We Had a Fête & O What a Glorious Fête It Was

We had our annual Summer Fête on Thursday, June 6th, 2019, at The William Vale, with honoree Gary Shteyngart and guest editor of the 15th anniversary issue Alex Gilvarry. Our sincere thanks to all who made it out in support of the journal; it was our most successful benefit to date.

Epiphany lives.

A necessarily hopscotch survey of the revelry follows, with comments from our intrepid interns below. All photos by Tim Draper.

Before June 6, I had never before attended a fête, much less worked at one. But it was such a pleasure to help organize and set up for the open-air event in the company of fellow literature-lovers and a beautiful New York City view. From setting up the auction items to manning the donations table, I interacted with so many kind and interesting people, invested in words and the work of Epiphany. I also really enjoyed hearing the various readings and the comments of Gary Shteyngart! Overall, I would say the evening was a combination of delectable hors d'oeuvres and great conversation—what more could one ask for? — Anita Sheih

My first Epiphany fête was a night of food and drink and mingling and great views of Manhattan. But the most striking aspect of the celebration was the fact that every person there seemed to be united in appreciation for the mission of Epiphany and the work of its writers. Every attendee, from the Epiphany staff and board to the guests to the readers, and even our honoree Gary Shteyngart, mentioned their love of Epiphany, whether to me in conversation or in a speech to the crowd. This, it seems to me, is the essence of the journal— an undoubtedly great party, fueled by love of literature. — Eleanor Stern

It was a perfect New York night for a rooftop celebration — gentle breeze, warm weather, and stacks of books everywhere. Pulling off such a successful event was not easy, but it was only possible because of our wonderful guests. Even though my internship has just recently begun, the amount of effort that every team member contributed to make the fête happen was evident in the pinpoint focus leading up to it and the abundant smiles of the guests long into the night. The fête was a perfect ode to literature-lovers everywhere. In the words of our featured writer Gary Shteyngart, "Here's to another fifteen years of Epiphany!" — Chiara Kaufman

Smile, America

Smile, America

by Tess Crain

America prizes smiling. Companies in client-facing industries have been known to circulate “service with a smile” policies, which require workers to feign happiness, if necessary, to please customers. “Hey Philly, got a smile only a brother can love?” “Give Us Your Crooked, Crowded, and Snaggled Teeth.” “Come in for a lifetime supply of confidence.” So asks, begs, and pledges SmileDirectClub, one of several fix-your-face startups with pandemic advertising. I understand. I got braces freshman year of high school and did not smile with my mouth open for two years.

Read More

Debate vs. Fight: Notes in the Lead-Up to "the Debate of the Century"

Debate vs. Fight: Notes in the Lead-Up to "the Debate of the Century"

by Tess Crain

Friday night, in Toronto, Slovenian philosopher and analyst Slavoj Žižek will debate Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson on the topic of “Happiness: Capitalism vs. Marxism,” with Stephen Blackwood moderating.

The internet (including Twitter, Toronto Life, the Chronicle, and the Stranger) has a lot to say, and the more you read, the more the debate seems like a title fight or crossover smackdown: it’s the “debate of the century,” a “philoso-fight”; Peterson “wants to throw. The eff. Down”; Žižek will “verbally curbstomp” Peterson—basically, something between Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Conor McGregor, and Alien vs. Predator. Just with words.

Read More

A Single Mind

A Single Mind

by Tess Crain

Some of the best novelists in the Americas and Europe have written about chess—yet one of the best chess novels, Chess Story (published in German as Schachnovelle; also known as The Royal Game) by Stefan Zweig, was written by an otherwise less than superlative author.

Read More

The Shame of Reading

The Shame of Reading

by Tess Crain

This past year, I set out to read a hundred books. All had to count, more or less, however subjectively, as “literature.” As I had read fifty-two not without effort the previous year, the goal was to read more, not more quickly; and since my schedule had not changed in any major way, doubling this number required I make time… mainly by skipping parties, putting off work, and puttering less. The project was self-conscious but—books being central to my life as a writer—seemed worthwhile.

Time began to register in volumes…

Read More

Introducing the Epiphanic

We’re pleased to announce a new monthly feature showcasing four critically minded writers: Zack Graham, Tess Crain, Robb Todd, and Siena Oristaglio. The Epiphanic, so-called, will publish at least one piece each month about an artistic enthusiasm, whether literary, visual, or performative in nature… The intention here is to provide an extended space for critically minded writers to develop their perspectives. If literary culture is to survive well into this new century, the vital role of critics cannot be ignored. Algorithms do not speak with an individual voice; it is the individual voice, finally, or several in conversation, that consecrate literary endeavor. If the perception of value is left to the marketplace alone, well, then, it’s safe to say we all stand to miss a great deal.

Read More