Ariel Gore: We Were Witches
Monday, November 13, 7:30pm
PEGASUS BOOKS DOWNTOWN
Ariel Gore reads and signs her new novel We Were Witches in which Magick spells and inverted fairy tales combat queer scapegoating, domestic violence, and high-interest student loans!
About We Were Witches
Cashing into the dream that education is the road out of poverty, a teen mom takes a chance on bettering herself, gets on welfare rolls, and talks her way into college. But once she’s there, the phallocratic story of “overcoming” permeates every subject. Creative writing professors depend heavily on Freytag’s pyramid to analyze life. So Ariel turns to a rich subcultural canon of resistance and failure, populated by writers like Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldúa, Tillie Olsen, and Kathy Acker.
Wryly riffing on feminist literary tropes, We Were Witches documents the survival of a demonized single mother. She’s beset by custody disputes, homophobia, and America’s ever-present obsession with shaming odd women into passive citizenship. But even as the narrator struggles to graduate—often the triumphant climax of a dramatic narrative—the question lingers uncomfortably. If you’re dealing with precarious parenthood, queer identity, and debt: What is the true narrative shape of your experience?
Ariel Gore is a journalist, memoirist, novelist, nonfiction author, and teacher. She is a graduate of Mills College and the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She is the founding editor/publisher of Hip Mama, an Alternative Press Award-winning publication covering the culture and politics of motherhood. Her memoir, Atlas of the Human Heart, was a 2004 finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her anthology Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City won a LAMBDA Literary Award in 2010. She has taught at The Attic Institute in Portland, Oregon, at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and at the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.
"Gore's magic-infused narrative. . . .is a moving account of a young writer and mother striving to claim her own agency and find her voice." —Publishers Weekly
"This book mimics the messy, discursive texture of memory—of life. . . . Inventive and affecting." —Kirkus Reviews
"A scathing indictment of a system that works again people who are poor and female as well as a piercing and wise look at one woman's struggle to overcome it." —Booklist
"Gore tells her story with such verve and wit I missed my train stop reading it." —Lambda Literary Review
“Forget Freytag's Pyramid (of Predictable Male Prose)—behold Gore’s Upside Down Triangle (of Fierce Feminist Narrative)! Drawing from myth, fairy tale, the wisdom of third wave literary icons, and the singular experiences of a queer single mama artist trying to survive the nineties, We Were Witches is its own genre, in its own canon. It moves with punk rock grace and confidence, and I totally loved it.” —Kate Schatz, author of Rad American Women A-Z
“We Were Witches is raw and truthful, painfully funny, inspiring of outrage, and alive with the wonder and magic of a feminist awakening. One single mom becoming woke, struggling, and triumphing on her own outsider terms, We Were Witches is a new feminist classic, penned by one the culture’s strongest authors at her most experimental and personal.” —Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave
“Ariel Gore’s We Were Witches is both magical and punk rock—the way it takes traditional values and traditional story structure to task, the way Gore’s protagonist, Ariel, uses witchy intelligence to resist a system totally against her.” —Michelle Cruz Gonzales, author of The Spitboy Rule