Anna Shechtman - "The Riddles of the Sphinx: Inheriting the Feminist History of the Crossword Puzzle"

Apr 3 2024 - 7:00pm


Join us on Wednesday, April 3rd at 7pm at Pegasus Books Downtown as we celebrate the launch of New Yorker crossword puzzle designer and L.A. Review of Books Editor-at-Large Anna Shechtman's The Riddles of the Sphinx: Inheriting the Feminist History of the Crossword Puzzle. Shechtman will read from, discuss, and sign copies of her book, available for purchase at the event.

About the book:

Combining the soul-baring confessional of Brain on Fire and the addictive storytelling of The Queen’s Gambit, a renowned puzzle creator’s compulsively readable memoir and history of the crossword puzzle as an unexpected site of women’s work and feminist protest.

The indisputable “queen of crosswords,” Anna Shechtman published her first New York Times puzzle at age nineteen, and later, spearheaded the The New Yorker’s popular crossword section. Working with a medium often criticized as exclusionary, elitist, and out-of-touch, Anna is one of very few women in the field of puzzle making, where she strives to make the everyday diversion more diverse.

In this fascinating work—part memoir, part cultural analysis—she excavates the hidden history of the crossword and the overlooked women who have been central to its creation and evolution, from the “Crossword Craze” of the 1920s to the role of digital technology today. As she tells the story of her own experience in the CrossWorld, she analyzes the roles assigned to women in American culture, the boxes they’ve been allowed to fill, and the ways that they’ve used puzzles to negotiate the constraints and play of desire under patriarchy. The result is an unforgettable and engrossing work of art, a loving and revealing homage to one of our most treasured, entertaining, and ultimately political pastimes.

About the author:

Anna Shechtman is a Klarman Fellow at Cornell University and will be an assistant professor in the Department of Literatures in English in 2024. In addition to her bimonthly crosswords for The New Yorker, she has written for a number of outlets, including ArtForum, The New Inquiry, The New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, Slate, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she is an editor-at-large. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Event address: 
2349 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
The Riddles of the Sphinx: Inheriting the Feminist History of the Crossword Puzzle By Anna Shechtman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063275478
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperOne - March 5th, 2024

Event Category: 
Shattuck Location