in conversation with Teri Hatcher
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
PURCHASE TICKETS/RSVP for comp tix
Free General Admission
$30 Reserved Section Seat, 1 copy of Danler’s novel, Sweetbitter
$35 Two Reserved Section Seats, 1 copy of Sweetbitter
This event is part of our Newer Voices Series where we feature debut authors and authors with one or two books whose writing we’d like to draw more attention to. Free tickets are available 7-10 days before the event. We encourage purchasing advance tickets that include the book and a reserved section seat.
— “And Our Fiction Special Tonight Is…,” New York Times, Oct. 31, 2014
— “Stephanie Danler talks about her much-buzzed-about debut novel,” Time Out New York, Mar, 15, 2015
— “Restaurant Toil Serves O.C. Novelist Well,” Orange County Register, Jan. 7, 2015
Stephanie Danler is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the New School. Sweetbitter is her debut novel.
“Stephanie Danler arrives on the literary scene with a fully-fledged, original voice that’s wry, watchful and wise beyond its years—acutely attuned to the pleasures of the senses and to the desperate stratagems of self-invention among young urban seekers. Sweetbitter is a stunning debut novel, one that seems destined to help define a generation.” —Jay McInerney
You will develop a palate. A palate is a spot on your tongue where you remember. Where you assign words to the textures of taste. Eating becomes a discipline, language-obsessed. You will never simply eat food again.
These are the words that introduce us to Tess, the twenty-two-year-old narrator of Sweetbitter—and you will never again read a debut coming-of-age novel as stunning as this one.
Shot from a mundane, provincial past, Tess comes to New York in the stifling summer of 2006. Alone, knowing no one, living in a rented room in Williamsburg, she manages to land a job as a “backwaiter” at a celebrated downtown Manhattan restaurant. This begins the year we spend with Tess as she starts to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing, and privileged life she has chosen, as well as the remorseless and luminous city around her. What follows is her education: in oysters, Champagne, the appellations of Burgundy, friendship, cocaine, lust, love, and dive bars. As her appetites awaken—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—we see her helplessly drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle. With an orphan’s ardor she latches onto Simone, a senior server at the restaurant who has lived in ways Tess only dreams of, and against the warnings of coworkers she falls under the spell of Jake, the elusive, tatted up, achingly beautiful bartender. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s most exhilarating and painful lesson of all.
Stephanie Danler intimately defines the crucial transition from girl to woman, from living in a place that feels like nowhere to living in a place that feels like the center of the universe. She deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant—conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, relationships only partially revealed. And she evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, the fragility and brutality of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy. A lush novel of the senses—of taste and hunger, seeing and understanding, love and desire—Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the transformation and wisdom that come from our experiences, sweet and bitter.