Occasional Music

10 July 2010

Occasional Music was a one-day symposium on the work of the American writer Jonathan Lethem. The first such event to be held anywhere, it was also distinguished by Lethem’s presence; he concluded the day with a reading from Dissident Gardens and other works in progress, and a Q&A session with Joe Brooker.

Lethem’s work brings together numerous areas of interest: science fiction, crime and other genres; New York, California and the experience of place; literary tradition and linguistic play; fandom, comic books and popular music. These and other themes were addressed during a richly interesting day.

Immediately after the symposium, Zara Dinnen recorded an exclusive interview with Lethem in Gordon Square.  This was published as a podcast in Birkbeck's postgraduate online journal Dandelion.




Panel 1: The American Century

Samuel Cohen: So Beautiful, So Stupid, So American

Richard Greenwald: Find Myself a City to Live In

(paper read by Bianca Leggett)

Chair: Peter Boxall


Panel 2: The Outlaw of Genre

James Peacock: Faraway, So Close

Benjamin Widiss: Minna Man, Gushman, Ullman

(paper read by Dennis Duncan)

Chair: Roger Luckhurst


Panel 3: The Frivolous Now

Tony Venezia: Comic Book Guys

Zara Dinnen: Something Borrowed, Something New?

Chair: Samuel Cohen


Panel 4: Love Minus Zero

Adam Gearey: Lethem’s Science of Love

Chair: James Peacock


Jonathan Lethem

Reading from Dissident Gardens, They Live! and Fear of Music

Followed Q&A

Chair: Joe Brooker



Image by Russell McGovern under a CC BY-NC-SA license.


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Author: CCL

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