What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

Moderator: John Freeman

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

Thursday, Oct 22

Join us for a heady evening of ideas. Three Freeman’s contributors from three different genres, born on three different continents, talk about the way love makes a story, a poem, and the shape of a memoir. Mieko Kawakami is the award winning author of Breasts & Eggs, her North American debut, and is declared by Haruki Murakami as his favorite new Japanese novelist; Daniel Mendelsohn is the National Book Critics Circle Award winning author of The Lost, translator of poems of Cavafy, and his latest genre bending tale, Three Rings: A Tale of Exile, Narrative and Fate, and Valzynha Mort is a poet and translator and author of four books. Born in Belarus, she now lives in Ithaca, New York. Her latest collection is Music for the Dead and Resurrected. Join Festival favourite John Freeman as he leads a discussion on a topic we could all use a little more of in our lives: love.

This podcast will be released at 8:00pm PDT on Thursday, October 22. Click here to subscribe to Books & Ideas Audio to be notified when the podcast is released.

Event Participants:

John Freeman

United States

JOHN FREEMAN is an American writer and literary critic. The former president of the National Book Critics Circle, Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary biannual, and author of two books of nonfiction. The former editor of Granta and current executive editor at LitHub, he lives in New York, where he teaches at The New School and is Distinguished Writer-in Residence at New York University.

Mieko Kawakami


MIEKO KAWAKAMI made her literary debut as a poet in 2006. The following year, her first novella, My Ego, My Teeth, and the World, was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. Kawakami then published Breasts and Eggs in 2008, and won Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize. In 2016, she was selected as Granta Best of Young Japanese Novelist. She was born in Osaka prefecture, Japan.

Daniel Mendelsohn

United States

DANIEL MENDELSOHN is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, where he is the Editor at Large. His books include the international bestsellers An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and an Epic, a PBS/New York Times Book Club Pick and a Best Book of the Year by NPR and many others and The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Prix Médicis in France.

Valzhyna Mort

United States / Belarus

VALZHYNA MORT was born in Minsk, Belarus, and writes in Belarusian and English. Her new book, Music for the Dead and Resurrected, is coming out in November 2020 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.