Women & Gender

Sarah Schulman

Presented at:

Sarah Schulman (Rat Bohemia, Shimmer) is an acclaimed novelist, playwright, and social historian. A lifelong political activist, Schulman has been involved in a number of strategic social movements, including Abortion Rights, ACT-UP, and, most recently, Lesbian Avengers. She is a cofounder of the Lesbian & Gay Experimental Film Festival and is a prodigious contributor to both the mainstream and progressive press, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Interview, The Face, Mother Jones, Ms. Magazine, Village Voice, The Advocate, Cineaste, and Jump-Cut.

2007 marks the 15-year annivarsary of her work Empathy, of which a new critical edition was recently published by Arsenal Pulp Press. Her current play, Carson McCullers, is available from Playscripts, Inc. Schulman is Professor of English at CUNY College of Staten Island. She first read at Hallwalls 19 years ago—on November 4, 1988—as part of Hallwalls' first biannual Ways In Being Gay festival, on a stellar triple bill with Tim Miller and Eileen Myles.

Schulman's The Child (Carroll & Graff) is an absorbing novel about a teenager convicted of murder after seeing his on-line lover charged with pedophilia. Structured like a classic novel of crime and punishment, The Child explores what happens when Stew, a lonely 15-year-old boy, looks for and finds an adult boyfriend on line. In short order his lover is arrested in an Internet pedophilia sting and Stew's world is turned upside down. He's exposed to his family and community, leaving the outcast to fend for himself against forces intent on his destruction. Desperate and enraged, the confused Stew murders his nephew in a panic. The novel onsiders the impact of these events on all those involved—from the parents of the murdered child to Stew's staunchly Catholic parents and the attorneys working on his case. Carefully untangling the actions of an isolated teenager denied a natural outlet for his feelings during a critical time in his life, The Child is a haunting meditation on isolation and the prejudices of culture and family.

"Schulman crafts a piercing investigation into desire, mores and the law" (Publishers Weekly).

"One of our most articulate observers" (The Advocate).

"Unputdownable" (OUT Magazine).

"In true Schulman form, the book has a gleaming intelligence and chilled anger. It's beautifully blunt and plainspoken" (Ernest Hardy, LA WEEKLY).

"Schulman transitions seamlessly from her characters' intimate internal monologues to incisive narrative descriptions. She unabashedly paints pictures that are awkward, challenging and even disturbing to look at, but she does so with such a delicate, ethereal and insightful voice that readers have little choice but to look head-on" (Philadelphia Gay News).

"A thought-provoking story on a controversial subject. To her credit, Schulman forces the reader to question common societal assumptions, and the legal twist at the climax of the story is especially inspiring" (Library Journal).

Some publications related to this event:
September, 2007 - 2007