Tuesday, February 19
EAST BAY BOOKSELLERS welcomes Sandy Allen to discuss A Kind of Mirraculous Paradise, on Tuesday, February 19th at 7pm. They will joined in conversation by friend of the store Rahawa Haile.
Sandy Allen did not know their uncle Bob very well. As a child, Sandy had been told Bob was “crazy,” that he had spent time in mental hospitals while growing up in Berkeley in the 60s and 70s. But Bob had lived a hermetic life in a remote part of California for longer than Sandy had been alive, and what little Sandy knew of him came from rare family reunions or odd, infrequent phone calls. Then in 2009 Bob mailed Sandy his autobiography. Typewritten in all caps, a stream of error-riddled sentences more than sixty, single-spaced pages, the often-incomprehensible manuscript proclaimed to be a “true story” about being “labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic,” and arrived with a plea to help him get his story out to the world.
“Searing” (O, The Oprah Magazine), “enthralling” (Star-Tribune, Minneapolis), and “a marvel” (Esquire), A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise shows how Sandy translated Bob’s autobiography, artfully creating a gripping coming-of-age story while sticking faithfully to the facts as he shared them. Sandy also shares background information about their family, the culturally explosive time and place of their uncle’s formative years, and the vitally important questions surrounding schizophrenia and mental healthcare in America more broadly. The result is a heartbreaking and sometimes hilarious portrait of a young man striving for stability in his life as well as his mind, and an utterly unique lens into an experience that, to most people, remains unimaginable.
* * *
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandy Allen is a writer, speaker, editor and teacher. Their essays and features stories have been published by BuzzFeed News, CNN Opinion, Bon Appétit's Healthyish, and Pop-Up Magazine. Sandy was previously BuzzFeed News's deputy features editor. They also founded and ran the online-only literary quarterly Wag's Revue. Sandy's work focuses on constructs of normalcy, including psychiatric disability and gender. Sandy is non-binary trans. Originally from Muir Beach, CA, they live in the Catskills. A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise is their first book. For more, visit HelloSandyAllen.com
Rahawa Haile is an Eritrean American writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Outside, and Pacific Standard. In Open Country, her forthcoming memoir about through-hiking the Appalachian Trail, explores what it means to move through American and the world as a black woman.