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An Evening with Zinzi Clemmons

November 2, 2017
8:00 pm
Oshman Family JCC

Join us for a thoughtful conversation with Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose, which Vogue calls "the debut novel of the year". Zinzi Clemmons was raised in Philadelphia by a South African mother and an American father. She is a graduate of Brown and Columbia universities, and her writing has appeared in Zoetrope: All Story, The Paris Review Daily, Transition, and elsewhere. She is a cofounder and former publisher of Apogee Journal and a contributing editor to Literary Hub. She has been in residence at the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Dar al-Ma'mun, Morocco. Clemmons lives in Los Angeles with her husband. What We Lose is a powerful and innovative novel that questions the nature of identity, grief and love through the eyes of a young woman who loses her mother to cancer. Told in visceral vignettes that draw from autofiction, online media and encyclopedias, What We Lose is a thoughtful, poignant debut from a promising new voice. Clemmons intersperses the narrative with photography, text messages, excerpts from blogs and newspaper articles; the effect is by turn playful and haunting. The primary sources create intimate and sprawling connections between the reader, the main character and the novel's larger questions: about the construct of race, injustice within social systems, the durability of love and the ability to overcome grief. In this way What We Lose confronts the horrors and the legacy of apartheid, and the tyranny of race in the personal and political realms. The meditations in What We Lose are deeply felt, not least because its themes are informed by the author's personal experiences. The breadth and skill Zinzi Clemmons demonstrates in this slim, penetrating novel--praised by early readers from John Edgar Wideman, to Angela Flournoy, to Alexandra Kleeman--establish her as a writer to watch. Named a summer 2017 recommended read by The New York Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Elle, The Millions, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Nylon, Houston Chronicle, Redbook and Time Buy your ticket/book bundle in advance and save! Books will also be available for sale at the event for $22. Schultz Cultural Arts Hall $25 Ticket and book bundle | $18 General Public (ticket only) | $15 Members and J-Pass Holders (ticket only) | $10 Students (with valid ID) For more information, please visit

Oshman Family JCC

3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA
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