Last night we had the great pleasure of hosting Bryan Washington for a pub-week celebration of his debut novel, Memorial—a profoundly sensitive story about the rough boundaries of love in a multicultural society (Ron Charles, The Washington Post). The first novel by the author of bookseller favorite, Lot, is already drawing rave reviews from The New York Times Book Review, Booklist, and NPR, is the latest Good Morning America book club pick, has garnered a TV deal from A24, but our booksellers knew this moment was bound to come sooner or later. Early reviews in-store had this to say about Memorial:
From Christine H.: “Washington’s book is all about seeing each other and ourselves as ‘fully realized human beings’ complete with all the imperfections.”
From Uriel P.: “Memorial sets the standard for literary fiction this decade and beyond. This bountiful treatise on love, life, (plenty of food!), and queerness must be read, shared, and held close upon completion.
From Eugenia V.: “Bryan Washington writes like no one else, and I want so badly to live inside his sentences.“
From Tomoko B.: “Memorial is quiet, with humor like a wry smile; introspectively attending to and elevating all the mundane things that populate daily life.”
Washington was joined by National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming, Red at the Bone, Another Brooklyn) to discuss everything from the novel’s origins to their literary muses (i.e. Rachel Khong and N. K. Jemisin), quarantine activities and go-to snacks, to some of Washington’s favorite food sites and YouTube channels. They include:
Be sure to check out Bryan’s own food writing for The New Yorker while you’re at it, too!
The event was filled with such humor and joy and fabulous audience questions that we got to escape real life for just a little while. We got to hear about Washington’s time spent in Japan (one of the settings of Memorial), the movies he loves. And while we don’t have a recording of our event to share, we encourage you to check out his interview with Seth Meyers that aired just hours after our own virtual event. They cover a lot of similar topics, and it’ll only get you give you more reason to grab a copy of Memorial as soon as possible! Watch it below:
Signed copies of Memorial, along with titles mentioned in this post, are available now from BookPeople in-store and online now. BookPeople ships everywhere mail can be delivered, has curbside pickup options available, and is open to the public at limited capacity.
About Bryan Washington
Bryan Washington is a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honoree and the author of the collection, Lot. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The Paris Review, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, GQ, The Awl, and Catapult. He lives in Houston.