Michael McColly reads from The After Death RoomThursday, February 15th, 7:00 PM
Michael McColly begins his new memoir The After-Death Room in South Africa, where he traveled in 2000 to teach yoga to those in attendance at the International AIDS conference. But instead of teaching, McColly becomes the student to the scores of AIDS activists he meets in Africa who challenge him to take his spiritual beliefs off the mat and out into the harsh but life-affirming world of AIDS activism.
Part spiritual memoir, part investigative journalism, McColly?s riveting account of life inside the AIDS pandemic is one of the first ever written by an HIV+ writer. From Africa to Asia to neighborhoods in his own home of Chicago, McColly takes readers into struggling lives of Asian commercial sex workers, African-American prisoners, and Vietnamese street children as well as the spirited activism of Zulu traditional healers, Islamic mullahs of Senegal, African-American pastors, and Buddhists monks working with the dying in Thailand.
William Finnegan of the New Yorker and author of Cold New World calls The After-Death Room ?a revelation, an epic 21st century canvas on which the themes of courage, ingenuity, solidarity, and justice stand out just as boldly as those of cruel indifference and despair. . . McColly brings the global AIDS story home to Americans in a way no other writer has done.?
Michael McColly is the author of The World Is Round, a collection of immigrant narratives on coming to America. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, In These Times, The Sun, Ascent, and Salon.com. He?s a recipient of fellowship awards to MacDowell, Yaddo, Blue Mountain and Ragdale. He lives in Chicago where he teaches yoga and creative writing at Columbia College and Northwestern University.
Michael McColly will be joined by Lex Sonne and Jessica Tierney whom will read from original fiction at this event.