Writing Bisexuality with Antonia Angress (SIRENS & MUSES) and Jen Winston (GREEDY).
It’s Bi Visibility Week, and what better way to celebrate than to join novelist Angress and memoirist Winston for this very bisexual chat! Topics will include: writing queer characters in fiction vs. nonfiction, capturing nuance, and reading other works that get bisexuality right.
*Please note: This event will take place live on Crowdcast. RSVP here to join the livestream or watch the replay.
Sirens & Muses (Ballantine Books)
Four artists are drawn into a web of rivalry and desire at an elite art school and on the streets of New York in this “gripping, provocative, and supremely entertaining” (BuzzFeed) debut
It’s 2011: America is in a deep recession and Occupy Wall Street is escalating. But at the elite Wrynn College of Art, students paint and sculpt in a rarefied bubble. Louisa Arceneaux is a thoughtful, observant nineteen-year-old when she transfers to Wrynn as a scholarship student, but she soon finds herself adrift in an environment that prizes novelty over beauty. Complicating matters is Louisa’s unexpected attraction to her charismatic roommate, Karina Piontek, the preternaturally gifted but mercurial daughter of wealthy art collectors. Gradually, Louisa and Karina are drawn into an intense sensual and artistic relationship, one that forces them to confront their deepest desires and fears. But Karina also can’t shake her fascination with Preston Utley, a senior and anti-capitalist Internet provocateur, who is publicly feuding with visiting professor and political painter Robert Berger—a once-controversial figurehead seeking to regain relevance.
When Preston concocts an explosive hoax, the fates of all four artists are upended as each is unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat New York art world. Now all must struggle to find new identities in art, in society, and among each other. In the process, they must find either their most authentic terms of life—of success, failure, and joy—or risk losing themselves altogether.
With a canny, critical eye, Sirens & Muses overturns notions of class, money, art, youth, and a generation’s fight to own their future.
Antonia Angress was born in Los Angeles and raised in San José, Costa Rica. She is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Minnesota MFA program, where she was a Winifred Fiction Fellow and a College of Liberal Arts Fellow. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, the artist Connor McManus. Sirens & Muses is her first novel.
Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much (Atria Books)
A hilarious and whip-smart collection of essays, offering an intimate look at bisexuality, gender, and, of course, sex. Perfect for fans of Lindy West, Samantha Irby, and Rebecca Solnit—and anyone who wants, and deserves, to be seen.
If Jen Winston knows one thing for sure, it’s that she’s bisexual. Or wait—maybe she isn’t? Actually, she definitely is. Unless…she’s not?
Jen’s provocative, laugh-out-loud debut takes us inside her journey of self-discovery, leading us through stories of a childhood “girl crush,” an onerous quest to have a threesome, and an enduring fear of being bad at sex. Greedy follows Jen’s attempts to make sense of herself as she explores the role of the male gaze, what it means to be “queer enough,” and how to overcome bi stereotypes when you’re the posterchild for all of them: greedy, slutty, and constantly confused.
With her clever voice and clear-eyed insight, Jen draws on personal experiences with sexism and biphobia to understand how we all can and must do better. She sheds light on the reasons women, queer people, and other marginalized groups tend to make ourselves smaller, provoking the question: What would happen if we suddenly stopped?
Greedy shows us that being bisexual is about so much more than who you’re sleeping with—it’s about finding stability in a state of flux and defining yourself on your own terms. This book inspires us to rethink the world as we know it, reminding us that Greedy was a superpower all along.
Jen Winston (she/they) is a writer and bisexual whose work focuses on dating, queerness, and the millennial condition. They are the author of the critically-acclaimed book, GREEDY: NOTES FROM A BISEXUAL WHO WANTS TOO MUCH, which Oprah Magazine called “provocative and profound, funny and frank.” Paper Mag wrote that Jen’s debut is “at once relatable, laugh-out-loud funny, and refreshingly illuminating.” BuzzFeed named GREEDY a Best LGBTQ+ book of 2021, calling it “more insightful about identity than any book this year.” Jen newly lives in Los Angeles (!!!) with her partner, dogs, and iPhone. You can follow Jen on Twitter, Instagram, and, alas, TikTok at @jenerous.
Praise for Sirens and Muses -
“The characters in Sirens & Muses wake up each day and choose chaos. . . . Angress’s strength is her ability to create an engrossing plot, allowing readers to watch as her messy characters navigate their way to the finish line.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[H]olds the reader’s attention like a gallery so compelling that a visitor is torn between staring at one work and rushing on to the next room.”—Glamour
“Convincing and moving . . . Angress’ portrayal of the intersection—or disconnect—of art, politics, idealism, and practicality within the web of familial, romantic, and professional relationships is painterly, in the best sense of the word.”—Minneapolis StarTribune
“Angress so deftly portrays the splendor and squalor of trying to create something great in the face of rampant capitalism, of love and lust in the face of tooth-and-claw competition.”—Electric Lit
“Sexy and smart . . . confident and captivating . . . propulsive and immersive . . . structurally ambitious and wonderfully crafted.”—Autostraddle
“Antonia Angress is so talented, and her depiction of young artists—with their egos and inspirations and ambitions—is unforgettably impressive. Read. This. Book.”—Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement
“Brilliant . . . This narrative is intricate, moving, and often funny, and its scenes are beautifully crafted. . . . A wonderful book.”—Charles Baxter, author of The Sun Collective
“Sirens & Muses features characters as flawed as they are talented—full of desire, ambition, and aching regret. Their journeys engrossed me till the very last page.”—Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
“Powerful, elegant, and mesmerizing . . . a writer to watch.”—Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of The Revisioners
“Sirens & Muses captivated me with its well-drawn, complex characters and vivid descriptions and settings . . . a gorgeously rich and thoughtful novel.”—Annie Hartnett, author of Rabbit Cake and Unlikely Animals
“With wit, tenderness, and insight, Sirens & Muses explores why art matters, who gets to make it, and what it’s worth . . . is stunning in its detail and inventiveness.”—V. V. Ganeshananthan, author of Love Marriage
“A page-turning, sexy, witty dive into making art and the art world and just how great the chasm is that lies in-between.”—Joanna Hershon, author of St. Ivo
“A brilliant study of art, politics, male dominance, female passion, and the commercialized art world in the early 2010s . . . A highly recommended novel of art and heart.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“[A] winning debut . . . Angress nimbly embodies each of her characters, allowing her exceptional storytelling abilities to shine. . . . [Sirens & Muses] is a standout.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Greedy -
“Jen Winston has been unlearning and learning anew and sharing that experience for over a decade. Her vulnerability contrasted with her self-containment provides an accessible, prescient education that is simultaneously not indulgent and delightfully pleasurable. Jen’s work makes me feel safe, seen, proudly queer, and proudly woman, encompassing all the facets.” — Ilana Glazer
“Reading Greedy is like hanging out with your coolest friend—the one who knows where to find the best party in Amsterdam and the most important protest in New York; the one with the wildest stories, the perfect reading suggestions, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers. As affecting as it is thought-provoking, Jen Winston’s debut is part memoir, part call to action, and all heart.” — Diana Spechler, author of Skinny and Who by Fire and writer of the New York Times column “Going Off”
“Winston viscerally describes the sense of being unmoored without language to describe herself and the difficult path to finding it, all with a breezy irreverence that will enamor her to fans of millennial essayists like Samantha Irby and Jia Tolentino. One of her greatest strengths is in pivoting from acerbic wit to earnest reflection . . . In playfully queering the coming-of-age story, Winston has written something wholly original, and entirely delightful.” — Publishers Weekly
“Provocative and profound, funny and frank.” — OprahDaily.com
“I found Jen Winston’s forthcoming memoir so resonant that I eventually had to stop underlining it because the book was looking ridiculous. She weaves research and humor seamlessly, contextualizing relatable experiences like bi imposter syndrome, wondering if you simply want to ‘be’ your same-sex crushes, and the external/internalized gatekeeping from the larger queer community. This book is an entertaining-yet-information-packed crash course in what bisexuality can really mean.” — BuzzFeed
“In Greedy, Winston hilariously, entertainingly, and honestly approaches her journey to asserting her sexuality. But this isn’t just any memoir; it’s also an educational examination that delves into identity, cultural misunderstandings of bisexuality and the microaggressions that come along with that, why coming out bi has specific challenges, and more.” — Shondaland
“In this cackle-loudly-and-send-quotes-to-your-friends chronicle of bisexuality, Winston takes us from banana blow job practice to a confusing adulthood of wondering if she is entitled to the Chromatica Oreos. It’s a memoir but also a rich snapshot of one part of queer culture, a story of awkwardness and identity crisis that Winston hopes will “become obsolete.” The wonder will stay, she promises, but the wondering where you belong will become a thing of the past.” — Glamour