Live Stream: Dual Book Launch: Sebastian Matthews and Rebecca McClanahan

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Join us for this dual Book Launch! Sebastian Matthews presents Beyond Repair: Living in a Fractured State and Rebecca McClanahan presents In the Key of New York City. This event is free but registration is required. Please CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. Registrants will receive an email on the day of the event with the URL and password required to attend on Zoom. If you decide to attend and to purchase the author's book(s), we ask that you purchase from Malalprop's. When you do this you are supporting our work and keeping more dollars in our community. Thank you!


In 2011, my family was in a major car accident. We were hit head-on by a man in the throes of a heart attack. It took three years to recover from our injuries, and a couple more to deal with the aftereffects of trauma. When I finally returned to the world--as father and husband, friend and brother, writer and citizen--it became clear that our society was in its own traumatized state--reeling from the string of police shootings of unarmed African Americans, stunned by yet one more mass shooting. The people around me were displaying all the signs of PTSD--jumpiness, irritability, numbness--and, concordantly, my interactions out in daily life were becoming more dysfunctional, at times downright hostile. Us against them. Red vs. blue. Black vs. white. Rich vs. poor. That we were living in a progressive town inside a conservative county in the Mountain South only made things more volatile. I decided that if we were all living in a fractured society no longer recognizable, then it was up to me to re-engage in it. I would enter into encounters with people as conscious as possible of the potential divides and misunderstandings between us. I started with my neighborhood and town, then moved out into the counties around us, then traveled further out into the country. My goal: to connect.


Against the advice of family and friends, a middle-aged couple leaves their home and jobs in North Carolina to pursue a long-held desire: to live in New York City. As they struggle to find work and forge friendships in a city of strangers, Rebecca decides to take her mother's advice to "make a home wherever you land." She finds it in surprising ways: in overheard conversations on park benches and subway stations, in songs and cries sifted through apartment walls, in the oil-spilled rainbow colors of the pigeons who mate on the window air conditioner, and in encounters with street people dispensing unexpected wisdom. The 9/11 attacks and a serious cancer surgery turn her attention inward: to memories of marital affairs and separation, the deaths of mentors and friends, and to the books and poems that have always sustained her. Inner and outer landscapes merge, her life touching the lives of the now-familiar strangers. Alternating between brief vignettes and sustained narratives, Rebecca McClanahan tracks the heartbeat of New York, finding in each face she meets the cumulative loss, joy, and stubborn resilience of a city that has claimed her for its own.


Sebastian Matthews is the author of a memoir, In My Father's Footsteps, and two books of poetry, We Generous and Miracle Day. His hybrid collection of poetry and prose, Beginner's Guide to a Head-on Collision, won the Independent Publisher Book Awards' silver medal. Matthews is also the author of The Life & Times of American Crow, a "collage novel in eleven chapbooks." His work has appeared in or on, among other places, the Atlantic, Blackbird, the Common, Georgia Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, the Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Writer's Almanac. Matthews lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more at

Rebecca McClanahan, author of ten books, has received two Pushcart Prizes, the Glasgow Award in nonfiction, the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize from Poetry magazine, and four fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, the Georgia Review, the Kenyon Review, the Sun, and in anthologies published by Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, Norton, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Bedford/St. Martin's, and numerous others. She teaches in the MFA programs of Queens University and Rainier Writing Workshop and lives with her husband, video producer Donald Devet, in Charlotte, North Carolina.



Event date: 
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - 7:00pm
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In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597098502
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Red Hen Press - September 1st, 2020

Beyond Repair: Living in a Fractured State Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597094368
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Red Hen Press - August 25th, 2020