A Celebration of Denis Johnson

A Celebration of Denis Johnson

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 7:00 PM

Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge
644 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306



The many and varied works of Denis Johnson have had an honored place on the shelves of A Cappella since the day we opened, almost 30 years ago. His fiction, poetry and journalism all captured the fullness of life--and death-- in a voice rich with hard-earned brilliance. Each new Denis Johnson book was a cause for celebration around here, and  the day we learned of his death last year at the age of 67 was one of great sadness.

Fortunately, there is again cause to celebrate: shortly before he died, Johnson completed his second collection of short stories, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, and it was published January 16.

To mark the book's release and commemorate Denis Johnson's extraordinary life, we invite you to join us on Wednesday, January 31 at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge at 7p.m., along with a number of  Atlanta writers and musicians to reflect on Johnson’s unique literary output and to dig into this latest work. Among the participants are journalist Tom Junod, who will read from Johnson’s one book of non-fiction,  novelist Josh Russell, who will share highlights from his stories, Atlanta writer Wyatt Williams, who has written an original tribute to Johnson, poet Megan Sexton, who will read and discuss Johnson’s verse, and several Johnson enthusiasts, who will perform a dramatic reading from one of his plays.


Plus musical performances by Michael Bradley and Auction House Letters. 

Here is what some of today's best-known novelists have already said about Johnson’s genius:

“The God I want to believe in has a voice and a sense of humor like Denis Johnson’s.”—Jonathan Franzen

“He worked at a level different from the rest of us—a true master.”—Zadie Smith

“Our most poetic American short-story writer since Hemingway.”—George Saunders

“Nobody wrote with more brutality and mercy, more hilarity and grace. What a genius he was.”—Elizabeth McCracken

“Johnson brought news from the darkest, wildest depths of American life as Mark Twain did in chapters of Huckleberry Finn and Faulkner in a slew of novels. . . . There was no one like him.”—Philip Roth

“When Denis Johnson is justly praised for his voice, I always think, just the one? He had an eerie symphony at his command.”—Karen Russell

“His prose tiptoes a tightrope between peace and calamity.”—Anthony Doerr

“Denis Johnson was and is and will continue to be one of our strongest writers. His work has an indigenous beat that marks it as unmistakably American.”—Don DeLillo

“Everyone who reads Denis Johnson comes away thinking he has spoken directly to some wracked and ragged, yet transcendent, aspect of their own secret heart.”—Louise Erdrich

We’ll have copies of the new book available for sale as well as a selection of Johnson’s most beloved titles.

We’ll also hold a raffle for a signed copy of Johnson’s National Book Award-winning novel, Tree of Smoke.