Author Events

Sarah McCammon with STLPR's Jason Rosenbaum - Exvangelicals

Left Bank Books and St. Louis Public Radio presents Sarah McCammon, National Political Correspondent for NPR and cohost of The NPR Politics Podcast, to discuss her highly anticipated first book The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church. Part memoir, part investigative journalism, this is the first definitive book that names and describes the post-evangelical movement: identifying its origins, telling the stories of its members, and examining its vast cultural, social, and political impact.

McCammon will be in conversation with Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio Politics Correspondent and co-host of Politically Speaking.

McCammon will personalize and sign copies after the presentation! Personalized and signed copies will be available to be mailed anywhere in the country. For personalized copies, please order before 11:59PM on March 20th.

Join us at St. Louis Public Radio 
3651 Olive St. 
St. Louis, MO 63108
 

 

 

About the Speakers

Sarah McCammon is a National Political Correspondent for NPR and cohost of The NPR Politics Podcast. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including the intersections of politics and religion, reproductive rights, and the conservative movement. She is also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines and has appeared on the BBC, CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. During the 2016 election cycle, Sarah was NPR's lead political reporter assigned to the Donald Trump campaign and previously reported for NPR Member stations in Georgia, Iowa, and Nebraska. She lives in Norfolk, Virginia with her husband and two children.

Since entering the world of professional journalism in the mid-2000s, Jason Rosenbaum dove head first into the world of politics, policy and even rock and roll music. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Rosenbaum spent more than 4 years in the Missouri State Capitol writing for the Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri Lawyers Media and the St. Louis Beacon. Since moving to St. Louis in 2010, his work has appeared in Missouri Lawyers Media, the St. Louis Business Journal and in the Riverfront Times’ music section. Rosenbaum lives in Richmond Heights with with his wife Lauren Todd, an engineering librarian at Washington University.

 

About The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church

"An intimate window into the world of American evangelicalism. Fellow exvangelicals will find McCammon's story both startlingly familiar and immensely clarifying, while those looking in from the outside can find no better introduction to the subculture that has shaped the hopes and fears of millions of Americans." --Kristin Kobes Du Mez, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus and John Wayne

The first definitive book that names the massive social movement of people leaving the church: the exvangelicals.

Growing up in a deeply evangelical family in the Midwest in the '80s and '90s, Sarah McCammon was strictly taught to fear God, obey him, and not question the faith. Persistently worried that her gay grandfather would go to hell unless she could reach him, or that her Muslim friend would need to be converted, and that she, too, would go to hell if she did not believe fervently enough, McCammon was a rule-follower and--most of the time--a true believer. But through it all, she was increasingly plagued by fears and deep questions as the belief system she'd been carefully taught clashed with her expanding understanding of the outside world.

After spending her early adult life striving to make sense of an unraveling worldview, by her 30s, she found herself face-to-face with it once again as she covered the Trump campaign for NPR, where she witnessed first-hand the power and influence that evangelical Christian beliefs held on the political right.

Sarah also came to discover that she was not alone: she is among a rising generation of the children of evangelicalism who are growing up and fleeing the fold, who are thinking for themselves and deconstructing what feel like the "alternative facts" of their childhood.

Rigorously reported and deeply personal, The Exvangelicals is the story of the people who make up this generational tipping point, including Sarah herself. Part memoir, part investigative journalism, this is the first definitive book that names and describes the post-evangelical movement: identifying its origins, telling the stories of its members, and examining its vast cultural, social, and political impact.

 

 

"No one else could have written The Exvangelicals but Sarah McCammon. The way she seamlessly weaves together her own journalistic expertise and deeply personal experience of leaving evangelicalism to explore this moment in American history is stunning. Immediately after reading this book, I found myself already excited for her next one." --Nadia Bolz-Weber, New York Times bestselling author of Accidental Saints

The Exvangelicals is a sensitive, informed exploration of what is often most personal and perplexing to us--our faith. McCammon takes the scramble of thoughts, feelings, and fears that characterize this era of religious re-examination and makes them legible. This isn't just a book about what evangelicalism has become, it is also about the ways people are trying to find what comes next." --Jemar Tisby, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism

"Sarah McCammon's The Exvangelicals is a necessary and powerful unveiling of Christianity as one of the most powerful forces in American culture and politics. With precision, personal insight, empathy, and rigor, McCammon investigates her own past and in the process illuminates the America of today in all its gory complexities and fervent faith. A must-read for anyone looking to understand American politics, faith, and culture." --Lyz Lenz, author of God LandBelabored, and This American Ex-Wife

"Sarah McCammon is an extraordinary writer and reporter, telling the story of growing numbers of people deeply disillusioned with their religious upbringing. She writes The Exvangelicals with such precision, passion, and insight because she's one of them. Highly recommended." --Brian D. McLaren, author of Do I Stay Christian?

Thursday, March 21, 2024 - 7:00pm

Diana Khoi Nguyen & Cindy Juyoung Ok - Rootwards, Fractured and Fragmented

Left Bank Books presents Diana Khoi Nguyen and Cindy Juyoung Ok for a Night of Poetry. Nguyen and Ok are celebrated rising stars in the world of poetry with Nguyen being a National Book Award finalist and Ok winning the Yale Younger Poets Prize. Please join us as we discuss poetry that is fractured, fragmented, haunting, delectable, and honest. 

Nguyen and Ok will personalize and sign copies after the presentation! Personalized and signed copies will be available to be mailed anywhere in the country. For personalized copies, please order before 11:59PM on March 12th.

Join us at Left Bank Books
399 N Euclid Ave
St. Louis, MO 63108
Watch the livestream on Left Bank Books' YouTube Page
 

 

 

About the Authors

Poet and multimedia artist Diana Khoi Nguyen was born and raised in California. Her debut poetry collection Ghost Of was selected by Terrance Hayes for the Omnidawn Open Contest and was a finalist for the National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It received the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a Colorado Book Award. A Kundiman fellow and member of the Vietnamese diasporic artist collective, She Who Has No Master(s), Nguyen's other honors include awards from the 92Y "Discovery" Poetry Contest, Key West Literary Seminars, and Academy of American Poets. She teaches creative writing at Randolph College Low-Residency MFA and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Cindy Juyoung Ok writes, edits, and teaches poetry.

 

About Root Fractures

*One of LitHub's Poetry Books to Read in 2024*
*One of The Millions's Must Read Poetry Books of Winter 2024*

National Book Award finalist Diana Khoi Nguyen's second poetry collection, a haunting of a family's past upon its present, and a frank reckoning with how loss and displacement transform mothers and daughters across generations.

In Root Fractures, Diana Khoi Nguyen excavates the moments of rupture in a family: a mother who was forced underground after the Fall of Saigon, a father who engineered a new life in California as an immigrant, a brother who cut himself out of every family picture before cutting himself out of their lives entirely. And as new generations of the family come of age, opportunities to begin anew blend with visitations from the past. Through poems of disarming honesty and personal risk, Nguyen examines what takes root after a disaster and how we can make a story out of the broken pieces of our lives.

As Terrance Hayes writes, "'There is nothing that is not music' for this poet. Poetry is found in the gaps, silences, and ruptures of history." This astonishing second collection renders poetry into an act of kintsugi, embellishing what is broken in a family's legacy so that it can be seen in a new light.

 

"In Root Fractures, we come face-to-face with a dark gravitational pull, the great black hole of war. Through the Vietnamese American experience, Diana Khoi Nguyen languages a feeling many of us can relate to, so often buried, silent and deep, within land, blood, bone, into molecular DNA. Yet because a black hole, deceptively, is not empty space, Nguyen tunnels through memories, photographs, family stories, death, grief, belonging and separation, motherland and mother tongue, relocation and empire--the points of entry and departure in those holes left in her siblings, parents, grandparents, and skyward to generations before. 'A hole is a hole, but none of them are the same, ' Nguyen writes. Yet, she reminds us, there is a way out. As they 'illuminate what once was broken, ' each of these poems glimmers and pulses along a pathway out--not for one person alone, but as enduring starlight, for generations to come." --Layli Long Soldier, author of Whereas

"When I say that Diana Khoi Nguyen's work is deeply moving and unsettling, I mean that her words move and unsettle ideas about diaspora, identity, and loss in startling and gorgeous ways. I can't get enough of this devastation." --Beth Nguyen, author of Owner of a Lonely Heart

 

About Ward Toward

Yale Younger Poet Cindy Juyoung Ok resolutely searches for hope in spaces of fragmentation

"Ok's métier in this lovely debut is an elegantly discursive, analytical style studded with ironies."--David Woo, Literary Hub

"There are places," Cindy Juyoung Ok writes, "where shaking is expected, loss is / assumed."

In the 118th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Ok moves assuredly between spaces--from the psych ward to a prison cell, from divided countries to hospice wards. She plumbs these institutions of constraint, ward to ward, and the role of each reality's language, word to word, as she uncovers fractured private codes and shares them in argument, song, and prayer.

Using visual play in invented forms, Ok counters familiar narratives about mental illness, abuse, and death, positing that it is not a person's character or will that makes survival possible, but luck, and other people. The poems disrupt expectation with the comedy of institutionalized teens, nostalgia after the climate crisis, tenderness in a nursing home, and the wholeness of faltering Englishes. How do pagodas, Seinfeld, ransoms, swans, and copays each make or refuse meaning? Ok's resolute, energized debut shifts language's fissures to reassemble them into a new place of belonging.

 

"With brio and sorrow, Ok's book investigates such subjects as hospitalization for a major depressive disorder, the anti-Asian Atlanta spa shootings, and the failures of romantic and familial love. . . . Ok's métier in this lovely debut is an elegantly discursive, analytical style studded with ironies."--David Woo, Literary Hub

"Cindy Juyoung Ok's debut moves through spaces seamlessly--psych ward, hospice care, nation upon nation--and unites them through an impressive articulation of their violences."--Summer Farah, The Millions, "Must-Read Poetry: Winter 2024"

Ward Toward is a piercing debut: a startle, a fissioning. These poems fragment, cleave and cluster, seek new grammars, strategize not for cohesion but proximity, convergence."--Donika Kelly, author of The Renunciations

"Reading Cindy Juyoung Ok's poems is like witnessing the Big Bang in close-up slow motion--infinite collisions of syntax, thought and emotion--pyrotechnic and glorious. This debut volume spectacularly showcases an utterly singular poetic sensibility."--Monica Youn, author of From From

"A delectable, scintillating read that leaps long into strangely elegant foray. In the dwelled, survived, and warded world, this poetic is utterly remarkable and calls for a rainstorm of awards."--Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, author of Look at This Blue

"Cindy Juyoung Ok is a wonderfully inventive poet. . . . She writes in many forms, some invented, and her constant impulse is to break the frame, to escape oppressive containment."--Rae Armantrout, from the Foreword to Ward Toward

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 - 6:00pm

Eric von Schrader - A Universe Revealed

Left Bank Books presents St. Louis-raised author, documentarian, and television producer Eric von Schrader to discuss Book 3 in the Intersecting Worlds trilogy A Universe Revealed! Join us to welcome Eric back to St. Louis to help him celebrate this series that tells of an alternate universe hidden next to St. Louis. 

Von Schrader will personalize and sign copies after the presentation! Personalized and signed copies will be available to be mailed anywhere in the country. For personalized copies, please order before 11:59PM on March 5th.

Join us at Left Bank Books
399 N Euclid Ave
St. Louis, MO 63108
Watch the livestream on Left Bank Books' YouTube Page
Please RSVP as space is limited

 

 

About the Author

In my career, I have made documentary films, produced television shows, and worked as a training writer for business. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent most of my life there. I have always been fascinated by the older parts of the city and their echoes of a lost world. Those neighborhoods and streets  are etched deep into my brain. My thoughts about what St. Louis is, what it was (all the way back to Cahokia), and what it might become are the origins of these books.

A few years ago, my wife and I moved to Carpinteria, California. I've always wanted to live by the ocean. 

 

About A UNIVERSE REVEALED

Book 3 of Intersecting Worlds

A secret makes you play its game. And when you play it, the secret wins. Always.

How do you keep the biggest secret in history, especially when a master spy is snooping around?

In A Universe Revealed, Diyami Red Hawk is pursuing a sacred mission to build a new Native American city at the ancient site of Cahokia. But his success is based on a lie. If anyone finds out, will his project come crashing down?

For years, Jim Collins, a financial genius and a superb poker player, has been haunted by the mystery of his father, who was “very famous, but you’ll never find anyone who has heard of him.” When he meets Billy and Carol Boustany, he feels hope for the first time.

They introduce him to Diyami, who desperately needs his strategic wisdom when an old adversary re-emerges with new threats. Together, they all come up with a plan to defeat the secrets. It brings the Intersecting Worlds trilogy to an astounding conclusion.

 

Praise for the series:

"With Eric von Schrader, expect an unforgettable world of surprises and fun. I had an amazing time - and so will you." -- Charlie Brennan, author of Only in St. Louis!, radio and television host

An enjoyable, gentle fantasy that gives new meaning to the phrase "Spirit of St. Louis."-Kirkus Reviews

"I read A Universe Less Traveled in two days, which I never do. It's an intriguing novel of ideas and a lively adventure yarn as well, told in a brisk, readable style." - David Carkeet, author of I Been There Before, The Full Catastrophe and other novels

"What if there existed a better, more successful, happier St. Louis than the one we know? A place where men wear shorts in the summer, a place where people sometimes break into song and street parties are a must-see for the tourists who flock to St Louis from all over the world. What would a visitor from our St. Louis think of that St. Louis - and what would the people of that St. Louis think of us? It's hard to come up with original ideas, but Eric von Schrader has done it. A wistful take on our continuing angst of what we might have been." - Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"There have been many tales of parallel worlds, but few have offered this much heart, imagination, and good old-fashioned storytelling fun." - Steve Pick, Co-author of St. Louis Sound: An Illustrated Timeline

"For St. Louis sci-fi buffs, 'A Universe Less Traveled' amounts to Must Reading - and then some. Eric von Schrader's St. Louis is actually two cities - the one that we all know and then the other. It's an idyllic place, with splendid architecture, a booming economy and a rapidly growing population of people content with their lot. The two cities somehow exist at the same time, each unbeknown to the other. Except for a few people, and they form the basis of von Schrader's saga. Principal among them is Billy Boustany, who owns of string of poorly performing appliance stores in our city and its suburbs. One day, by accident, he manages to cross into the Other St. Louis, where he marvels at its wonders. His back-and-forthing between the two versions of St. Louis makes up much of this tale's complicated plot."-St. Louis Post Dispatch

 

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 - 7:00pm

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