Saturday, October 25th: Fiction. Caren Beilin reads from her novel The University of Pennsylvania with UM MFA fiction student Courtney Bird. 7 pm.
Olivia Knox has womb duplicatum, a rare affliction of continuous menstruation. Blood—it is not just blood!—tumbles unstoppably during her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. This problem of excess—blood full of marbles and beans, something thick enough to be black, sometimes sick enough to be brown, sometimes wild, almost violet again—foregrounds Beilin’s revision (queer and erotic) of Pennsylvania’s foundations. Tracing a relationship between George Fox and William Penn, Bethlehem’s industrial boom, Jewish suburbia and Amish farming, and the origins of surgical education in America, The University of Pennsylvania convenes at the University of Pennsylvania, where Olivia Knox confronts a surgical solution.
Caren Beilin grew up in Germantown, Philadelphia. Her fiction can be found in McSweeney’s, Fence, and in the DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press chapbook, Americans, Guests, or Us. The University of Pennsylvania, in its various forms, has been the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, a finalist in Fence’s Modern Prose Prize, and winner of Noemi Press’s Book Award for Fiction.
Courtney Bird is currently completing her MFA in Fiction at the University of Montana. Previously, she studied art history at Princeton University and worked for several years in New York City.