Sally Wen Mao at Harvard Book Store

presenting

Ninetails: Nine Tales

in conversation with SANDRA LIM

Date

Jun
21
Friday
June 21, 2024
7:00 PM ET

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes SALLY WEN MAO—two-time Pushcart Prize-winning author of Oculus, Mad Honey Symposium, and The Kingdom of Surfaces—for a discussion of her new short story collection Ninetails: Nine Tales. She will be joined in conversation by SANDRA LIM—award-winning author of The Curious Thing and The Wilderness

About Ninetails: Nine Tales

A fox spirit avenges a teen girl by seducing her abuser. A shapeshifting woman finds herself chased through the woods by fox hunters; meanwhile, an assassination plot called Operation Fox Hunt unfolds against the last Queen of Korea. Chinese migrants hoping to make new lives as “paper children” in America find their pasts—and their hopes for the future—embodied in the foxes that haunt the harbor in 1900s Angel Island. In the nine tales of Ninetails, acclaimed poet Sally Wen Mao reimagines the fox spirit from Asian folklore—a shapeshifter, shaman, and seductress—as an icon of vengeance, solidarity and liberation. The characters of her stories are varied—from silicone sex dolls who come to life with new purpose, to women whose crushes manifest as stones—but they all reach for a common purpose: to find truth and belonging in a difficult world determined to consider them alien.

With the fabulist vibrancy of Carmen Maria Machado, the sinuous world-building of Helen Oyeyemi, and the sensuous feminist rage of Han Kang, Ninetails is both timeless—unearthing a cultural icon whose origins date back over a thousand years—and timely in its contemporary political urgency.

Praise for Ninetails: Nine Tales

“A sumptuous and lively collection, leaping from story to story in much the same way a fox does—surprisingly, gracefully, and with impressive aim. I loved this book.” —Kelly Link, Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author of Get in Trouble and The Book of Love

“What I love most about Ninetails is its fierce allegiance to underdogs of all kinds, its careful and myriad empathy for its characters, but also its pure and artisanal delight in language and fictive possibilities. It marks, to my mind, the beginning of a poet's long and potent exploration in literature's most capacious genre. And it's a welcomed sight to see.” —Ocean Vuong, New York Times-bestselling author of On Earth, We're Briefly Gorgeous and Time is a Mother

"Ninetails is a spirited modern fairy tale that takes cues from history, mythology, headline news, dating apps, and Mao's gift for sly observation. This is an exploration of the animal magic within the feminine, written with ardor and ambition." —C Pam Zhang, author of Land of Milk and Honey

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Sally Wen Mao
Sally Wen Mao

Sally Wen Mao

Sally Wen Mao is the acclaimed author of three poetry collections—Oculus which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2019; Mad Honey Symposium, which named a Top Ten Debut of 2014 in Poets & Writers; and The Kingdom of Surfaces, a finalist for the 2023 Maya Angelou Book Award. The recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she's been published in The Paris Review, Harper Bazaar, Guenrica, PEN America, among others, with rave reviews of her writing in national outlets such as the New Yorker, NPR, and The Washington Post. She currently lives in New York City.

Photo Credit: Jelani Ameer

 

Sandra Lim
Sandra Lim

Sandra Lim

Sandra Lim’s latest book of poetry is The Curious Thing. Her previous collections include The Wilderness, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize selected by Louise Glück, and Loveliest Grotesque. She is the recipient of the 2023 Jackson Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Levis Reading Prize. In 2023, she was named Distinguished University Professor at UMass Lowell, where she teaches creative writing. Born in Seoul, Korea, she lives in Cambridge, MA.

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