On Wednesday January 24, Ana Simo will appear at McNally Jackson for the launch of her debut novel, Heartland, appearing in conversation with Alisa Solomon, director of the Arts & Culture concentration in the MA program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
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.
Alisa Solomon teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the Arts & Culture concentration in the MA program. A theater critic and general reporter for the Village Voice from 1983 to 2004, she has also contributed to The New York Times, The Nation, NewYorker.com, Tablet, The Forward, Howlround.com, killingthebuddha.com, American Theater, TDR – The Drama Review, and other publications. Her first book, Re-Dressing the Canon: Essays on Theater and Gender, won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.
McNally Jackson is an independent bookstore in New York City.
Where: McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012.
When: Wednesday, January 24, 2018.