David Means & Lauren Acampora: in conversation (in person)

Join novelist, Lauren Acampora (THE HUNDRED WATERS, Grove, 2022) in spirited conversation with David Means (TWO NURSES, SMOKING, FSG, 2022) as they discuss craft, the difference of writing novels vs stories, and their new projects.

NB: This reading will take place in-person at HVWC and will be live-streamed on Zoom. Masks are strongly encouraged for all audience members. If you register for a zoom ticket, the link will be sent to the email that you use to register as soon as you reserve a spot. (Please check your spam folder and save the link to your calendar.) It will also be sent to you the day of the reading for your convenience.

Lauren Acampora is the author of The Hundred Waters, The Paper Wasp, and The Wonder Garden, all published by Grove Atlantic. The Hundred Waters, published in August 2022, has been named one of Vogue’s best books of the year, a LitHub best book of the summer, and one of The Millions’ most-anticipated books of 2022. Lauren’s first novel, The Paper Wasp was published in 2019 and named a Best Summer Read by The New York Times Book Review, USA Today, Oprah Magazine, ELLE, Town & Country, BBC.com, Daily Mail (UK), Tatler, Thrillist, and Publishers Weekly, as well as a Best Indie Novel of 2019 by Chicago Review of Books. It was also longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and nominated for the Kirkus Prize. The Wonder Garden, her debut collection of linked stories, was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and an Indie Next selection, and was chosen as one of the best books of 2015 by Amazon and NPR. It won the GLCA New Writers Award and was a finalist for the New England Book Award. It was on the longlist for The Story Prize and nominated for the Kirkus Prize. Lauren is a 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Fiction from The New York Foundation for the Arts. Her short fiction and other writing has appeared in publications such as The Paris ReviewGuernica, New England Review, Missouri ReviewPrairie SchoonerAntioch Review, The New York Times Book Review, and LitHub. She graduated from Brown University, earned an MFA at Brooklyn College, and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, Writers OMI International Residency, and the Ragdale Foundation. Lauren lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, artist Thomas Doyle, and their daughter.

David Means received an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. He is the author seven short story collections, including, Two Nurses Smoking, FSG, 2022) and Instructions for a Funeral (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019). His first novel, Hystopia, was nominated for the Mann Booker Prize. His previous books include Assorted Fire Events, which won the Los Angeles Book Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Spot, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and The Secret Goldfish, which was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. His stories appear frequently in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, The Paris Review, and Zoetrope. He has been the recipient of three O. Henry Prizes, three Pushcart Prizes, and his work has been selected for The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Mystery Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. His non-fiction has appeared in Harper’s and The New York Times. His first non-fiction book, Pivot: Ruminations in the Shadow of Death, is forthcoming from FSG. Means was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013.

A new collection of stories by David Means, a visionary “master of the form” (The Observer).

Two nurses meet in the hospital parking lot to share a cigarette. They flirt and imagine a future together. They tell stories of patients lost and patients saved, of the darkest corners of human suffering and the luminous moments that break through, even here, in the shadow of death.

In David Means’s virtuosic new collection, time unfolds in unexpected ways: a single, quiet moment swells with the echoes of a widower’s complicated marriage; a dachshund, given a new name and a new life by a new owner, catches the scent of the troubled man who previously abandoned her; young lovers become old; estranged couples return to their vows; and those who have died live on in perpetuity in the memories of those whom they touched.

The stories in this collection—winners of the O. Henry Prize and the Pushcart Prize, and selected for The Best American Short Stories in 2021—confirm the promise of a writer who extends “the profound empathy of his attention to those who need it most” (Justin Taylor, The New York Times Book Review). A revelatory meditation on trauma and catharsis, isolation and communion, Two Nurses, Smoking reflects the dislocations and anguish of our age, as well as the humanity and humor that buoy us.

In The News

“Death, loss and the ravages of mental illness aren’t the ingredients for light entertainment, but they make for a memorable reading experience in the exceptional story collection Two Nurses, Smoking by David Means.”
Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“Love does not end when the object of one’s affections disappears. How do we go on? How can we persevere? Such questions sit at the center of this beautiful and complicated book.”
—David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times

“Midway through the title story of his dazzling new collection, Two Nurses, Smoking, David Means suddenly reverses course on the tale you’ve been reading, about two soul-weary health care workers embarking on a tentative romance.”
—Jess Walter, The New York Times

“Means explores the parameters of existence in his dazzling latest . . . Readers will revel in this robust collection. ”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“There’s nothing quite like a David Means story . . . Means is a genius of the fragment . . . [Two Nurses, Smoking is a] remarkable set of stories, which seek to destabilize the illusions of fiction even as they embrace and heighten them. How does he do it?”
Kirkus (starred review)

Two Nurses, Smoking is Means at his best — intelligent, often funny, always beautiful . . . This is a remarkable book not just about grief, but about the moments of brightness that punctuate it, making it both easier and, somehow, even more painful.”
—Michael Schaub, Star Tribune

“David Means taught many in my generation how to make the painfully idiosyncratic wonder of his short stories feel weighted like novels. In Two Nurse, Smoking, Means has offered us his most finely crafted, soulfully achy collection. No writer writes better about the gory gaps between folks who claim to love each other. Shockingly well written.”
—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: A Memoir

“David Means’s new stories are filled with sly wit and quiet brilliance. I left them feeling as if I’d traveled across vast territories of longing and loss led by an expert guide.”
—Jenny Offill, author of Weather

“The stories in Two Nurses, Smoking are classic David Means tales, told with brilliant and stylish precision.”
Emma Cline, author of Daddy and The Girls

“Means is one of the most interesting short story writers working today, shining a light on the most intimate moments.”
—Emily Firetog, Literary Hub (Most Anticipated)

Event Location and Ticket Information

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Hudson Valley Writers Center
300 Riverside Drive
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Sunday, January 22, 2023
Times: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Ticket pricing:
Free event
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