Writers’ Workshop graduate Alexander Chee will read from his novel, The Queen of the Night, a mesmerizing novel that follows one woman’s rise from circus rider to courtesan to world-renowned diva.
Lilliet Berne is a sensation of the Paris Opera, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role, every singer’s chance at immortality. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her, one wants to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all.
Chee is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, NPR and Out, among others. He is winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship. He lives in New York City, where he curates the Dear Reader series at Ace Hotel New York.
"If Lilliet Berne were a man, she might have been what 19th-century novels would call a swashbuckler: the kind of destiny-courting, death-defying character who finds intrigue and peril (and somehow, always, a fantastic pair of pantaloons) around every corner Paris glittering swirl of artists, aristocrats, and underworld habitues lives vividly in [Alexander Chee's] descriptions; no gaslit chateau or jet-beaded evening dress goes unnoted or unadmired. " —Entertainment Weekly