Blurbed: What to Read, See and Do in September 2018

Welcome to Blurbed, a new round-up of literary recommendations from the editors and contributors at the Columbia Journal! Each month, Blurbed will feature a curated list of things to read, events to attend and news from the Journal.

What to Read

I Can’t Talk about the Trees Without the Blood by Tiana Clark
If you like poems with vision and verve, read this book. It’s Clark’s first full-length collection, winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.—Kate Greene, Poetry Editor

“This Wanting Business: On the Cost and Labor of Writing,” Lit Hub
This is a touching and honest essay on the financial, emotional, and mental costs of the business of writing, from getting a degree to securing a book contract. It’s also a beautiful look into the author’s life and her own experiences.—Adrian Perez, Editor in Chief

“All Words Fly,” Guernica
The raw emotional power of this piece, a writer’s meditation on grief and finding the language to express it, will knock you out.—Kiley Bense, Online Managing Editor

“Haruki Murakami on Parallel Realities,” The New Yorker
I always enjoy reading his thoughts on writing, on fiction, and in this case on parallel realities. As an author I think he’s a true original in thought.—Adrian Perez, Editor in Chief

She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore
Graywolf has a history of publishing strong work by incredible writers, and I can’t wait to read their latest release. Moore’s novel combines history and magical realism in reimagining Liberia’s formation.—Rachel Keranen, Contributor

“We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage,” Buzzfeed News
This piece is hard to read… but not because it’s poorly written, quite the opposite. It’s a well-reported and extremely well-written deep dive on the abuse at St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage.—Charlee Dyroff, Contributor

What to See & Do

September 8-9: Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair
Even as a casual browser, at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, there is the promise of seeing rare photographs of favorite authors or first editions of treasured works. There are also talks scheduled throughout the weekend, ranging in scope from postcard propaganda to Frankenstein, and an exhibit of Swedish underground art and ephemera.—Ellyn McCormack Gaydos, Nonfiction Editor

September 9, 7 pm: A New Job to Unwork At Opening Reception
Work sucks, etc., whereas unwork is a “wry subversion of work, focusing on practices that re-imagine work’s intended flows and ends, often short-circuiting the power relations inherent in labor relations,” which is better. The ongoing project, curated by Andrew Kachel and Clara López Menéndez, features work by Goldman Club (Emanuel Almborg and Aliza Shvarts), Tehching Hsieh, Devin Kenny, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Wes Larios, Fred Lonidier, Dylan Mira, Karin Schneider, and Kandis Williams, along with a journal launch, an artist talk, a performance, and more.—Paul McAdory, Online Art Editor

September 10-17: Brooklyn Book Festival
This annual festival features publishers, literary magazines, literary organizations, readings, author events and signings, not to mention new and used books for sale. The whole day is a really great way for writers to interact with publishers, and for bookworms to meet their favorite authors. I always leave with an armload of new books and lit mags to read. There are also “bookend” author and literary events happening September 10th-17th all around the city.—Sarah Rosenthal, Contributor

September 18, 7 pm: Crudo: Olivia Laing & Stephanie Danler at Housing Works
I was lucky enough to get a copy of Laing’s first work of fiction before its American debut, and found it to be a quick and frenzied read that is perfect for the final, sweaty throes of summer. A short, fast-paced book, Crudo is structured in the same frenzied manner of the contemporary mind, switching in and out of physical and digital space with ease, paranoid about the present moment, and nostalgic for a past that is curated by one’s own memories and point of view. I’m excited to see how the conversation between Laing and Danler plays out, as both Crudo and Danler’s debut novel Sweetbitter deal with a lot of the same ideas in different ways, including the role of food in our moments of pleasure and pain and the influence of external spaces over our internal lives.—Becky Shirley, Contributor

September 21-23: NY Art Book Fair
Whether it’s some self-published zine by an eager twenty-one-year-old or another near-perfect photo book by Dashwood Books, the NY Art Book Fair is a visual feast.—Grace Ann Leadbeater, Art Editor

September 26, 7 pm: Reading feat. Leslie Jamison, Rebecca Donner, and Idra Novey at KGB Bar
1) KGB is my favorite bar in NYC to see readings. 2) Who doesn’t love Leslie Jamison? 3) Idra Novey is a force. Not only a phenomenal writer, she’s also translated multiple books from Spanish and Portuguese (most recently Clarice Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H.). I can say with enthusiasm and confidence that this appears to be an all-star lineup!—Jacquelyn Gallo, Print Managing Editor

September 27, 7:30 pm: Ben Marcus Presents Notes from the Fog
At Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Ben Marcus reads from his new collection Notes from the Fog and discusses his work with Rivka Galchen. Read our recent interview with Marcus here.—Kiley Bense, Online Managing Editor

September 29, 1 pm: Riverhead Pop-Up Reading Room: Banned Books Week
Celebrate banned books week by visiting Riverhead’s open-air, thematically curated reading rooms and meeting fellow book lovers.—Liz Von Klemperer, Online Fiction Editor

Journal News

Submissions for both online and print will open this month! Visit our Submit page for more details about how to send us your poetry, nonfiction, translation, fiction and art.

Words to Write By

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.” —William Faulkner, born on September 25, 1897

About the author

Kiley Bense is the Online Managing Editor for Columbia Journal, 2018-19. Her essays have appeared online for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Rumpus, Saveur, and Narratively, among others. You can read her work at and follow her on Twitter at @kileybense.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top