Maria Tumarkin, "Axiomatic," with Rebecca Godfrey
September 20, 2019, 7:00 PM
How to speak of the searing, unpindownable power that the past—ours, our family’s, our culture’s—wields in the present?
Drawing on nine years of research, Axiomatic explores the ways we understand the traumas we inherit and the systems that sustain them. In five sections―each one built on an axiom about how the past affects the present―Tumarkin weaves together true and intimate stories of a community dealing with the extended aftermath of a suicide, a grandmother’s quest to kidnap her grandson to keep him safe, one community lawyer’s struggle inside and against the criminal justice system, a larger-than-life Holocaust survivor, and the history of the author’s longest friendship.
With verve, wit, and critical dexterity, Tumarkin asks questions about loss, grief, and how our particular histories inform the people we become in the world. Axiomatic, winner of the Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award, shortlisted for the Stella Prize, and shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, introduces an unforgettable voice.
Maria Tumarkin is a writer and cultural historian. She is the author of three previous books of ideas Traumascapes, Courage, and Otherland, all of which received critical acclaim in Australia, where she lives. Her most recent work, Axiomatic, won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award. Tumarkin collaborates with visual artists, audio creatives, psychologists, and historians, and holds a PhD in cultural history from the University of Melbourne, where she teaches in the creative writing program.
Axiomatic is her first book the appear in the US.
Rebecca Godfrey is an award-winning novelist and journalist. Her first novel, The Torn Skirt, was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Under The Bridge received one of Canada’s largest literary awards, the British Columbia Award for Canadian Nonfiction, as well as the Arthur Ellis Award for Excellence in Crime Writing. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and has received fellowships from Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony. In 2016, she edited and curated the multimedia exhibition, Girls In Trees. She teaches writing at Columbia University, and lives with her family in upstate New York.