Author Talks: Elif Batuman on Either/Or

Join us for a conversation with Elif Batuman about her new bestselling novel Either/Or, and the larger oeuvre of a beloved writer who’s given us new ways to think—and laugh—about how books shape our lives.

In her acclaimed debut novel The Idiot, Batuman introduced us to Selin, a reluctant protagonist and unforgettable narrator searching her way through freshman year at Harvard, grappling with the confusions of first love and the growing realization that she is doomed to become a writer. In Either/Or, it’s sophomore year and Selin’s quest for self-knowledge finds her trying to figure out the meaning of everything that happened over the summer. But then she sets out, with a prod from Kierkegaard, to seek the kinds of experiences she’ll need in order to ponder a lasting question: how does one live a life as interesting as a novel—a life worthy of becoming a novel—without going crazy?

Batuman will be joined in conversation, for this special event  in our new Author Talks series, by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. Books will be available for sale, and a book signing with Elif Batuman will follow the conversation.

Elif Batuman’s first novel, The Idiot, was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK. She is also the author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. She has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2010 and holds a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University. Either/Or was published earlier this year by Penguin Press.

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is Editor-at-Large of the Pioneer Works Broadcast, and a geographer and writer whose books include Names of New York, Island People, and,with Rebecca Solnit, Nonstop Metropolis. His work appears regularly in The New York Review of BooksThe New Yorker, and The New York Times,  among many other publications. He teaches at NYU.

This program is part of PW Broadcast's Author Talks, a series highlighting authors and thinkers across disciplines.

Pioneer Works Broadcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, bridging the two cultures of science and the arts.