Tama Janowitz and Arthur Nersesian champion 'loser lit'
Tama Janowitz and Arthur Nersesian appeared at the 2007 Small Press Book Fair sponsored by the New York Center For Independent Publishers (NYCIP) in New York City to read from their cult classics and talk about their lives and work. Arthur Nersesian, whose latest book, The Sacrificial Circumcision Of The Bronx has just been published by Akashic Press (October, 2008), began by reading from his semi-autobiographical cult classic (if you will excuse the language) The Fuck-Up (MTV/Pocket Books; May, 1999), in which the main character is corrupted by his girl friend with an offer of a Mercedes Benz if he can get her son to show her some respect. The 'fuck-up' proceeds to violently assualt the woman's son, when reason fails him, and ultimately forces the drug-adled boy to apologize to his mother, who in turn is forced to turn over the registration to the Mercedes Benz. Tama Janowitz then took the microphone to read a couple of paragraphs from different parts of her very famous book of short stories, Slaves Of New York (Random House; September, 1986), intermingled with reflections on the indignities of fame and misfortune, before announcing that her new book, They Is Us could not find a U.S. publisher, but is now published by The Friday Project in the U.K. (October, 2008). Janowitz then took questions from the audience, addressing the absurdities of her celebrity status in the world; the cultural biases that have haunted her writing career, forcing her to publish with a small overseas independent press; her affinity for down and out characters and, in the vernacular of the book trade, 'loser lit'. Arthur Nersesian then read a bit from his novel, Chinese Takeout (Harper Perennial; September, 2003), before Janowitz turned the table on the audience, asking who they were and what did they want?.
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