Writer and bon vivant George Plimpton served as editor of the Paris Review from its inception in 1953 till his death 50 years later, at which point his protege Brigid Hughes took over for a year before being dismissed by the literary journal’s board. This past March the board tapped longtime New Yorker staff writer Philip Gourevitch, author of the award-winning We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda, to right the ship. Gourevitch, who’s revamping the revered quarterly with a redesign this month, is in town to promote The Paris Review Book of People With Problems (Picador), an anthology of stories by the likes of Annie Proulx, Charles Baxter, Richard Stern, and Frederick Busch, among others, and to host “An Evening With the Paris Review,” in which actors will read selections from the book as part of Chicago Public Radio’s “Stories on Stage” series. “Birthmark,” a contribution from filmmaker and performance artist Miranda July, concerns a woman with a large port-wine mark on her cheek who struggles with issues of beauty and identity when it’s removed. Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Famous Torn and Restored Lit Cigarette Trick,” populated by a murderous supper club owner, magicians, and a rabbit too fat to do tricks, makes leaps that seem implausible totally work; her fluid, clever story is the literary equivalent of being tickled. (The third story to be read, “Stump Louie” by Lisa Halliday, is in the current issue of the review.) Gourevitch will field questions after the readings. Wed 10/5, 7:30 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010. $18, $16 students and seniors.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jacqueline Gourevitch.