Jenn Shapland Headshot
Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - 5:15pm

Join us for the next meeting of the Read With Pride Book Club in partnership with Mountain Pride! The book club will meet on April 26th at 5:15pm, to discuss the concept of "Queer Ancestry" with a focus on Jenn Shapland's memoir, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers. Then at 6:00pm, Jenn Shapland will Zoom into the book club for a Q&A session, so come with questions in mind! Everyone is welcome, even if you haven't finished the book yet; there will be plenty to discuss, and plenty of snacks! 

How do you tell the real story of someone misremembered—an icon and idol—alongside your own? Jenn Shapland’s celebrated debut is both question and answer: an immersive, surprising exploration of one of America’s most beloved writers, alongside a genre-defying examination of identity, queerness, memory, obsession, and love. Shapland is a graduate student when she first uncovers letters written to Carson McCullers by a woman named Annemarie. Though Shapland recognizes herself in the letters, which are intimate and unabashed in their feelings, she does not see McCullers as history has portrayed her. Her curiosity gives way to fixation, not just with this newly discovered side of McCullers’s life, but with how we tell queer love stories. Why, Shapland asks, are the stories of women paved over by others’ narratives? What happens when constant revision is required of queer women trying to navigate and self-actualize in straight spaces? And what might the tracing of McCullers’s life—her history, her secrets, her legacy—reveal to Shapland about herself? In smart, illuminating prose, Shapland interweaves her own story with McCullers’s to create a vital new portrait of one of our nation’s greatest literary treasures, and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are.

Jenn Shapland is a writer living in New Mexico. Her first book, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award and the Southern Book Prize, and won the 2021 Lambda Literary Award, the Publishing Triangle Judy Grahn Award, and the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award. Shapland has a PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently works as an archivist for a visual artist. Her second book, Thin Skin, will be published by Pantheon Books. Her essays have appeared in New England Review, the New York TimesOutsideGuernica, and Tin House. Her research and writing have been supported by residencies at Aspen Words, Yaddo, Ucross, and Vermont Studio Center and by fellowships from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Howard Foundation. 

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My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir By Jenn Shapland Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951142292
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - January 5th, 2021