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Saugatuck Scribes: Memoirs

Wed, September 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

Hear about books written by your Westport neighbors in the Saugatuck Scribes series! This event presents two memoirs from Westport native Anya Liftig and Diane Lowman, the Town's former poet laureate, who will be in conversation with each other. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

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Anya Liftig grew up with a foot in two very different worlds: While her mother’s upbringing was so rural that the other kids called her “holler rat,” her father came from a comfortable, upper-middle-class Jewish family. Liftig spent school years in Westport in the '80s and '90s and summers in the holler. Shaped by the experience, she would go on to win a scholarship to Yale and become an acclaimed artist, using provocative performances to explore the contradictions and unanswered questions of her life. In Holler Rat, Liftig masterfully interweaves family lore from her Appalachian childhood with her performance art pieces and scenes of the yearlong period in which her life fell apart and plumbs the cathartic self-reckoning that followed. She takes us from her Mamaw’s porch to Yale, from the site of a violent family land feud to a pre-gentrified Bushwick loft, and from a devastating childhood leg injury to having 243 raw eggs pelted at her in the name of art. In visceral, beautiful prose that ranges from raunchy and outrageous to sobering and tragic, Holler Rat is the origin story of an unconventional artistic life and a captivating account of the stumbling blocks, sacrifices, and discoveries along the way.

In search of fulfillment and purpose, Diane embarks on a life-changing adventure: a senior year abroad studying her literary hero at the prestigious Shakespeare Institute in Stratford Upon Avon. With nothing to hold her back, she sells her belongings and enrolls in the M.A. program, ready to take on the challenge of being a “mature student” and expatriate. In this captivating memoir, The Undiscovered Country: Seeing Myself Through Shakespeare’s Eyes, Diane shares her transformative experiences, both personal and academic, as she immerses herself in the world of Shakespeare. Follow her on this exciting and sometimes tumultuous journey, as she learns as much about herself as she does about the works of the Bard. Award-winning essayist and author of Nothing But Blue, Diane Meyer Lowman invites you to join her on this physical, emotional, and mental voyage of discovery.

Diane Lowman is an award-winning essayist, memoirist, and poet, who  served as Westport’s inaugural Poet Laureate from 2019-2022. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine; Brain, Child; and Brevity Blog, and she writes a regular column, Everything’s an Essay. Her first memoir, Nothing But Blue was published in 2018. Diane received her MA in Shakespeare Studies from the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute and has explored other forms of literary expression in more than 2,500 haiku (link to LotusHaiku) and in essays on and reviews of Shakespeare’s plays in various academic publications. Diane teaches writing, Shakespeare, and yoga, and divides her time between her hometown of Westport, CT, and her home away from home in Stratford Upon Avon, England.

A writer and artist, Anya Liftig's work has been featured at TATE Modern, MOMA, CPR, Highways Performance Space, Lapsody4 Finland, Fado Toronto, Performance Art Institute, Queens Museum, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Performer Stammtisch Berlin, OVADA, Joyce Soho and many other venues. In “The Anxiety of Influence” she dressed exactly like Marina Abramovic and sat across from her all day during “The Artist is Present” exhibition. Her work has been published and written about in The New York Times Magazine, BOMB, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Italia, Next Magazine, Now and Then, Stay Thirsty, New York Magazine, Gothamist, Jezebel, Hyperallergic, Bad at Sports, The Other Journal, and many others. She is a graduate of Yale University and Georgia State University and has received grant and residency support from MacDowell, Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Franklin Furnace, KHN Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Museum, Mertz Gilmore, Flux Projects, University of Antioquia and Casa Tres Patios-Medellin, Colombia.

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Wed, September 27
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
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