True Fictions

With Lucy Ives & John Keene

The following readings and discussion were recorded at True Fictions on September 13, 2017. Writer Lucy Ives read an excerpt from her recently published novel Impossible Views of the World. She was joined by John Keene, who read from his 2015 short-story collection Counternarratives. The readings were followed by a conversation on the use of archival documents and art objects in fiction, writing against conventions in historical narratives, and the influence of reading and writing fiction on the experience of history.

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With Lucy Ives & John Keene 7:30 p.m. 264 Canal Street, 3W, New York, New York $7 suggested donation, free for members

Triple Canopy is pleased to present True Fictions, an evening of readings and conversation about the use of archival documents in fiction and the ways in which works of art act in and on history, with the writers Lucy Ives and John Keene.

A Times article, a Wikipedia entry, .txt files, microfiche pages of an early twentieth century magazine—these are just a few of the kinds of text that appear in Ives’s new novel Impossible Views of the World, an art-world (and art-historical) mystery narrated by Stella Krakus, a curator and cartographic specialist at the Central Museum of Art in Manhattan. Stella’s search for clues about the disappearance of a colleague brings her in contact with numerous documents literary and historical, real and counterfeit, distinctions whose difficulty—even impossibility—animates Stella’s attempts to understand what has transpired.

John Keene’s 2015 short-story collection Counternarratives similarly includes fictions styled as archival documents, spanning the seventeenth century to the present; a newspaper clipping, a letter, and a footnote all function as unlikely forms for transmitting accounts of figures that, marginalized or altogether elided from recorded history, “speak / remembering / we were never meant to survive.” This line from Audre Lorde appears twice in the book, an activation and refrain of the many voices in these genealogies of black subjugation.

Ives and Keene will read from their respective books, which will be followed by a conversation between the authors.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to ensure that events are accessible and comfortable, we’ll open the doors at 7:00 p.m. and strictly limit admittance to our legal capacity. Please check Triple Canopy’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates, as we’ll indicate if events are sold out.

Triple Canopy’s venue is located at 264 Canal Street, 3W, near several Canal Street subway stations. Our floor is accessible by elevator (63" × 60" car, 31" door) and stairway. Due to the age and other characteristics of the building, our bathrooms are not ADA-accessible, though several such bathrooms are located nearby. If you have specific questions about access, please write at least three days before the event and we will make every effort to accommodate you.

  • Lucy Ives is the author of many books of poetry and prose, including The Hermit (2016), the novella nineties (2013), and, most recently, the novel Impossible Views of the World (2017, published by Penguin Press. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Lapham’s Quarterly, Bomb, Conjunctions, The New Yorker, and Triple Canopy, where she was an editor for several years.
  • John Keene ’s most recent books include the short fiction collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015), which received a 2016 American Book Award, a 2016 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and in March 2017 the UK’s inaugural Republic of Consciousness Prize; the art book GRIND (ITI Press, 2016), an art-text collaboration with photographer Nicholas Muellner; and the poetry chapbook Playland (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016). He is also the translator of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat Books / A Bolha Editora, 2014), and other works of fiction and poetry. He chairs the department of African American and African Studies, and also teaches English and creative writing at Rutgers University–Newark.