Wednesday 4/19, 7pm:
Mike Scalise discusses his memoir The Brand New Catastrophe
"A very funny book about the frailties of the flesh, the absurdities of modern medicine, and how to stay sane amid it all. Scalise's voice is fantastically entertaining, unfailingly honest." —Dave Eggers
Raucous family memoir meets medical adventure in this heartfelt, hilarious book exploring the public and private theaters of illness. After a tumor bursts in Mike Scalise’s brain, leaving him with a hole in the head and malfunctioning hormones, he must navigate a new, alien world of illness maintenance. His mother, who has a chronic heart condition and a flair for drama, becomes a complicated model as she competes with him for the status of "best sick person." The Brand New Catastrophe is a moving, funny exploration of how we define ourselves by the stories we choose to tell.
Mike Scalise’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Agni, Indiewire, Ninth Letter, The Paris Review Daily, and other places. He’s an 826DC advisory board member, has received fellowships and scholarships from Bread Loaf, Yaddo, and the Ucross Foundation, and was the Philip Roth Writer in Residence at Bucknell University. The Brand New Catastrophe was the recipient of The Center for Fiction’s 2014 Christopher Doheny Award.
Everyone loves a good catastrophe story, and Mike Scalise has a great one-- the rupture of a brain tumor that leads to a rare pituitary disorder at age 24. Not many of us share a diagnosis with Andre the Giant, but Scalise makes this tale of hospitalization and recovery both relatable and strangely hilarious. And at its heart, it's a book about how the stories we tell shape us, catastrophic or not.-- Travis