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Barry Yourgrau and Aimee Bender | Magical Mess: Reflections on Objects and Memories

Barry Yourgrau
In conversation with Aimee Bender
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Episode Summary


Writer-performer Barry Yourgrau is a clutterbug—perhaps even a hoarder. In his hilarious and poignant memoir Mess: One Man’s Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act, he unpacks the psychology and culture of hoarding, clutter, and collecting, presenting a compelling look at a mysterious compulsion. Confronted by his exasperated girlfriend, Yourgrau embarked on a wide-ranging project to clean up his chaotic New York apartment and life. Known for his books of magical absurd stories, including Wearing Dad’s Head, Haunted Traveller, and The Sadness of Sex, in whose film version he starred, Yourgrau will join magical realist writer Aimee Bender to ponder the power of objects and memories, and the pain of letting go.

For more information about the program, including photos, visit the event page


Participant(s) Bio
Writer-performer Barry Yourgrau is the author of acclaimed books of brief fiction, including Wearing Dad’s Head and The Sadness of Sex, in whose film version he starred. He’s appeared on MTV and NPR, and written for the New York Times, Huffington Post, Paris Review, and Vice, among others. Born in South Africa, he lives in New York and Istanbul.
Aimee Bender is author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (NY Times Notable Book), An Invisible Sign of My Own (LA Times Pick of the Year), Willful Creatures (The Believer’s “Best Books of the Year”), The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (SCIBA Award, Alex Award), and The Color Master (NY Times Notable Book). Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper’s, Tin House, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and has been heard on PRI’s “This American Life” and “Selected Shorts.” She has received two Pushcart Prizes as well as nominations for the TipTree Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches creative writing at USC.