American Academy of Arts and Letters Award-Winner Jeffrey Meyers discusses his vivid new work, Resurrections: Authors, Heroes--And a Spy.
Jeffrey Meyers' Resurrections: Authors, Heroes--and a Spy brings to life a set of extraordinary writers, painters, and literary adventurers who turned their lives into art. Meyers knew nine of these figures, in some cases intimately, while five others he admires and regrets never meeting. As he writes in the preface, "The chapters in this book represent in miniature my career as a life-writer. My biographies have always been driven by fascination with the source of artistic creativity, with people who wrote or painted and with the worlds they inhabited."
Ian Watt, who taught Meyers at Berkeley, struggled with the legacy of his ordeal as a Japanese prisoner of war, and with its depiction in the film, The Bridge on the River Kwai. The story of Paul Theroux's feud with Sir Vidia Naipaul is well known, but Meyers finds greater meaning in their quarrel through the lens of his own long friendship with Theroux. While James Salter, fighter pilot and brilliant stylist, epitomizes Meyers' heroic ideal, the fiction writer also responds with an epistolary friendship, punctuated by visits, and Meyers is delighted by Salter's great reputation late in life. Anthony Blunt, art historian and communist spy, fascinates the biographer for a darker reason: the depth of his capacity for intellectual and personal deceit. The feckless, lesser-known Hugh Gordon Porteus, told Meyers many revealing and amusing stories about his friends Wyndham Lewis, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.
In the process of writing these profiles, Meyers discovers a common thread relating to himself: not only do these subjects provoke a kind of personal testing, they also represent his search for the ideal father in his vivid intellectual and imaginative inquiry.
7pm to 8pm, Books Inc., 1491 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
Fan Shigang discusses Striking to Survive: Workers' Resistance to Factory Relocations in China. In conversation with Li Wen.
What is the meaning of the thousands of strikes in China? Do these strikes add up to a "labor movement"? How can solidarity between Chinese and American workers be built?
Countering the popular myth that Chinese workers are "stealing American jobs," Striking to Survive documents a recent wave of factory closures in China's Pearl River Delta and struggles by workers there to hold onto their jobs, their pensions, and their livelihoods.
The struggles of these workers in China's industrial centers are shaping the future of labor and democracy not only in China but throughout the world. These vivid stories of workers at factories that supply multinational corporations Walmart and Uniqlo, compiled by worker-activists and circulated underground, provide a unique, on-the-ground perspective on the most recent wave of militancy among China's enormous working class.
Striking to Survive includes a uniquely fine-grained account of the strike organized by "Delegate Wu" - a worker activist who served more than a year in prison after the strike ended. The New York Times produced a video about Delegate Wu, which gives a sense of his work.
Fan Shigang was born into a family of workers for state-owned enterprises in a northern Chinese city. He has worked as a basic-level employee in several machining factories. He is a contributor to the underground labor periodical, Factory Stories, conducting interviews with factory workers in southern China, documenting their lives, work, and struggles.
Li Wen has worked in electronics and jewelry factories in southern China. She interviews and documents the experience of factory workers who've joined collective struggles, and pays particular attention to issues of occupational injury and disease.
7:30pm to 8:30pm, Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley