806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Do animals have a sense of humor? Find out on November 5th at Alphabet City

City of Asylum (12th Year)

In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy

Vinciane Despret

Saturday, November 5th
8:00 pm

City of Asylum @ Alphabet City
40 W North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

What Would Animals Say...Do apes really know how to ape? Do animals form same-sex relations? Can animals create art? Are these even the right way to ask the questions?

Vinciane’s book, What Would Animals Say If We Asked The Right Questions?, poses twenty-six such questions that stretch our preconceived ideas about what animals do, what they think about and what they want.
In an abecedarium of twenty-six chapters, Vinciane Despret argues that behaviors we identify as separating humans from animals do not actually properly belong to humans. She does so by exploring incredible and often funny adventures about animals and their involvements with researchers, farmers, zookeepers, handlers and other human beings. These deftly translated accounts oblige us, along the way, to engage in both ethology and philosophy. She combines serious scholarship with humor that resonates.

Vinciane Despret

Vinciane Despret studied philosophy and, later, psychology, coming back to philosophy with her PhD in 1996. Her first field work was in the Negev desert, in Israel, where she explored the possibility of doing an ethology of the ethologists. She then wrote her PhD about the scientific practices that study emotions in humans and in animals. Currently she is Maître de conferences at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Liège, and at the Faculty of Anthropology and Social Sciences and Faculty of Psychology and Sciences of Education at the Free University of Brussels.

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Join Us for the Tenth Annual Writers in the Garden!

City of Asylum (2016)

Writers in the Garden

Saturday, Aug 27th
5:00-7:00 pm
Alphabet Reading Garden

Writers in the Garden

City of Asylum’s annual garden poetry event is now in its 10th year!

Join us August 27th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm for a poetry reading in our newly opened Alphabet Reading Garden!

This year we are doing something special: While in the past, we have toured various gardens in the Northside, this year we have a new space to call our very own. Come help us celebrate the opening of the Alphabet Reading Garden with this very special garden event.

This year’s event is curated by Lori Jakiela. She has chosen an interesting mix of writers with very varied voices and perspectives—Cynthia Mendoza, Micki Myers, Scott Silsbe, and Meghan Tutolo. Each writer has also been commissioned by City of Asylum to write a special text representing their perspective on the Alphabet Reading Garden.

This event is FREE but limited to 70 people. Be sure to RSVP!

Learn More & RSVP

The Taming: A Reading by A.M. Rycroft at City Books

Location: City Books, 908 Galveston Avenue
Date: Monday, July 25th
Time: 7-8:30pm
Event Link: HERE

A dark fantasy tale, The Taming follows the brash Thystle Moran, sword for hire. Only one job has ever bothered her, one that promised to be easy money, but ended in the death of her friend. Now, an imp with questionable motives says her friend’s death was no accident. Thystle seeks retribution as her world spirals out of control. She faces off against her dark past, a betrayal, feelings for a young woman, and the interests of a shadowy group known only as the Immortals. Can she ever just catch a break?

Join City of Asylum for a Reading with Raza Rumi

Mario Bellatin

Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveler 

Delhi by HeartIn Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveler, Raza explores the idea of home from a very complex set of experiences: “Why does the capital of another country feel like home? How is it that a man from Pakistan can cross the border into ‘hostile’ territory and yet not feel ‘foreign’?”

Raza Rumi fled his native Pakistan weeks after an attempt on his life that killed his driver in March 2014. A leading public voice in Pakistan’s fight against extremism and human rights violations, he is the newest writer in residence of Ithaca City of Asylum.

During this evening Raza will read from Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveler and from his new manuscript memoir; he will also speak about violent extremism in Pakistan.


Join us for an evening with Raza Rumi

Thursday, May 5th
330 Sampsonia Way
7:00 pm: Reception
7:30 pm: Presentation and Questions
8:30 pm Dessert and Informal Discussion

Make Free Reservations

Raza RumiRaza Rumi is a visiting international scholar in residence in the honors program of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College.  He is also affiliated with the New America Foundation and the United States Institute of Peace.

Following his work as an analyst for the Pakistani government and the Asia Development Bank, he joined Pakistan’s liberal weekly The Friday Times as a writer and editor in 2008 and has been a broadcast commentator and talk show host. He also served on the United Nations mission in Kosovo in 2000, is a former director and senior fellow at the Jinnah Institute public-policy think tank, and was a director at Justice Network, a coalition of NGOs. As a freelance policy professional he has advised international development organizations, governments, and NGOs.

City of Asylum: Vu Tran Reading

Join us for an evening with Vu Tran on February 12 at 7:00 pm. He will be reading from his debut novel, Dragonfish.

7:00 p.m. Reception | 7:30 pm Reading, Talk, and Q&A | 8:30 pm Dessert and Informal Discussion

More information HERE

Join City of Asylum for a Reading on January 20th

Mario Bellatin

The Large Glass: Three Autobiographies

Translated by David ShookThe Large Glass

In The Large Glass, celebrated Mexican author Mario Bellatin examines his most complicated subject: Himself. Featuring three different autobiographies, The Large Glass challenges the challenging project of autobiography itself—how can any writer account for himself in a way that is dignified yet honest? Intimate yet public? Like the Duchamp sculpture from which it takes its name, Bellatin’s The Large Glass plays with the artifice of the autobiographical genre, while at the same time celebrating the importance of the stories we tell about ourselves. The Large Glass further solidifies Mario Bellatin as one of Latin America’s most important living writers.

Plus…a unique opportunity!

Meet the translator and publisher, along with the author.
Joining Mario Bellatin at the reading will be David Shook, translator of The Large Glass. David is also the Founding Editor of Phoneme Media, a publishing house in San Francisco.

Join us for an evening with Mario Bellatin

Wednesday, January 20th
330 Sampsonia Way
7:00 pm: Reception
7:30 pm: Presentation and Questions
8:30 pm Dessert and Informal Discussion

Make Free Reservations

Mario BellatinMario Bellatin was born in Mexico and grew up in Peru. He has over 40 books published that have been translated into 15 languages. He was the winner of the Xavier Villaurrutia, Mazatlan, The Barbara Gitiings Literature Award, Antonin Artaud Awards and this year the José María Arguedas Award.

In 2012, he was the curator of Documenta 13, Kassel. Among his most important projects, besides writing, are the Dynamic School of Writers, The Hundred Thousand Books of Bellatin,the film Bola Negra and the CD Juarez Musical.