BABEL 2023-2024 Season Subscriptions
Season Subscriptions include a ticket for all four BABEL events at Kleinhans Music Hall, as well as virtual links for all four events, offering flexibility for attendees to attend in-person or from home.
BABEL 2023–2024 Authors
- Jhumpa Lahiri (Friday, October 6, 2023) and her book Whereabouts: A Novel
- Michelle Zauner (Thursday, November 9, 2023) and her book Crying in H Mart
- John Irving (Thursday, March 21, 2024) and his book The Cider House Rules
- Kiese Laymon (Thursday, April 25, 2024) and his book Heavy: An American Memoir
All season subscriptions and tickets will be issued via Kleinhans online ticketing for the 2023–2024 season.
- General Admission (includes reserved seating): $120 each
- VIP Patron: $325 each (includes reserved seating and catered pre-event author reception)
NOTE: Currently, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required for entry to BABEL events. We will continue to monitor health and safety recommendations and communicate any changes or updates to ticketholders as necessary. Please note that we are unable to provide refunds for tickets.
Watching from Home?
- If you choose to watch from home instead of attending in-person, the virtual link will be sent to you from email@example.com (you must be subscribed to the Just Buffalo newsletter).
- If you miss the live stream, don’t worry! You will also be granted access to a password-protected event recording, which will be emailed to you within 48 hours of the event and remain accessible for one week.
Jhumpa LahiriBilingual Author & Translator, Educator
JHUMPA LAHIRI, a bilingual writer and translator, is the Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Barnard College (Columbia University). She received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection. She is also the author of The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth, and The Lowland, which was a finalist for both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award in fiction. Since 2015, Lahiri has been writing fiction, essays, and poetry in Italian: In Altre Parole (In Other Words), Il Vestito dei libri (The Clothing of Books), Dove mi trovo (self-translated as Whereabouts), Il quaderno di Nerina, and Racconti romani. She has translated three novels by Domenico Starnone and is the editor of The Penguin Classics Book of Italian Short Stories, which was published in Italy as Racconti Italiani. Lahiri received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2014, and in 2019 she was named Commendatore of the Italian Republic by President Sergio Mattarella. Her most recent book in English is a collection of essays entitled Translating Myself and Others, published in Spring 2022 by Princeton University Press.
Whereabouts: A Novel
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Another masterstroke in a career already filled with them.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies about a woman questioning her place in the world, wavering between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties.
Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. In the arc of one year, an unnamed narrator in an unnamed city, in the middle of her life’s journey, realizes that she’s lost her way. The city she calls home acts as a companion and interlocutor: traversing the streets around her house, and in parks, piazzas, museums, stores, and coffee bars, she feels less alone.
We follow her to the pool she frequents, and to the train station that leads to her mother, who is mired in her own solitude after her husband’s untimely death. Among those who appear on this woman’s path are colleagues with whom she feels ill at ease, casual acquaintances, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. Until one day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will abruptly change.
This is the first novel Lahiri has written in Italian and translated into English. The reader will find the qualities that make Lahiri’s work so beloved: deep intelligence and feeling, richly textured physical and emotional landscapes, and a poetics of dislocation. But Whereabouts, brimming with the impulse to cross barriers, also signals a bold shift of style and sensibility. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.
“It is impossible to imagine the American—or international—literary landscape without John Irving…. He is as close as one gets to a contemporary Dickens in the scope of his celebrity and the level of his achievement.”
“The voice of social justice and compassion in contemporary American literature.” —The Globe and Mail
JOHN IRVING has written fifteen novels over the course of his prolific career, the majority of which have been international bestsellers. He has written some of the most acclaimed books of our time—among them The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and A Widow for One Year.
Born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942, his books explore themes of sexual difference and sexual intolerance, inequalities, and discrimination.
Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times, winning in 1980 for The World According to Garp. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for In One Person. Internationally renowned, his books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. A Prayer for Owen Meany is his best-selling novel, in every language. His most recent novel is The Last Chairlift.
John Irving is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. He lives in Toronto.
The Cider House Rules
“Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying.”
First published in 1985, The Cider House Rules is set in rural Maine in the first half of the twentieth century. The novel tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch—saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist. This is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.
Kiese LaymonAuthor, Educator
Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker, and Mark Twain. He is the author of the award-winning memoir Heavy, the groundbreaking essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the genre-defying novel Long Division.
Laymon’s memoir Heavy won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and was named one of the Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times.
A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable—an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family.
The recipient of an NAACP Image Award for fiction, Laymon is the Libby Shearn Moody Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rice University. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2022.
Heavy: An American Memoir
*Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed (Nonfiction), The Undefeated, Library Journal (Biography/Memoirs), The Washington Post (Nonfiction), Southern Living (Southern), Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times Critics*
In this powerful, provocative, and universally lauded memoir—winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal and finalist for the Kirkus Prize—genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon “provocatively meditates on his trauma growing up as a black man, and in turn crafts an essential polemic against American moral rot” (Entertainment Weekly).
In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. Heavy is a “gorgeous, gutting… generous” (The New York Times) memoir that combines personal stories with piercing intellect to reflect both on the strife of American society and on Laymon’s experiences with abuse. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, he asks us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.
“A book for people who appreciated Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family through years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. “You won’t be able to put [this memoir] down… It is packed with reminders of how black dreams get skewed and deferred, yet are also pregnant with the possibility that a kind of redemption may lie in intimate grappling with black realities” (The Atlantic).
Michelle ZaunerMusician, Author, Director
Musician, author, and director MICHELLE ZAUNER is best known as the frontwoman for her acclaimed indie pop band, Japanese Breakfast, and her bestselling memoir, Crying in H Mart. Named a TIME 100 Most Influential Person, she has won acclaim from major music outlets around the world for releases like Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017).
When Zauner was 25, her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Zauner moved home to become her mother’s caretaker, embarking on a journey that would force a reckoning with her identity and eventually a reclamation of the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Zauner shares her story of family, food, grief, and self-discovery.
Crying in H Mart instantly rocketed to the New York Times bestseller list, where it has stayed for over a year. It was named one of the year’s best books by The New York Times, TIME, NPR, Washington Post, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, and more. President Obama also included Crying in H Mart among his “Favorite Books of the Year.”
Crying in H Mart
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“From the indie rock sensation known as Japanese Breakfast, an unforgettable memoir about family, food, grief, love, and growing up Korean American—’in losing her mother and cooking to bring her back to life, Zauner became herself.'”
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.
Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
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