Join us for a reading and conversation between two Ithaca authors celebrating the publication of their new books: Alexandra Chang, author of the novel Days of Distraction, and Michael Prior, author of the poetry collection Burning Province. The official launch of our Ithaca Is Books Zoom Reading Series! Register here.
Alexandra Chang is the author of the debut novel Days of Distraction, published on March 31 by Ecco/HarperCollins. Her short fiction has appeared in Catapult, Glimmer Train, LARB Quarterly Journal, Room, 3:AM Magazine, and Zoetrope: All Story, where she won First Prize in the 2017 Short Fiction Competition. She’s from Northern California, and currently lives in Ithaca, NY with her husband, and their dog and cat.
Days of Distraction seized my attention like no other novel, distracting me entirely from my own life. The magic of this book is that its scale seems small, fixating on the minute details that make up our days: the anxieties, the obsessions, the observations made in the office, the neighborhood, the coffee shop. And yet inside Alexandra Chang’s brilliant narrator is a grand, restless consciousness, offering a portrait of a woman disappointed, lonely, angry, amused, and longing, who wants more of others—of her bosses, of her boyfriend, of white people—and who wants more for her one life. This is a book about America, and also an American love story, one that will leave you achingly awakened. —Eleanor Henderson, author of The Twelve-Mile Straight
Michael Prior is a writer and teacher. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and anthologies across North America and the UK, including Poetry, The New Republic, Narrative, Ambit, The Margins, Verse Daily, Global Poetry Anthology 2015, The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry, and the Academy of American Poets' Poem-A-Day series. He is a past winner of Magma Poetry's Editors' Prize, The Walrus's Poetry Prize, and Matrix Magazine's Lit POP Award for Poetry. His first full-length book of poems, Model Disciple, was published by Véhicule Press in 2016 and was named one of the best books of the year by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His second book, Burning Province, was published by McClelland & Stewart/Penguin Random House in Spring 2020.
Michael holds graduate degrees from the University of Toronto and Cornell University. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Macalester College.
A magnificent collection. In a voice tenderly apocalyptic, Burning Province transmutes inherited stories and silences around the internment of Japanese-Canadians at the outbreak of World War II into a sublime testimony of resilience. These poems enact with technical conviction Simone Weil’s dictum, ‘no grandeur except in gentleness.’ Michael Prior’s fierce gentleness is an exciting and exacting talent. —Ishion Hutchinson, author of House of Lords and Commons