Transforming Your Neighborhood Into the Magic Kingdom – Whole Community Makeovers Through the Performing Arts

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When?  Thursday, April 5, 2018 6:30-8:30

Where? BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO 80212, 303-284-0194

BookBar “is a bookshop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers. And a fabulous cafe, too”.
Sponsored by Cri Hub.  Admission free and open to the public.  Map.

“All the world’s a stage,” wrote Shakespeare, and that can be true for your community or immediate neighborhood as well.  You can make it come alive at any time through interactive dance, music, and drama.  You can turn the street where you live into the magic kingdom for a breathless little while.

Sam Provenzano and Christine Gwillim, advanced degree candidates in theater and dance at the University of Texas (Austin), will discuss how you can take turn a bounded space like a university campus, a museum, or a neighborhood with its shops and houses and turn it into a site for performance art that engages people and has them look at their surroundings in a whole new way.

They are visiting Denver April 5 – 7 as presenters for the program of the Southwest Summit on Creative Placemaking at the University of Denver, sponsored by the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  They will also be presenting at the Appalachian Summit in Charleston, West Virginia later this year.

Creative Placemaking is a set of practices that leverages the power of the arts, culture and creativity to transform communities, build local character as well as foster sustainable economic growth and quality of life.

About the Speakers:

Sam Provenzano is a M.F.A. candidate in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research is focused on creating and directing Theatre for Young Audiences and theatre and performance in museum spaces. Sam is the 2018-19 Theatre for Youth Post-Graduate Fellow at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

Christine Gwillim is an artist, curator and scholar. She is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas, Austin. Her doctoral research focuses on curatorial practice at contemporary performance festivals. She holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA from New York University. Christine is the Williford Fellow for University Engagement at the Blanton Museum of Art.

Meet in BookBar’s lounge from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on April 5th.

Divinatory Esthetics – Critically Engaging Denver Poets Through Music

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When?  Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:30-8:30

Where? BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO 80212, 303-284-0194

BookBar “is a bookshop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers. And a fabulous cafe, too”.
Sponsored by Cri Hub.  Admission free and open to the public.  Map.

Metropolitan State University professor and well-known musician and composer Roger Green will attempt to identify a rehabilitated notion of literature by addressing a recent trend among Denver writers dealing with “divination”.  He will specifically use examples of his work using musical performance and composition to accompany multiple writers: Laird Hunt, Selah Saterstrom, Eleni Sikelianos, and Anne Waldman, all of whom are associated both with Denver and the independent Minneapolis based publisher, Coffeehouse Press. Intentionally blurring any unnecessary binary between “artist” and “critic”, Roger argues that these writers have been pointing to more nuanced interpretations of divination that are useful to contemporary writing, literary theory and philosophy.

The following sound tracks are examples of Roger listening to/accompanying Denver poets:

You can also hear Roger & musicians “getting in tune” with each other as listeners: https://rogergreen.bandcamp.com/album/peril
Various books by Coffeehouse Press will be available for purchase.

Theory of The Border – Talk And Book Signing By Thomas Nail

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When?  Thursday, February 15, 2018 6:30-8:30

Where? BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO 80212, 303-284-0194

BookBar “is a bookshop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers. And a fabulous cafe, too”.

Sponsored by Cri Hub.  Admission free and open to the public.  Map.

Despite — and perhaps because of — increasing global mobility, there are more types of borders today than ever before in history.

Borders of all kinds define every aspect of social life in the twenty-first century. From the biometric data that divides the smallest aspects of our bodies to the aerial drones that patrol the immense expanse of our domestic and international airspace, we are defined by borders. They can no longer simply be understood as the geographical divisions between nation-states.

Rather than viewing borders as the result or outcome of pre-established social entities like states, University of Denver philosopher Thomas Nail reinterprets  history from the perspective of the continual and constitutive movement of the borders that organize and divide society in the first place. Societies and states are the products of bordering, Nail argues, not the other way around. Applying his original movement-oriented theoretical framework, which he calls “kinopolitics”, to several major historical border regimes (fences, walls, cells, and checkpoints), Theory of the Border pioneers a new methodology of “critical limology,” that provides fresh tools for the analysis of contemporary border politics.

Thomas Nail is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver. He is the author of Returning to Revolution: Deleuze, Guattari and Zapatismo (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), The Figure of the Migrant (Stanford University Press, 2015), Theory of the Border (Oxford University Press, 2016) and co-editor of Between Deleuze and Foucault (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

Disrupting The Mythologies Of Machismo – Talk And Book Signing By Luis León – EVENT CANCELLED!

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EVENT CANCELLED BECAUSE OF AUTHOR ILLNESS!  

Please stayed tuned for rescheduling announcement.

When?  Thursday, January 18, 6:30-8:30

Where? BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO 80212, 303-284-0194

BookBar “is a bookshop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers. And a fabulous cafe, too”.

Sponsored by Cri Hub.  Admission free and open to the public.  Map.

Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), founder of the United Farm Workers and activist for Mexican-American rights, modeled a distinct spirituality for Latino men involving fraternity, self-sacrifice, and respecting women and the LGBT community.The example of his ritual life and spiritual teaching disrupted mythologies of machismo. In his current research, Luis León explores this similar macho disruption among Latino men, particularly within the conversion narratives of those who have converted from Catholicism to Pentecostalism.

Dr. Luis León is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Denver.  He is the author of two books – The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez: Crossing Religious Borders (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014), and La Llorona’s Children: Religion, Life, and Death in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004). A new and expanded edition of Religion and American Cultures: Tradition, Diversity, and Popular Expression, edited with Gary Laderman, was published in December 2014 by ABC-Clio. His current research interrogates the intersections of spirituality, race, class, and sexuality among Latino men in lived religions and popular media. He is exploring the same intersections through Pentecostal autobiography, and in an ethnographic project focused on Penitente men.  With Laura E. Perez he is co-editing a collection of essays on de-colonizing spirituality and sexuality.

Dr. Leon will be available for signing of The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez, which is available in hardback and paperback.

The Cynic And The Fool – Book Signing And Talk By Tad Delay

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When?  Thursday, November 9, 6:30-8:30

Where? BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO 80212, 303-284-0194

BookBar “is a bookshop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers. And a fabulous cafe, too”.

Sponsored by Cri Hub.  Admission free and open to the public.  Map.

The questioning of religion is the beginning of a flood, one that cannot be contained and will soon drown every theological, political, economic, and cultural orthodoxy that pledged its allegiance to a sinking cause. We are in just such an era of revolt, and those with eyes to see are learning to interrogate motives.

When we are told of an idea that cannot possibly be true, the most immediate question is this: does the speaker so very foolishly believe their own words, or is the person a cynic who knows perfectly well how they manipulate the truth?

As individual personalities transform into a collective drive, the aftermath is a brutal mix of motives, fictions, and anxieties. The Cynic & the Fool explores theology and politics through the lens of our unconscious motives, our clever repression, and our deceptive denial. In nine chapters interspersed with nine parables, DeLay unites psychoanalysis, philosophy, and theology together for an accessible yet critical theory of culture.

There could not be a more crucial moment to settle these questions. Why do we feel such anxiety over the most abstract orthodoxies, what conflicts of interest are we facing, and why we are commanded to see the world a certain way?

At a time when vicious partisan politics has replaced the wars of religion with their odium theologicum of bygone ages,  Tad DeLay‘s The Cynic and the Fool is a must-read for thoughtful people, regardless of their ideological persuasion.  Through story-telling, personal anecdote, and frequent flashes of magisterial pedagogy, DeLay entices us into confronting the knotted tangles of our own “political unconscious” and offers us hope that we will eventually know the truth and that it might free us, even if we are in a so-called “post-truth” era.  – Carl Raschke, University of Denver, author of Critical Theology and Force of God.

Tad Delay holds a Ph.D. in religion from the Claremont School with concentrations in continental philosophy and philosophy of religion as well as an M.A. philosophy and an M.A. theology. DeLay’s work explores the intersections of continental philosophy, theology, psychoanalysis, critical theory, and politics. He lives, writes, and teaches in Denver, Colorado. Delay is also the author of God Is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis & Theology (Wipf & Stock, 2015). His third book, a critical investigation of American Christianity and the recent politics of populism, will be published in 2018 under the working title “Resonance Machines After the Criticism of Heaven.”

 

 

 

 

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The following is an interview that CRI did with the author Tad Delay in advance of the BookBar event.

Why did you want to write this book at this moment?

Whenever I talk about this book, I always clarify the date. It feels strange to write a book that becomes so accidentally timely. Open any political opinion piece in the last year, and you see this subtext of “Is the latest news the result of calculating manipulation or blundering foolishness?” But none of these developments were on my mind. I finished the rough draft of The Cynic & the Fool a single day before a new figure would descend from his tower in New York to announce his campaign for the presidency, which would dramatically change the way I felt about my project.

I had a chapter in God Is Unconscious on “The Knave and the Fool.” I took it from Lacan, of course. For Lacan, the leftwing leader plays the part of an honest fool who constantly provokes and who directly believes the world can and will get better. Rightwing intellectuals say precisely whatever they are paid to say and, when pressed, admit they are crooks. I received so much positive feedback on that being a helpful way to think about psychoanalysis and inter-personal dynamics. I ultimately ran with the more common word “cynic” instead of “knave,” though I use cynic not in the skeptical sense but in the way we call a politician cynical—the one for whom people and positions alike are always means and never ends.

God Is Unconscious was precisely what I needed to write at that time, but it was too difficult for many readers. That project was for me. A book is a symptom put in writing. I was writing out of a traumatic and chaotic period of life. I figured it might be too opaque and inaccessible, so before it even hit the shelves I resolved to follow it with a more accessible book. Not all academics have a responsibility to write for multiple audiences, but it’s something I feel I must do. I had all this research accumulating for my dissertation as well, and I wanted to reach more than just my committee or the academic community. I wanted something my former congregations or current students could read. So I built the book around the simplest question I could imagine to elucidate the unconscious: when we hear a claim that cannot possibly be true, (1) is the false claim pouring forth from the misinformed but honest fool, or (2) is the claim being twisted by a cynical nihilist, a charlatan who knows perfectly well how to manipulate and mislead?

So you were writing about 2017 in 2015?

I was still editing the final text here and there over the last year, but yes, I was writing on what I saw American Christianity doing in 2015. You expect the religious crowd to lag behind the times, but when a society regresses, the revanchists are the future. But I kept stumbling through examples which seemed perfectly irrelevant at the time but which seemed important to me. I wrote of delusional news stories, media bubbles, and how conspiratorial thinking operates. But aside from the birther conspiracy theory centered on Obama, who cared? I briefly covered theories of populism, fearing it was wasted page space since America hadn’t had a massive populist movement in decades. I had some combination of the Tea Party and Evangelicalism in mind, but I had no premonition of Trumpism. I wrote about the drive of white supremacy and the desire for cruelty in American religion. I said the theological investment we put into empty gestures leads us to prize hypocrisy as a virtue rather than a vice. For the first time, I publicly wrote my story of losing a job as a pastor when my understanding of the LGBT community matured. I talked about student loans and our drive for lower pay, fewer services, and more disciplinary measures. I described how widespread apocalyptic belief ensures the world will burn not from the fire of heaven but instead from carbon. Following Connolly, I wrote about the Evangelical-capitalist resonance machine and of the former’s enjoyment in being the puppet of the latter. Following McGowan, I said we are not subjects who desire knowledge but instead subjects who desire. I hesitated over so many arguments and examples I feared would seem unnecessary at best or paranoid at worst.

You are investigating unconscious drives in theology and politics. Why not choose one or the other—how are you blurring the distinction between those disciplines.

We navigate personal meaning and group cohesion through these discourses. We’ve just passed the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, so we know something about how an individual’s neurosis erupted into a theology which triggered a massive political reorganization in Europe. The blend of religion and folk superstitions of that era have always fascinated me. I recently came across an article about a house burning down in the 16th century, and all that remained unscathed was a portrait of Luther. So villagers began affixing his image to their walls as a form of preventative fire insurance. To me, this is the essence of religious and political rituals—there’s a payoff regardless of whether it actually works when we take the eucharist or join a protest. I’m thinking of Tillich on anxiety and symbolism here. What matters is the way rituals channel anxiety into production.

Lacan and James said it about shamanism—what’s fascinating is that magical thinking works. At least, it does what it’s supposed to do, and that’s what we must explain. You can call it a placebo effect if you want, but symbolism, rituals, and political movement channel affect into production (often with cataclysmic consequences). We start seeing ritualistic behavior in our ancestors even before we were homo sapiens—this stuff isn’t going away. In early hominid species, religious behavior seems to evolve from death rituals and fertility rituals. It’s not just about personal meaning but about group cohesion (which is proto-politics). We can’t afford to be naive about this. When compared to the personal spirituality, the political dimension of theology is far more sophisticated, socially operative, and unfortunately ignored. We expect the priest, the pundit, and the politician to have something intelligent to say, but what generates security is the social cohesion, not the explanation’s veracity.

You write this book from the perspective of an older millennial. How do you see the spiritual temperature of our times?

We are in trouble. If ever there was an age of ressentiment, we are witnessing it now. In Nietzsche’s parable, the madman knew he’d announced the death of God a bit early. But we are watching the slow death now, and the remainder left over after divine decay is the persistent desire for a hell. Rousseau had that line about how when the poor have nothing left to eat, they shall eat the rich. That’s not quite right though; we are brutally sadistic because we are also carelessly masochistic, and we should learn to interpret the counter-intuitive sources of destructive enjoyment. Deleuze and Guattari put it best: the most salient political question today is why we stubbornly desire servitude as if it were our salvation.

To be a millennial today is to have watched your parents’ and grandparents’ generations betray every value they ever claimed with their recent votes. You get gift cards during the holidays from relatives who fully believe you should be burdened with lifelong student loan debts. God is bleeding out for us, and we don’t feel too warmly toward capitalism either. We see the anger provoked when someone says black lives should matter. We see people we know and love calling us terrorists for protesting. We know we are the most educated generation in history, and we have barely a fighting chance. To be a millennial is to live with a profound sense of inter-generational warfare, and I bet the current political crisis will not conclude until things have become much worse. We want to believe more than ever after the death of God, but the spiritual temperature of our time is very cold.

Divinatory Poetics – Public Talk And Book Signing by Selah Saterstrom

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When?  Thursday, October 12, 6:30-8:30

Where? BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO 80212, 303-284-0194

BookBar “is a bookshop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers. And a fabulous cafe, too”.

Sponsored by Cri Hub.  Admission free and open to the public.  Map.

Selah Saterstrom’s creative work draws heavily from her life growing up in the Spiritual Church Movement in Natchez, Mississippi. As a university student, she studied Biblical hermeneutics and was influenced by writers such as Stephen Moore (Derrida & Foucault at the Foot of the CrossGod’s Gym).  Her work addresses the tensions and consonances between postmodern hermeneutics and the spiritualist tradition in which she was raised.  While divinatory tactics, such as tarot card reading, keep a fashionable place in New Age culture, Saterstrom’s work with divination comes from a lineage of root workers in the South and runs much deeper than a fad.
 
Saterstrom’s novels – The Pink Institution; The Meat and Spirit Plan; and Slab — make up a trilogy.  Each novel is narrated from a young woman’s perspective, but all three are not the same person.  One hears southern cadences in the language in  a stark and “punchy” style that leaves a cognitive residue often after having made the reader laugh. In her forthcoming book of essays, Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics, Saterstrom blends belletristic pieces with her most direct theoretical and aesthetic conceptions o date in print. 
The book is a nod to Henry Wood’s 1899 book of New Thought, Ideal Suggestion through Mental Photography, which William James cited multiple times in his classic, Varieties of Religious Experience.  Her forthcoming book, Ideal Suggestions, is advertised: “By employing various “divinatory generators” (instructions, methods, trances), the essays in Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics genuflect to practices that celebrate engagement with uncertainty while cultivating strategies through which one might collaborate with both rupture and rapture.”  Saterstrom teaches writing and hermeneutic at the University of Denver, and she has been director of its creative writing program. 

A Half Century Of Postmodernism – Public Talk And Book Signing By Carl Raschke On His Latest Work

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Carl Raschke

When?  Thursday, September 21, 6:30-8:30

Where? BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO 80212, 303-284-0194

BookBar “is a bookshop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers. And a fabulous cafe, too”.
Sponsored by Cri Hub.  Admission free and open to the public.  Map.

The term “postmodernism” has functioned as a term of both celebration and rebuke for much of contemporary history since the Vietnam era.   It has especially defined the spiritual heritage of the West during that period, serving as a badge of identity for religious seekers of three generations as well as the perennial whipping boy for conservatives and fundamentalists.

What has postmodernism wrought, and is it finally over?  Come hear University of Denver Professor Carl Raschke, internationally recognized as the “inventor” of religious postmodernism, answer these questions while reflecting on the changes and upheaval in our culture during the past half -century.  Title: “Bye, Bye Xanadu: Postmodernism as our 50-Year Spiritual Odyssey From the Hippies To The Millennials”.

Raschke will also discuss and sign his latest book Postmodern Theology: A Biopic .

Raschke has published over 20 books and is the author among others of  of Force of God, Critical Theology, GloboChrist, The Next Reformation, Postmodernism and the Revolution in Religious Theory, Fire And Roses, and The Digital Revolution and the Coming of the Postmodern University.

The talk and book signing is the first of a three-part monthly series entitled  “Critical Conversations  – Taking the Spiritual Temper of Our Time.”

Praise for Postmodern Theology: A Biopic (Wipf and Stock, 2017).

“ . . . an extremely readable introduction to ‘Postmodern Theology.’ Raschke critically, generously, and humorously presents the most important antecedents, developments, and consequences of this influential theological movement. It directly confronts thinkers like Caputo, Altizer, and Mark Taylor. Parallel to this Raschke offers a clear and in-depth introduction to Derrida and Deleuze’s philosophies, which not only made postmodern theology possible, but have also shaped the course of contemporary theological and political discourse.” – Kurt Appel, University of Vienna

Critical Conversations – Taking The Spiritual Temperature Of Our Time

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Starting in September 2017 CRI launches a series of  talks entitled Critical Conversations by and with Denver-based writers and public intellectuals on topics connected to their new books, which have been just recently published.

Critical Conversations is a partnership with BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212 and will be held once a month on Thursday evenings in September, October, and November.

The first “conversations” will focus on the theme “Taking the Spiritual Temperature Of Our Time”, an exploration of the ways in which contemporary arts and culture as well as politics are both infused with and shaped by the deeper longings of the heart, including inklings of an immaterial realm.

All sessions are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. .  The fall schedule for Critical Conversations is as follows:

Thursday, September 21.

Carl Raschke.   Author of Force of God, GloboChrist, Fire And Roses, and More. Professor of Religious Studies, University of Denver.  Talk: “Bye, Bye Xanadu: Postmodernism as our 50-Year Spiritual Odyssey From the Hippies To The Millennials”.    Book:  Postmodern Theology: A Biopic, Wipf & Stock, 2017.

 

“ . . . an extremely readable introduction to ‘Postmodern Theology.’ Raschke critically, generously, and humorously presents the most important antecedents, developments, and consequences of this influential theological movement. It directly confronts thinkers like Caputo, Altizer, and Mark Taylor. Parallel to this Raschke offers a clear and in-depth introduction to Derrida and Deleuze’s philosophies, which not only made postmodern theology possible, but have also shaped the course of contemporary theological and political discourse.” – Kurt Appel, University of Vienna

Thursday, October 12.

Selah Saterstrom.  Author of the novels Slab, The Meat and Spirit Plan, and The Pink Institution. Director of Creative Writing, University of Denver.  Talk:  Title TBA.  Book:  Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics.

“Saterstrom’s creative work draws heavily from her life growing up in the Spiritual Church Movement in Natchez, Mississippi. As a university student, she studied Biblical hermeneutics and was influenced by writers such as Stephen Moore (Derrida & Foucault at the Foot of the CrossGod’s Gym).  Her work addresses the tensions and consonances between postmodern hermeneutics and the spiritualist tradition in which she was raised.  While divinatory tactics, such as tarot card reading, keep a fashionable place in New Age culture, Saterstrom’s work with divination comes from a lineage of root workers in the South and runs much deeper than a fad.” – Roger Green

Thursday, November 9.

Tad Delay,  Author of God Is Unconscious.    Talk:  “What Does the Populist Want?: Notes on Ideology, Religion, and Anxiety.” Book:  The Cynic and the Fool.

“While The Cynic and the Fool offers the reader insights that feel timeless, its true power lies in its ability to offer a unique and penetrating analysis of our present age. This is a book that employs the best of psychoanalytic theory to reflect on larger, societal issues. It is a carefully crafted work that will prove invaluable to anyone wanting to wrestle with, and understand, the tumultuous times we live in.” – Peter Rollins “ . . . an extremely readable introduction to ‘Postmodern Theology.’ Raschke critically, generously, and humorously presents the most important antecedents, developments, and consequences of this influential theological movement. It directly confronts thinkers like Caputo, Altizer, and Mark Taylor. Parallel to this Raschke offers a clear and in-depth introduction to Derrida and Deleuze’s philosophies, which not only made postmodern theology possible, but have also shaped the course of contemporary theological and political discourse.”

CRI Hosts Discussion On The Transformative Power Of The Arts In Vienna

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THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF THE ARTS. Joy Sawyer from Denver’s Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop talks expounds on the power of poetry at the Donauhof renovation project last Friday evening in Vienna. Her presentation was part of a special CRI conversation among writers, musicians, and visual artists (both American and Austrian) entitled “The Arts in Action”. How does art make a difference in today’s conflicted and storm-tossed world?

Taking Back Literature – Can Authors, Publishers, and Booksellers Mobilize Against the Corporatocracy’s Hostile Takeover of the Industry?

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Denver, Colorado

Sunday, July 23

7-9:30 p.m.

The Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop

Lighthouse Writers Workshop, 1515 Race St. Denver, CO 80206

Donations appreciated.

Map

With novelist Nick Arvin, nonfiction author Tad DeLay, poet and Counterpath publisher Julie Carr, Conundrum Press publisher Caleb Seeling, and BookBar owner Nicole Sullivan

We are all writers now. Whether through traditional industry publishing or self-publishing, in print or online, we can push new ideas and literature to interested readers. Unfortunately, the current situation is dire for authors, publishers, and booksellers; the reading public suffers along with them.

Though over a million new books are published each year, only one percent land in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Eighty percent of books sell less than one hundred copies per year. A book can reach the New York Times bestseller list without earning enough in royalties to push the author above the poverty line. Amazon promised and delivered unprecedented global access to audiences while independent bookstores and booksellers suffered the consequences, and one in four Americans read no books at all.

What happens when the public only searches online for a precise book and never again accidentally stumbles upon a surprising gem while perusing the shelves? How can we work together when algorithms direct us to our next purchase? How do authors feel when the quality of their work bears no relation to whether they earn a living wage?

With a panel representing authors, independent publishers, and booksellers, we invite you to join us in a conversation on collaboration in this pivotal moment in print culture.