Charis welcomes Myriam Gurba in conversation with Randa Jarrar for a discussion of Creep: Accusations and Confessions, a ruthless and razor-sharp essay collection that tackles the pervasive, creeping oppression and toxicity that has wormed its way into society—in our books, schools, and homes, as well as the systems that perpetuate them—from the acclaimed author of Mean, and one of our fiercest, foremost explorers of intersectional Latinx identity. This event is co-sponsored by the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion. Part of the Division of Equity and Inclusion at Agnes Scott College, the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion is committed to fostering a community that celebrates and honors the intersections of identity.
A creep can be a singular figure, a villain who makes things go bump in the night. Yet creep is also what the fog does—it lurks into place to do its dirty work, muffling screams, obscuring the truth, and providing cover for those prowling within it.
Creep is Myriam Gurba’s informal sociology of creeps, a deep dive into the dark recesses of the toxic traditions that plague the United States and create the abusers who haunt our books, schools, and homes. Through cultural criticism disguised as personal essay, Gurba studies the ways in which oppression is collectively enacted, sustaining ecosystems that unfairly distribute suffering and premature death to our most vulnerable. Yet identifying individual creeps, creepy social groups, and creepy cultures is only half of this book’s project—the other half is examining how we as individuals, communities, and institutions can challenge creeps and rid ourselves of the fog that seeks to blind us.
With her ruthless mind, wry humor, and adventurous style, Gurba implicates everyone from Joan Didion to her former abuser, everything from Mexican stereotypes to the carceral state. Braiding her own history and identity throughout, she argues for a new way of conceptualizing oppression, and she does it with her signature blend of bravado and humility.
Myriam Gurba is a writer and artist. She is the author of the true crime memoir Mean, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. O, The Oprah Magazine, ranked Mean as one of the best LGBTQ books of all time. Publishers Weekly describes Gurba as having a voice like no other. Her essays and criticism have appeared in The Paris Review, Time, and 4Columns. She has shown art in galleries, museums, and community centers. She lives in Pasadena, California.
Randa Jarrar is the author of the memoir Love Is An Ex-Country, the novel A Map of Home, and the collection of stories Him, Me, Muhammad Ali. She is a filmmaker and actor who has appeared in independent films and on the A24 TV shows Ramy and #1 Happy Family USA. She is a recipient of a Creative Capital Award and an American Book Award, as well as awards and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, PEN, and others. She lives in Los Angeles.
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“Quite simply one of the best books of the decade.” —Los Angeles Review of Books * “The mother of intersectional Latinx identity.” —Cosmopolitan * “Essential reading, a California classic.” —Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers * “Witty, confident, and effortlessly provocative.” —The Philadelp
Gurba grows up queer, chicana, and take no prisoners. Her story is a revelation, a delight, and an eye-opener.
In this artfully crafted collection of new short stories by award-winning author Myriam Gurba, nothing is as it seems on the surface. A Mexican grandmother tells creepy yet fascinating ghost stories to her granddaughters as a way to make them sit still (How Some Abuelitas Keep Their Chicana Granddaughters Still So That They Can Paint Their Portraits in Winter).
Chicana. Goth. Dykling. Desiree Garcia knows she's weird and a weirdo magnet. To extinguish her strangeness, her parents ship her to Saint Michael's Catholic High School, then to Mexico, but neurology can't be snuffed out so easily: Screwy brain chemistry holds the key to Desiree's madness.
Queer. Muslim. Arab American. A proudly Fat femme. Randa Jarrar is all of these things. In this "exuberant, defiant and introspective" memoir of a cross-country road trip, she explores how to claim joy in an unraveling and hostile America (The New York Times Book Review).
Award-winning novelist Randa Jarrar's new story collection moves seamlessly between realism and fable, history and the present, capturing the lives of Muslim women and men across myriad geographies and circumstances.