Thursday, October 22, 2020
7:00 PM

General Admission: Free


The Center for Literary Arts (CLA) will present Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House, on Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7PM. 

The event discussion will be moderated by Linda Castillo.


Linda Castillo is the Founder and Executive Editor of Castillo writes on topics that empower and inspire Latinas including art, motherhood, green living, culture, travel, and issues transforming the Latino community. She has earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.

Sandy Navarro, a student assistant for the CLA, will introduce Carmen Maria Machado. 


Sandy Navarro is from Southern California, and she is currently working on her BA in Creative Writing at San Jose State University. She is the president of the Diasporic Peoples Writing Collective (DPWC), a SJSU club of creative minds coming together to write and inspire. Aside from writing poetry, she is also an avid photographer and enjoys long naps. 


in the dream house cover.jpg

In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.

And it’s that struggle that gives the book its original structure: each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope—the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman—through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles. She looks back at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian relationships as safe and utopian, and widens the view with essayistic explorations of the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships.

Machado’s dire narrative is leavened with her characteristic wit, playfulness, and openness to inquiry. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek, and Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film and fiction. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be.


Carmen Maria Machado’s writing defies and blends genres such as surrealism, fantasy, and horror to create writing that is so palpable it seems alive. Her work has been compared to that of Shirley Jackson, Kelly Link and Angela Carter, but with a voice that is uniquely her own.


Growing up in a household where storytelling was always present, Carmen has been writing her whole life. She learned about stories through reading, as well as oral tradition in her family. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania. Her spellbinding debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was longlisted for the National Book Award before it was even published. It was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize, and it was the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, the Brooklyn Public Library Literature Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. In 2018, the New York Times listed Her Body and Other Parties as a member of “The New Vanguard,” one of “15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.”


Her memoir, In the Dream House, was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, was the #1 Indie Next Pick for November 2019, and received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly. Of Carmen and her memoir, the New York Times writes, “Welcome to the House of Machado. Proceed directly into the forbidden room; enjoy the view as the floor gives way.”


Carmen is an immense fan of the horror genre and has a special place in her heart for Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Set in Shudder-To-Think, PA, Carmen’s newest project is a limited-run comics series called The Low, Low Woods, out from DC Comics, which takes body horror down paths heretofore unexplored in comics.