Wednesday, November 3 at 7PM pt
PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE
by FARAH ALI
in conversation with DANA JOHNSON
“With a cast of well-drawn characters, Ali pays careful attention to themes of mental health, loneliness, and poverty. Ali’s dexterous debut strikes hard.”
ABOUT THE BOOK
People Want to Live, Farah Ali’s debut collection, features stories of togetherness and reckless faith in the face of a world that’s built to break us.
Set in Pakistan, these award-winning stories follow people living on the brink of abandonment—in their personal relationships and their place in the world. A mother, coping with the sudden death of her son, uncovers long buried secrets in his absence. An anguished girl grabs a chance for a life beyond the orphanage walls where she lives and discovers the price of freedom. A young couple tries to keep their fraught relationship intact as a heat wave engulfs their city. A son returns to visit his aging parents while beset with memories of a troubled childhood. And two thieves find themselves in a situation more precarious by the minute, and more dangerous than their original mission.
Ali’s characters battle loneliness and, in their fight, reveal surprising vulnerabilities and an astonishing measure of hope.
Farah Ali is from Pakistan. Her work has been anthologized in the 2020 Pushcart Prize as well as received special mention in the 2018 Pushcart anthology. Her stories have appeared in Shenandoah, The Arkansas International, The Southern Review, Kenyon Review online, Copper Nickel, Ecotone, The Colorado Review, and elsewhere. People Want to Live is her first collection.
Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark, forthcoming from Counterpoint in August 2016. She is also the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Elsewhere, California. Both books were nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Callaloo, The Iowa Review and Huizache, among others, and anthologized in Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest, Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women, and California Uncovered: Stories for the 21st Century. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.