Book Discussion for Ryan Chapman’s Riots I Have Known
Where: McNally Jackson
52 Prince St.
212-274-1160 Price: 0
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About the book:
An unnamed Sri Lankan inmate has barricaded himself inside a prison computer lab in Dutchess County, New York. A riot rages outside, incited by a poem published in The Holding Pen, the house literary journal. This, our narrator’s final Editor’s Letter, is his confession. An official accounting of events, as they happened.
As he awaits imminent and violent interruption, he takes us on a roller coaster ride of plot and language, determined to share his life story, and maybe answer a few questions. How did he end up here? Should he have remained a quiet Park Avenue doorman? Or continued his rise in the black markets of postwar Sri Lanka? What will become of The Holding Pen, a “masterpiece of post-penal literature” favored by Brooklynites everywhere? And why does everyone think the riots are his fault? Can’t they see he’s really a good guy, doing it for the right reasons?
Ryan Chapman is a Sri Lankan-American writer originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work has appeared online at The New Yorker, GQ, Bookforum, BOMB, Guernica, and The Believer. He is a recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Millay Colony for the Arts. He lives in upstate New York.
Jason Diamond has written for The New York Times, Outside, The Paris Review, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Eater, The Wall Street Journal, New Republic, Vice, Bookforum, Tablet, The Awl, Pitchfork, McSweeney’s, NPR, and many other fine outlets. His memoir, Searching For John Hughes (William Morrow/HarperCollins), was released in November 2016. His next book, The Sprawl, will be released by Coffee House Press in 2020.