Virtual Event: Askold Melnyczuk and Gene Kwak


The Man Who Would Not Bow & Other Stories


Go Home, Ricky!:
A Novel

in conversation with NINA MACLAUGHLIN


October 19, 2021
5:00 PM ET


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Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes ASKOLD MELNYCZUK—author of Excerpt from Smedley's Secret Guide to World Literature and founding editor of AGNI—and acclaimed writer GENE KWAK for a discussion of their books The Man Who Would Not Bow & Other Stories and Go Home, Ricky!: A Novel. They will be joined in conversation by NINA MACLAUGHLIN, author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung.

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About The Man Who Would Not Bow

In the eight stories comprising The Man Who Would Not Bow the cast of characters includes a journalist in a Middle Eastern war zone, an unemployed actor struggling with elder care, members of a commune planning to kidnap a priest, a torturer's mother and, finally, Nikolai Gogol wrestling with his angels and demons.

About Go Home, Ricky!

After seven years on the semi-pro wrestling circuit, Ricky Twohatchet, a.k.a. Richard Powell, needs one last match before he gets called up to the big leagues. Unlike some wrestlers who only play the stereotype, Ricky believes he comes by his persona honestly—he’s half white and half Native American—even if he’s never met his father. But the night of the match in Omaha, Nebraska, something askew in their intricate choreography sets him on a course for disaster. He finishes with a neck injury that leaves him in a restrictive brace and a video already going viral: him spewing profanities at his ex-partner, Johnny America. Injury aside, he’s out of the league.

Without a routine or identity, Ricky spirals downward, finally setting off to learn about his father, and what he finds will explode everything he knows about who he is—as a man, a friend, a son, a partner, and a wrestler. Go Home, Ricky! is a sometimes-witty, sometimes-heart-wrenching, but always gripping look into the complexities of identity.

Praise for The Man Who Would Not Bow

"Askold Melnyczuk fascinates me with his cartography, mapping the contours of consciousness and spirit across the centuries. The spectrum of his sensibilities always delights and seduces, or provokes and puzzles. Like his Ukrainian forbearer Gogol, Melnyczuk can summon forth the grotesqueries of continental mysticism, and switch lenses to deliver his readers into a contemporary DeLillo-esque realm of cold but metaphysically ambiguous realism. He’s a literary chameleon, and irresistible." —Bob Shacochis

"From veteran Melnyczuk, a collection of nine stories that often explore the links between the lusty and the high-minded and that make an argument for their being not opposing values but flip sides of a coin . . . Smart, complex stories that can on occasion feel diffuse but that never fail to hold the reader’s interest." —Kirkus Reviews"

Praise for Go Home, Ricky! 

“It's impossible not to root for underdog wrestler Ricky Twohatchet, a scrappy, good-natured bigmouth with very bad luck. Bleak, funny, and bittersweet, Go Home, Ricky! is about finding your people and finding your place in the world. Gene Kwak’s playful, adroit prose is as offbeat as it is heartfelt—this is an unforgettable debut.” —Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light: Stories, longlisted for the National Book Award

“Gene Kwak is an enormously talented young writer who has a way of untangling race and masculinity with a lot more humor and originality than any of his contemporaries. Go Home, Ricky! has stayed with me. I can’t forget its rhythm and energy.” ―Catherine Lacey, author of Pew and Certain American States

Askold Melnyczuk
Askold Melnyczuk

Askold Melnyczuk

Askold Melnyczuk has published four novels which have variously been named a New York Times Notable, an LA Times Best Book of the Year, and an Editor's Choice by the American Library Association's Booklist. He has received a three-year Lila Wallace-Readers' Digest Award in Fiction, and the George Garret Award from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) for his contributions to the literary community. While still an undergraduate he founded and edited the magazine Agni. He is the editor/publisher of Arrowsmith Press which he founded in 2006.

Gene Kwak
Gene Kwak

Gene Kwak

Gene Kwak has published fiction and nonfiction both in print and online in the the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Wigleaf, Redivider, Hobart, Electric Literature, and in the flash anthology Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction. He teaches at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Go Home, Ricky! is his debut novel.

Nina MacLaughlin
Nina MacLaughlin

Nina MacLaughlin

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung (FSG/FSG Originals), a re-telling of Ovid's Metamorphoses told from the perspective of the female figures transformed, as well as Summer Solstice: An Essay (Black Sparrow). Her first book was the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter (W.W. Norton). Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she worked for nine years as a carpenter, and is now a books columnist for the Boston Globe. Her work has appeared on or in The Paris Review Daily, The Believer, Agni, American Short Fiction, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, Meatpaper, and elsewhere. She carves spoons and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Photo credit: Kelly Davidson

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" and "2021 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

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