Book Launch: Alexander Manshel's 'Writing Backwards'
Contemporary fiction has never been less contemporary. Writing Backwards documents how the historical novel took over American literature, and how the push to recover lost or overlooked histories has affected writers of color most of all.
Alexander Manshel investigates the most celebrated historical genres—contemporary narratives of slavery, the World War II novel, the multigenerational family saga, immigrant fiction, and the novel of recent history—alongside the literary institutions that have elevated them. The book examines the work of Toni Morrison, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Colson Whitehead, Julia Alvarez, Leslie Marmon Silko, Michael Chabon, Julie Otsuka, Yaa Gyasi, Ben Lerner, and Tommy Orange, among others. Writing Backwards uncovers how the newly inclusive literary canon came to exist, as well as who and what it still excludes.
Join the author, Prof. Alexander Manshel, Assistant Professor of English at McGill University, in conversation with Prof. Ara Osterweil.