Kate Zambreno

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Kate Zambreno
Kate Zambreno

Kate Zambreno (born December 30 1977) is an American writer and novelist. She is the author of the novel O Fallen Angel, winner of the "Undoing the Novel—First Book Contest," originally published by Chiasmus Press,[1] as well as the novel Green Girl, published by Harper Perennial.[2] O Fallen Angel was also reissued by Harper Perennial in 2017 with an introduction by Lidia Yuknavitch.[3] Heroines, her "critical memoir" centered on the women of modernism, partially incubated on her blog Frances Farmer is My Sister, was published by Semiotext(e)'s Active Agents, edited by Chris Kraus. Semiotext(e)'s Native Agents published Book of Mutter in 2017, and Appendix Project, a collection of talks and essays written in the shadow of Book of Mutter, in 2019. A chapbook, Apoplexia, Toxic Shock, & Toilet Bowl: Some Notes on Why I Write was released as part of the Guillotine series in 2013.[4] A collection of flash fiction and essays, Screen Tests, will be published by Harper Perennial in July 2019. She regularly contributes to art catalogues and anthologies, such as essays on Anne Collier, Paula Rego, and Kathy Acker. She is at work on a series of books exploring time, community, and the project of literature, the first, Drifts, will be published by Riverhead in 2020, and the second, To Write As if Already Dead, a study of Hervé Guibert's To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, will be published by Columbia University Press in 2021. She teaches in the writing programs at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College.[5] [6]

Critical reception[edit]

Of her debut novella, O Fallen Angel, Michael Schaub at Bookslut wrote: "So enter Kate Zambreno, who is as much Acker as she is Woolf, as much Angela Carter as she is Elfriede Jelinek. (These are the four names most closely associated with Zambreno, and with good reason - it's almost impossible to read O Fallen Angel, her brilliant 2010 novel, without thinking of Zambreno as a perfected synthesis, but a wholly original one, of all four of those authors.)"[7]

Of Green Girl, James Greer at Bookforum wrote "The book is by turns bildungsroman, sociological study, deconstruction, polemic, and live-streamed dialogue with Jean Rhys, Clarice Lispector, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, the Bible, Roland Barthes, and most of Western European modernism by way of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project."[8] Elissa Schapell at Vanity Fair wrote "I can’t recall the last time I read a book whose heroine infuriated and seduced me as completely as Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl."[9]

Jezebel, which also in June 2012 named Zambreno one of "The Jezebel 25: Kick-Ass and Amazing Women We Love"[10] wrote of Heroines: "The book is startlingly insightful."[11] The Paris Review wrote: "With equal parts unabashed pathos and exceptional intelligence, Heroines foregrounds female subjectivity to produce an impressive and original work that examines the suppression of various female modernists in relation to Zambreno’s own complicated position as a writer and a wife."[12] Zambreno is also credited with adopting a novel approach to criticism in Heroines. According to Roxane Gay, "Her criticism rises from emotion. It is appealing to see a writer so plainly locate the motivations behind her criticism. All too often, criticism is treated rather antiseptically under the auspices of objectivity. There is no such distance in Heroines. Zambreno revels in subjectivity."[13]

Jenny Hendrix wrote in the Times Literary Supplement about Book of Mutter: "Above all, Book of Mutter is a work of tone; it expresses a failure to transcend grief, written from a place of guilt and shame, in halting and inarticulate gestures...Writing may not change anything, may not heal or even console—but, like Bourgeois's Cells, it creates a space in which formlessness, pain and chaos are enclosed and held like holy relics in a church."[14]

In a starred review in Publishers Weekly, about Appendix Project: "Presented as a series of appendices to novelist and memoirist Zambreno’s previous work, Book of Mutter, this collection of 11 talks and essays reveals her anew as a master of the experimental lyric essay."[15]

Several pieces from Screen Tests were published in BOMB and in the spring 2019 issue of Paris Review.[16] [17] Brian Evenson writes of the book, “In Screen Tests, a voice who both is and is not the author picks up a thread and follows it wherever it leads, leaping from one thread to another without quite letting go, creating a delicate and ephemeral and wonderful portrait of how a particular mind functions. Call them stories (after Lydia Davis), reports (after Gerald Murnane), or screen tests (inventing a new genre altogether like Antoine Volodine). These are marvelously fugitive pieces, carefully composed while giving the impression of being effortless, with a quite lovely Calvino-esque lightness, that are a joy to try to keep up with.”[18]



  1. ^ Higgs, Christopher (October 22, 2012). "Heroine Worship: Talking with Kate Zambreno". The Paris Review. Retrieved November 26, 2012.[verification needed]
  2. ^ "Green Girl by Kate Zambreno". HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved February 27, 2014.[verification needed]
  3. ^ "O Fallen Angel by Kate Zambreno". HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved September 13, 2016.[verification needed]
  4. ^ Guillotine: A Series of Erratically Published Chapbooks Focused on Revolutionary Nonfiction[verification needed]
  5. ^ "Kate Zambreno". Columbia - School of the Arts. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  6. ^ "Kate Zambreno". www.sarahlawrence.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  7. ^ Schaub, Michael (January 2011). "O Fallen Angel". Bookslut. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  8. ^ Greer, James (December 2011 – January 2012). "Everything is Cinema". Bookforum.
  9. ^ Schappell, Elissa. "Fast Girls". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  10. ^ "The Jezebel 25: Kick-Ass and Amazing Women We Love". Jezebel. Gawker Media. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  11. ^ Sauers, Jenna. "Books You Should Read: Heroines". Jezebel. Gawker Media. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  12. ^ Higgs, Christopher (October 22, 2012). "Heroine Worship: Talking with Kate Zambreno". The Paris Review. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  13. ^ Gay, Roxane. "How We All Lose". The Rumpus. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
  14. ^ "Disease talking". TheTLS. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  15. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Appendix Project: Talks and Essays by Kate Zambreno. Semiotext(e), $15.95 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-63590-076-7". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  16. ^ "Paris Review - Writers, Quotes, Biography, Interviews, Artists". The Paris Review. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  17. ^ "Two Stories by Kate Zambreno - BOMB Magazine". bombmagazine.org. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  18. ^ "Screen Tests - Kate Zambreno - E-book". HarperCollins Publishers: World-Leading Book Publisher. Retrieved 2019-04-01.

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