In Conversation: Elizabeth McCracken & Molly McCully Brown

Date Friday 11 June 2021
Time 8:30 PM
Age Range16+ years

With Chair Marie Louise Muir

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In Conversation: Elizabeth McCracken & Molly McCully Brown


We are delighted to welcome two writing talents from the US: Best-selling author Elizabeth McCracken, and Poet and Essayist Molly McCully Brown who will be in conversation with Northern Ireland broadcaster Marie Louise Muir.

Molly has cited Elizabeth’s work as one of the influences on the writing of her new book  Places I’ve Taken My Body, and the living that led to it. This is a lovely opportunity to hear two writers discuss their work, their journeys and their influences. 

Looking to buy a book by one of the writers involved in this year's programme? Check out our official Festival Bookstore partner, No Alibi’s, who have created this special Belfast Book Festival page on their website which features the books and collections of the writers at the 2021 Festival. Plus they are offering a 10% discount on all of the Festival titles! 


About the authors

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of seven books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry, The Giant’s House, Niagara Falls All Over Again, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Thunderstruck & Other Stories, Bowlaway, and the forthcoming collection of short stories The Souvenir Museum. She teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.

About The Souvenir Museum 

Elizabeth McCracken is an undisputed virtuoso of the short story, and this new collection features her most vibrant and heartrending work to date. In these stories, the mysterious bonds of family are tested, transformed, fractured, and fortified. A recent widower and his adult son ferry to a craggy Scottish island in search of puffins. An actress who plays a children’s game-show villainess ushers in the New Year with her deadbeat half brother. A mother, pining for her children, feasts on loaves of challah to fill the void. A new couple navigates a tightrope walk toward love. And on a trip to a Texas water park with their son, two fathers each confront a personal fear. 

With sentences that crackle and spark and showcase her trademark wit, McCracken traces how our closely held desires—for intimacy, atonement, comfort—bloom and wither against the indifferent passing of time. Her characters embark on journeys that leave them indelibly changed—and so do her readers. The Souvenir Museum showcases the talents of one of our finest contemporary writers as she tenderly takes the pulse of our collective and individual lives. 

Molly McCully Brown is the author of the essay collection Places I’ve Taken My Body, and the poetry collection The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. With Susannah Nevision, she is also the co-author of the poetry collection In the Field Between Us. The recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, a United States Artists Fellowship, and a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, The Guardian, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She teaches at Old Dominion University in Virginia, where she is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Nonfiction.

About Places I’ve taken by Body

In seventeen intimate essays, poet Molly McCully Brown explores living within and beyond the limits of a body―in her case, one shaped since birth by cerebral palsy, a permanent and often painful movement disorder. In spite of―indeed, in response to―physical constraints, Brown leads a peripatetic life: the essays comprise a vivid travelogue set throughout the United States and Europe, ranging from the rural American South of her childhood to the cobblestoned streets of Bologna, Italy. Moving between these locales and others, Brown constellates the subjects that define her inside and out: a disabled and conspicuous body, a religious conversion, a missing twin, a life in poetry. As she does, she depicts vividly for us not only her own life but a striking array of sites and topics, among them Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the world’s oldest anatomical theater, the American Eugenics movement, and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. Throughout, Brown offers us the gift of her exquisite sentences, woven together in consideration, always, of what it means to be human―flawed, potent, feeling.



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