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About Sarah Schulman
Sarah Schulman is the author of novels, nonfiction books, plays and movies. Forthcoming in May 2021, LET THE RECORD SHOW: A Political History of ACT UP, NY 1987-1993 (FSG). Her most recent novels are MAGGIE TERRY and THE COSMOPOLITANS,(The Feminist Press) which was picked as one of the "Best Books of 2016" by Publishers' Weekly, and a nonfiction book CONFLICT IS NOT ABUSE: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility and the Duty of Repair (Arsenal). She recently published ISRAEL/PALESTINE AND THE QUEER INTERNATIONAL from Duke University Press, THE GENTRIFICATION OF THE MIND: WItness to a Lost Imagination by University of California Press, the paperback of TIES THAT BIND: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences and the paperback edition of her novel THE MERE FUTURE from Arsenal Pulp.Previous novels are THE CHILD, SHIMMER, EMPATHY, RAT BOHEMIA, PEOPLE IN TROUBLE, AFTER DELORES, GIRLS VISIONS AND EVERYTHING and THE SOPHIE HOROWITZ STORY. Her nonfiction titles are TIES THAT BIND: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences, STAGESTRUCK:Theater, AIDS and the Marketing of Gay America, and MY AMERICAN HISTORY: Lesbian and Gay Life During the Reagan/Bush Years. A working playwright, her productions include: CARSON McCULLERS (published by Playscripts Ink), MANIC FLIGHT REACTION and the theatrical adaptation of Isaac Singer's ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY. As a screenwriter, her films include THE OWLS (co-written with director Cheryl Dunye)- Berlin Film Festival 2010, MOMMY IS COMING (co-written with director Cheryl Dunye)- Berlin Film Festival selection 2011. and JASON AND SHIRLEY, directed by Stephen Winter (Museum of Modern Art). She is co-producer with Jim Hubbard of his feature documentary UNITED IN ANGER: A History of ACT UP. As a journalist, her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, and Interview. She has won a Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwrighting, a Fullbright in Judaic Studies, two American Library Association Book Awards, and is the 2009 recipient of the Kessler Prize for sustained contribution to LGBT studies. Sarah is Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York, College of State Island, a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. A member of the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace, Sarah is faculty advisor to Students for Justice in Palestine at The College of Staten Island. She lives in New York.
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From intimate relationships to global politics, Sarah Schulman observes a continuum: that inflated accusations of harm are used to avoid accountability. Illuminating the difference between Conflict and Abuse, Schulman directly addresses our contemporary culture of scapegoating. This deep, brave, and bold work reveals how punishment replaces personal and collective self-criticism, and shows why difference is so often used to justify cruelty and shunning. Rooting the problem of escalation in negative group relationships, Schulman illuminates the ways cliques, communities, families, and religious, racial, and national groups bond through the refusal to change their self-concept. She illustrates how Supremacy behavior and Traumatized behavior resemble each other, through a shared inability to tolerate difference.
This important and sure to be controversial book illuminates such contemporary and historical issues of personal, racial, and geo-political difference as tools of escalation towards injustice, exclusion, and punishment, whether the objects of dehumanization are other individuals in our families or communities, people with HIV, African Americans, or Palestinians. Conflict Is Not Abuse is a searing rejection of the cultural phenomenon of blame, cruelty, and scapegoating, and how those in positions of power exacerbate and manipulate fear of the "other" to achieve their goals.
Sarah Schulman is a novelist, nonfiction writer, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and AIDS historian, and the author of eighteen books. A Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow, Sarah is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island. Her novels published by Arsenal include Rat Bohemia, Empathy, After Delores, and The Mere Future. She lives in New York.
Finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbriath Award for Nonfiction, the Gotham Book Prize, the ALA Stonewall Israel Fishman Nonfiction Award, and the Lambda Literary LGBTQ Nonfiction Award. A 2021 New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Longlisted for the 2021 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize.
One of NPR, New York, and The Guardian's Best Books of 2021, one of Buzzfeed's Best LGBTQ+ Books of 2021, one of Electric Literature's Favorite Nonfiction Books of 2021, one of NBC's 10 Most Notable LGBTQ Books of 2021, and one of Gay Times' Best LGBTQ Books of 2021.
"This is not reverent, definitive history. This is a tactician’s bible." --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
Twenty years in the making, Sarah Schulman's Let the Record Show is the most comprehensive political history ever assembled of ACT UP and American AIDS activism
In just six years, ACT UP, New York, a broad and unlikely coalition of activists from all races, genders, sexualities, and backgrounds, changed the world. Armed with rancor, desperation, intelligence, and creativity, it took on the AIDS crisis with an indefatigable, ingenious, and multifaceted attack on the corporations, institutions, governments, and individuals who stood in the way of AIDS treatment for all. They stormed the FDA and NIH in Washington, DC, and started needle exchange programs in New York; they took over Grand Central Terminal and fought to change the legal definition of AIDS to include women; they transformed the American insurance industry, weaponized art and advertising to push their agenda, and battled—and beat—The New York Times, the Catholic Church, and the pharmaceutical industry. Their activism, in its complex and intersectional power, transformed the lives of people with AIDS and the bigoted society that had abandoned them.
Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members and rich with lessons for today’s activists, Let the Record Show is a revelatory exploration—and long-overdue reassessment—of the coalition’s inner workings, conflicts, achievements, and ultimate fracture. Schulman, one of the most revered queer writers and thinkers of her generation, explores the how and the why, examining, with her characteristic rigor and bite, how a group of desperate outcasts changed America forever, and in the process created a livable future for generations of people across the world.
'A book of resistance and love, as urgently necessary now as it was thirty years ago' Olivia Laing
First published in 1990, discover this blistering novel about a love triangle in New York during the AIDS crisis. The perfect novel to read after bingeing It's A Sin.
It was the beginning of the end of the world but not everyone noticed right away.
It is the late 1980s. Kate, an ambitious artist, lives in Manhattan with her husband Peter. She's having an affair with Molly, a younger lesbian who works part-time in a movie theater.
At one of many funerals during an unbearably hot summer, Molly becomes involved with a guerrilla activist group fighting for people with AIDS. But Kate is more cautious, and Peter is bewildered by the changes he's seeing in his city and, most crucially, in his wife.
Soon the trio learn how tragedy warps even the closest relationships, and that anger - and its absence - can make the difference between life and death.
'Strong, nervy and challenging' New York Times
As Schulman learns more, she questions the contradiction between Israel's investment in presenting itself as gay friendly—financially sponsoring gay film festivals and parades—and its denial of the rights of Palestinians. At the same time, she talks with straight Palestinian activists about their position in relation to homosexuality and gay rights in Palestine and internationally. Back in the United States, Schulman draws on her extensive activist experience to organize a speaking tour for some of the Palestinian queer leaders whom she had met and trusted. Dubbed "Al-Tour," it takes the activists to LGBT community centers, conferences, and universities throughout the United States. Its success solidifies her commitment to working to end Israel's occupation of Palestine, and it kindles her larger hope that a new "queer international" will emerge and join other movements demanding human rights across the globe.
"More persuasively than any other contemporary novelist, Sarah Schulman traces the ways in which the disenfranchisement that begins as a political evil pervades every aspect of life, from the metaphysical and spiritual to the most intimate moments of two people together."-Tony Kushner
"My surrender to Rat Bohemia is a testimonial to its gimlet-eyed accuracy, its zero-degree honesty. . . . [It blows] the traditional novel off its hinges."-Edmund White, The New York Times Book Review
First published in 1995, this award-winning novel is a bold, achingly honest story set in the "rat bohemia" of New York City, whose huddled masses include gay men and lesbians abandoned by their families and forced to find new bonds with one another in the wake of this loss. Navigating the currents of the city are three friends: Rita Mae, a rat exterminator; Killer, a career plant-waterer; and David, an HIV-positive writer. Together, they seek new ways to be truthful and honest about their lives as others around them avert their glances. Alternately elegiac, defiant, and funny, Rat Bohemia is an expansive novel about how one can cope with loss and heal the wounds of the past by reinventing oneself in the city.
Rat Bohemia won the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction and was named one of the "100 Best Gay and Lesbian Novels of All Time" by the Publishing Triangle.
Sarah Schulman is the author of eleven books, including the novel The Child (2006). She lives in New York.
"Clever word craft, poetic political satire and biting humor on every page."Publishers Weekly
The paperback edition of Sarah Schulman's dystopian satire about urban mores set in New York sometime in the future, when the city has morphed into an idealized version of itself: where rent is cheap, homelessness is nonexistent, and the only job left is marketing. But all is not as it seems, culminating in a murder committed by a prominent New Yorker and a resulting trial that transfixes the city.
Kessler Award-winner Sarah Schulman's other books include Rat Bohemia, The Child, and Ties that Bind.
"Maggie Terry is the most beautiful, most bitter, most sweet, and all around best detective novel I've read in years. Precise, insightful, heartbreaking, and page turning." —Sara Gran, author of The Infinite Blacktop
Post-rehab, Maggie Terry is single-mindedly trying to keep her head down in New York City. There's a madman in the White House, the subways are constantly delayed, summer is relentless, and neighborhoods all seem to blend together.
Against this absurd backdrop, Maggie wants nothing more than to slowly re- build her life in hopes of being reunited with her daughter. But her first day on the job as a private investigator lands her in the middle of a sensational new case: actress strangled. If Maggie is going to solve this mystery, she'll have to shake the ghosts—dead NYPD partner, vindictive ex, steadfast drug habit—that have long ruled her life.
Sarah Schulman is a literary chronicler of the marginalized and subcultural, focusing on queer urban life. She is the author of several books, including The Gentrification of the Mind, Conflict Is Not Abuse, and The Cosmopolitans. She is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at CUN Y, and teaches creative writing at the College of Staten Island.
In this retelling of Balzac’s Parisian classic Cousin Bette, Sarah Shulman spins her revenge story in Mad Men–era New York City. Bette, a lonely spinster, has worked as a secretary at an ad agency for thirty years. Her only real friend is her apartment neighbor Earl, a black, gay actor with a miserable job in a meatpacking plant. Shamed and disowned by their families, both find refuge in New York and in their friendship.
Everything changes when Hortense, Bette’s wealthy niece from Ohio, moves to the city to pursue her own acting career. Her arrival reminds Bette of her scandalous past and the estranged Midwestern family she left behind. When Hortense’s calculating ambitions cause a rift between Bette and Earl, Bette uses her connections in the television ad world to destroy those who have wronged her.
Textured with the grit and gloss of midcentury Manhattan in the days before the Civil Rights and Feminist Movements, The Cosmopolitans “balance[s] the hopes of an entire era on the backs of a fragile relationship. . . . Jarring and beautiful, this is a modern classic” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Montreal, 1979. A boy's speech starts to fracture along with the cement of le Stade olympique. Do they share a fault line? Daniel Allen Cox's unconventional fourth novel tells the story of a boy with a stutter who grows up and uses sound to remember the past. A coming-of-age tale that telescopes through time like an amnesiac memoir, Mouthquake finds its strange beat in subliminal messages hidden in skipping records, in the stutters of celebrities, and in the wisdom of The Grand Antonio, a suspicious mystic who helps the narrator unlock the secret to his speech. This is a loudly exclaimed book of innuendo, rumours, and the tangled barbs of repressed memory that asks: How do you handle a troubling past event that behaves like a barely audible whisper?
Written with a poetic bravado and in a structure that mimics a stutter, the elegiac Mouthquake is speech therapy for the bent: the signal is perverted and the sounds are thrilling.
Includes an afterword by Sarah Schulman, author of Rat Bohemia and The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination.
Daniel Allen Cox is the author of Shuck, Krakow Melt (both Lambda Award finalists), and Basement of Wolves. He also co-wrote Bruce LaBruce's film Gerontophilia, released in the US in 2015.
Sarah Schulman’s writing is bold, provocative, and refreshingly unrepentant. First published in 1994, My American History: Lesbian and Gay Life During the Reagan and Bush Years combines critical commentary with a rich and varied collection of news articles, letters, interviews, and reports in which the author traces the development of lesbian and gay politics in the U.S. In her coverage of many tireless campaigns of activism and resistance, Sarah Schulman documents a powerful political history that most people – gay or straight – never knew happened.
In her Preface to this second edition, Urvashi Vaid argues for the continued relevance of Schulman’s writing to activism in the 21st century, particularly in light of the resurgence of the right in American politics. Also included is a selection of articles by Sarah Schulman for Womanews, in their original print format, with illustrations by Alison Bechdel. The book closes with an interview with the author, conducted by Steven Thrasher, especially for this new edition. It explores AIDS and homophobia during the Reagan/Bush administrations and at the dawn of the Trump era.
My American History is a collection that gives voice to both the personal and political struggles of feminist and lesbian and gay communities in the 1980s. It is an important historical record that will enlighten and inform activists, as well as academics of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, in the 21st century.