Jun 21-23, 2024
Photo by Dani Case

Margin Call: On Low Lifes and Feral Cities

In George Orwell’s classic account of poverty, Down and Out in Paris and London, the novelist and essayist shunned the expensive boulevards of the City of Lights in favor of the slums, those on the margins, often living hand to mouth. His behind-the-scenes account of working as a dishwasher at a smart hotel restaurant and living rough in England echoes down the ages in work by urban chroniclers like Lucy Sante, Jeremiah Moss, and Sukhdev Sandhu. Best known for her study of New York’s turn-of-the-century demi-monde, Low Life, Sante’s most recent book is 19 Reservoirs, in which she uses New York’s water supply as a lens through which to examine the divisions between urban and rural, rich and poor. And in Jeremiah Moss’s Feral City, the author offers an expansive exploration of New York during lockdown, when the streets were reclaimed by those who stayed behind. Sante and Moss are joined by Sukhdev Sandhu, the author of the visceral urban odysseys Night Haunts: A Journey Through the London Night, and London Calling: How Black Asian Writers Imagined A City.

Featuring a short film by Jem Cohen commissioned for the festival with Lucy Sante narrating “The Moon Under Water”

Jun 17, 2023, 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Tusten Theatre, 210 Bridge St, Narrowsburg, New York
This event has already taken place.
Photo by Dani Case

Lucy Sante

Lucy Sante was born in Verviers, Belgium, and is the author of seven books, her first being Low Life (FSG, 1991). Sante’s other books include Evidence, The Factory of Facts, Kill All Your Darlings, The Other Paris, Folk Photography, and, most recently, Maybe the People Would Be the Times. She is the recipient of a Whiting Award, Guggenheim and Cullman fellowships, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), and an Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography.

Sukhdev Sandhu

Sukhdev Sandhu is the author of Night Haunts: A Journey Through The London Night (winner of 2008 DH Lawrence International Prize For Travel Writing) and London Calling: How Black Asian Writers Imagined A City. He runs the Colloquium for Unpopular Culture at New York University, where he is an associate professor of English Literature. His writings have appeared in a number of publications including the London Review of Books, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Du, The Wire, Sight and Sound, Bidoun, Gastronomica, The Australian, Modernism/ Modernity, New York, The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement.

Jeremiah Moss

Jeremiah Moss, creator of the award-winning blog “Vanishing New York”, is the pen name of Griffin Hansbury. The author of Vanishing New York and Feral City, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, and online for The New Yorker and The Paris Review. As Hansbury, he is the author of The Nostalgist, and works as a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City

Jem Cohen

Cohen’s feature films include Museum Hours, Counting, Benjamin Smoke, and Instrument. Shorts include Lost Book Found, Anne Truitt Working, and his newest, Ballad of Philip Guston. His films are in the collections of NYC’s MoMA and Whitney, and D.C.’s Natl. Gallery. We Have an Anchor, a multi-media show with live music, was a main stage production at BAM’s Next Wave and London’s Barbican. Cohen has worked extensively with musicians including Patti Smith, Fugazi, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, R.E.M., Terry Riley, Xylouris White, DJ Rupture, and Vic Chesnutt, as well as writer Lucy Sante. Grants and fellowships include Guggenheim, Alpert, SJ Weiler Fund, and Creative Capital. Cohen was extensively involved in overturning proposed restrictions on street photography and filming in New York City.

More Events


9:00pm, Doors open at 8:30

Pond Wave, Andrea Wittgens, Lena Kaminsky, Lyra Vega, Bank Of Ireland, Julian Jimenez, Anna Copacabanna

Why They Write: Three Masters of Non-Fiction on Poverty, Propaganda, and Lies.

Jun 17, 2023, 4:00pm

Barbara Demick, Peter Pomerantsev, Azmat Khan, Ilya Marritz
Sign up for the latest festival news and special offers