Anne Carson, Hilton Als, and Sam Anderson: Herakles in New York

Wed. Jun 1, 2022 7:00pm - 8:00pm EDT
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The poet and translator joins The New Yorker theater critic to read and discuss H of H Playbook, her recreation of Euripides’s 5th-century BC play Herakles. myth of Herakles, aka Hercules, is the tale of a “brutalized and brutalizing hero.” Returning home after years of his famous and violent “labors,” Herakles finds he cannot adapt himself to a life of peacetime domesticity. He goes berserk and murders his whole family. Suicide is his next idea, but thanks to the intervention of his friend Theseus, Herakles comes to believe he is not indelibly stained by his own crimes, nor is his life without value.

Anne Carson’s H of H Playbook is a “strange and surprisingly timely” reimagination of Euripides’ play. She reads selections from the book along with Hilton Als, followed by an interview with Sam Anderson from The New York Times Magazine.

To join in-person | Please be sure to register for an In-Person Ticket. Doors will open 30 minutes before the program begins. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form shortly before the program.

To join the livestream | A livestream of this event will be available on the NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register!


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In-Person | Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template. This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs. A visual navigation guide is available here.

Livestream | Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media used over the course of the conversation will be accompanied by alt text and/or audio description. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template.


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Anne Carson was born in Canada and teaches ancient Greek for a living.


Hilton Als is a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer and chief theatre critic at The New Yorker. He has received numerous awards, including the New York Association of Black Journalists' first prize for Magazine/Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment, a Guggenheim fellowship for Creative Writing, a George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and the American Academy's Berlin Prize. He is a Professor at Columbia University's Writing Program, and his work has appeared in The NationThe Believer, and New York Review of Books. He lives in New York City.

Sam Anderson is a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, where he has written portraits of writers (Haruki Murakami, Anne Carson, John McPhee) and athletes (Kevin Durant, Bill Walton, Phil Jackson) and odd places all over the world, including Mount Rushmore and a Charles Dickens theme park. His work has won a National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism, as well as the National Book Critics Circle's Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and has been included in multiple "Best American Writing” anthologies. Anderson is the author of the book Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-Class Metropolis.


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LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund, and the support of Library patrons and friends.

This program is made possible by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Additional support is provided by the Consulate General of Canada in New York.

Anne Carson © Peter Smith

Hilton Als © Brigette Lacombe

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Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), 7th Floor Event Center 455 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016