Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and former longtime arts critic for The New York Times, discusses the anticipated follow-up to her memoir Negroland, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. In Constructing a Nervous System, Jefferson brings to life the figures who have contributed to her sense of self — family members, jazz musicians, artists, and athletes. The stunning result — combining memoir with reflections on the likes of Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Kara Walker, Ike Turner, and even Bing Crosby — reveals the mind of one of our great critics, examining both herself and American culture and society. She speaks about the book with fellow memoirist and nonfiction writer Elizabeth Kendall, whose most recent book is Balanchine and the Lost Muse.
Presented with the Leon Levy Center for Biography.