Book Launch: A Matter of Appearance by Emily Wells in conversation with Stephanie LaCava

Book Launch: A Matter of Appearance by Emily Wells in conversation with Stephanie LaCava

Friday Jun 02, 2023
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

28 Adams Street (Corner of Adams & Water Street across from the Archway)
Brooklyn , NY 11201

Get Tickets Here!

This event will be IN-PERSON – masks recommended. RSVP here!

About the Book.

A dazzling memoir of chronic illness that explores the fraught intersection between pain, language, and gender.

Emily Wells spent her childhood dancing through intense pain she assumed was normal for a ballerina pushing her body to its limits. For years, no doctor could tell Wells what was wrong with her, or they told her it was all in her head.

In A Matter of Appearance, Wells traces her journey as she tries to understand and define the chronic pain she has lived with all her life. She draws on the critical works of Freud, Sontag, and others to explore the intersection between gender, pain, and language, and she traces a direct line from the “hysteria patients” at the Salpêtrière Hospital in nineteenth-century Paris to the contemporary New Age healers in Los Angeles, her stomping ground. At the crux of Wells’ literary project is the dilemma of how to diagnose an experience that is both private and public, subjective and quantifiable, and how to express all this in words.

“Gorgeously written and brilliantly argued, A Matter of Appearance uses chronic illness as a lever to investigate the life of a body. It’s complex, inconclusive, and incredibly clear-eyed. Moving fluidly between histories of psychoanalysis, desire, ambition, pathology, Wells reminds us of the liminal state we all live in between sickness and health.”
—Chris Kraus, author of Aliens & Anorexia and Summer of Hate

About the Author.


Emily Wells is a writer based in Los Angeles. She holds an MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside and teaches writing at UC Irvine. She writes for publications including BookforumVogueInterview Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of BooksThe White ReviewFlash Art, and Purple Fashion Magazine. She has been a magazine editor, fashion model, crime reporter, and classically trained ballet dancer.




About the Moderator.

Stephanie LaCava is a writer based in New York City. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Vogue, and Interview. Her debut novel, The Superrationals, was published by Semiotext(e) in 2020.