Like writing, cities are all about process, the back-and-forth between our aspirations and our abilities; we walk to discover them and to discover ourselves. In this dialogue, moderated by Los Angeles native Louise Steinman, Vivian Gornick and David L. Ulin investigate the role of the city as both literary and psychic landscape. For Gornick, who was born and raised in the Bronx and is the author of the new memoir of self-discovery, The Odd Woman and the City, New York is the city that provokes. While for Ulin, as a Manhattan-raised Southern California transplant and author of the compelling inquiry, Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, L.A. is the terrain that inspires. What do their journeys have in common? What sets these two cities, and their literature, apart?
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Vivian Gornick is the author of the acclaimed memoir Fierce Attachments, a biography of Emma Goldman, and three essay collections, two of which, The Men in My Life and The End of the Novel of Love, were finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent book, another memoir The Odd Woman and the City, is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award as well.
David L. Ulin is the author or editor of eight previous books, including The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he is the former book critic and book editor of the Los Angeles Times.