Do you feel like your life resembles an office farce? While Millennials have been blamed for the downfall of homeownership, the diamond industry, and even napkins — Ling Ma’s debut novel Severance shows what life might look like when you don’t notice the apocalypse because you’re so entrenched in the endless routines of a pointless job. Ling will read from her novel and talk about millennials in the workplace with New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino.
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In Ling Ma’s Severance (FSG, 2018), first generation-American and millennial worker bee Candace Chen can’t tell if it is the end of the world or just another day at the office. Committed to her work coordinating the production of Bibles for a printing company, she barely notices that a mysterious infection called Shen Fever has spread throughout New York City, and joins up with a group of survivors headed towards the Great Lakes region who Google “how to survive in the wild.” Personal Days author Ed Park writes, “Severance is like nothing else around: a witty workplace novel and a terrifying plague yarn, an immigrant story and a sort of homecoming, full of Chinese whispers and New York ghosts.” Ling received her MFA from Cornell University. Prior to graduate school she worked as a journalist and editor. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Vice, Playboy, Chicago Reader, Ninth Letter and elsewhere. A chapter of Severance received the 2015 Graywolf SLS Prize. Born in Sanming, China, Ling grew up in Utah, Nebraska, and Kansas, and lives in Chicago. You can read her about working at Playboy and crying on the job in Buzzfeed.
Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at the New Yorker, formerly the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at the Hairpin. She grew up in Texas, went to University of Virginia, and got her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. She’s represented by Amy Williams and has a book of essays called Trick Mirror forthcoming from Random House in 2019. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, TIME, Grantland, Slate, Pitchfork, Bon Appetit, SPIN, and Fader. She has a dog, clearly, and lives in Brooklyn.
This event will not be recorded, but we will be live-tweeting from @aaww with #millennialzombies.
NOTE ON ACCESSIBILITY
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