March 24, 2020
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Best-selling author Stephanie Danler ’06 returns to Kenyon for a reading of her hit novel “Sweetbitter” Thursday, Sept. 15, at 4:10 p.m. in the Cheever Room of Finn House. Hosted by the Kenyon Review, Danler will be introduced by writer-in-residence P.F. Kluge '64.
Danler’s novel, set in New York City in 2006, follows the journey of Tess, a young woman struggling to find her identity as a “back waiter” in a bustling Union Square restaurant. Food is a central theme in the novel, and one that Danler, a veteran of the fine dining service industry, handles deftly, earning her nods from Bon Appetit magazine and Epicurious. After Danler’s reading, sponsored by the Kenyon Review, she will take questions from the audience.
“I knew I wanted to write a female coming-of-age novel,” Danler told Dan Laskin, book editor of the Alumni Bulletin, in a May interview. “I wanted to write about that amorphous post-graduate time in a person’s life. I had been working in restaurants for so long; I knew that world intimately. I wanted to show that it was intense and real; it’s not just a transition, a means to an end — it can be the end.”
The explosive popularity of Danler’s debut novel has earned her attention from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Vogue and Paris Review. “Sweetbitter” has been named by TIME and Esquire as one of the best books of 2016, and ELLE Magazine declared it one of the buzziest books of 2016, saying, “It’s a book that’ll stay glued to your hands as you race through the pages in one sitting.”
Danler majored in English at Kenyon and earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the New School. She is based in Brooklyn, New York.