On Sunday January 28, playwright Ana Simo will appear at KGB Bar's Sunday Night Fiction series to read from her debut novel, Heartland, along with Sadia Abbas, Women's and Gender Studies professor at Rutgers University and the author of At Freedom's Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament.
A word-drunk romp through an alternate, pre-apocalyptic United States, Ana Simo's fiction debut is the uproarious story of a thwarted writer’s elaborate revenge on the woman who stole her lover. Blending elements of telenovela, pulp noir, and dystopian satire, Heartland is above all a hallucinatory indictment of racism, American style.
A New Yorker most of her life, Ana Simo came of age in a Cuba where a revolution’s sense of endless freedom was almost immediately replaced by iron-fisted censorship and rabidly homophobic witch-hunts that jailed or institutionalized LGBT people, forcing her and others to flee.
In France, she studied with Roland Barthes, participated in early women’s and gay/lesbian rights groups, also continued a life-long dialogue with European (& American) writers. Her literary family includes the profane, anti-clerical satirist Rabelais (Gargantua and Pantagruel), Robert Walser (Jakob von Gunten), Kathy Acker (Don Quixote) and Marie NDiaye (The Woman Changed Into A Log).
Immigrating finally to New York in the 1970s, Simo put down roots in the artistically and politically transgressive East Village where she co-founded the city’s first openly lesbian theater, Medusa’s Revenge, and felt free to attack her persistent preoccupations of immigration and assimilation, history, guilt, race, sex, and the impossibility of language, themes that appear in Heartland and throughout her work from the early play Pickaxe about Trotsky’s murder to The Opium Wars, a collaboration with composer Zeena Parkins.
Simo is also the co-founder of the direct action group the Lesbian Avengers, the national cable program Dyke TV, and The Gully online magazine, offering queer views on everything.
Sadia Abbas grew up in Karachi and Singapore and now spends a great deal of time in a village on the island of Lesvos. She is associate professor in the department of English at Rutgers University-Newark. She is the author of at At Freedom’s Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament (co-winner of the MLA first book prize) and numerous essays on subjects ranging from Renaissance poetics to the Greek crisis to contemporary theorizations of Muslim female agency. She is currently working on a book on Greece and the idea of Europe. She is co-producing a book on Shahzia Sikander's work with Jan Howard for the RISD museum. Her first novel, The Empty Room, is forthcoming soon from Urvashi Butalia's Zubaan Press in India.
Set in one of the best literary venues in New York City, KGB Bar's Sunday Night Fiction's reading series showcases the finest in contemporary fiction from new and emerging writers.
Where: KGB Bar, 85 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003.
When: Sunday, January 28, 2018.