Cardiff BookTalk: Her Body and Other Parties (online, 15 November 2022)

Want to geek out about Carmen Maria Machado? Want to see four literary professionals geek out about Carmen Maria Machado? Or are you just in the mood for a good book or for some good old fashioned spooky stories? Whatever the reason, join us at Cardiff BookTalk on 15 November, 19:00 – 20:30 GMT, for an online talk about Her Body and Other Parties, Machado’s debut short story collection. The event is free and open to all. Book your place via Eventbrite.

From the event description:

Cardiff BookTalk is delighted to invite you to our online event of Thursday 17 November 2022, on Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. Joining us will be Dr Christina Wilkins (University of Birmingham), Dr Megen de Bruin-Molé (Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton), and Rosie Couch (Cardiff University). The session will be led by Cardiff University’s Dr Robert Lloyd.

‘(If you are reading this story out loud, force a listener to reveal a devastating secret, then open the nearest window to the street and scream it as loudly as you are able.)’

In the course of a decade, Carmen Maria Machado has established a reputation as the pre-eminent literary stylist of the strange and unsettling. Her fiction is deeply rooted in women’s complex experiences of their worlds; her characters find themselves in dangerous and dispossessing situations, and don’t always make it out in one piece. Yet her stories are also vital, profound portraits of femininity at the intersection of reality and fantasy, materiality and myth, which few readers would be able to forget.

Machado’s writing is delightfully varied and idiosyncratic. She moves between Gothic, horror, and sci-fi, inflected with folklore, magical realism, and dystopia, and powered by a queer, disruptive playfulness with literary form that grows out of her unapologetic feminist politics. Whilst her 2019 memoir, In the Dream House, was received with critical acclaim, it is for her collection of short stories, Her Body and Other Parties (2017) that she is best-known and most loved. Its opening story, ‘The Husband Stitch’, has become one of the most influential pieces of fiction of the last 10 years, provoking a fascinated interest in readers who are drawn to it.

Each of our speakers will present a 15-20 minute paper on one aspect of Machado’s collection, followed by an opportunity for audience questions and discussion. To make the most of the session, you may like to read Her Body and Other Parties. Further recommended texts include her memoir In the Dream House.

If you’ve never read anything by Machado and want a taster, BookTalk will be offering a series of blog posts to introduce you, starting with this one on the short story ‘The Husband Stitch’:

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