Presented by The CCNY MFA in Creative Writing and The CCNY Department of Philosophy
Thursday, March 30, 2023 4:00 – 5:15 PM
The CCNY MFA in Creative Writing and the Department of Philosophy presents
Chloe Cooper Jones
author of Easy Beauty
Thursday, March 30, 4:00-5:15PM, Rifkind Center (NAC 6/316)
“Easy Beauty is bold, honest, and superbly well-written. Chloé Cooper Jones is ruthless in probing our weakest and darkest areas, and does so with grace, humor, and ultimately, with something one seldom finds: kindness and humanity.”
—André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name
On Thursday, March 30, author Chloe Cooper Jones will read from her latest book Easy Beauty in a collaborated event presented by the CCNY MFA in Creative Writing and the Department of Philosophy. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A and book signing with the author. Jones’s book will be available for purchase at a discounted price for those who attend.
The event will take place from 4:00 to 5:15pm in the Rifkind Center (NAC 6/316).
“I am in a bar in Brooklyn, listening to two men, my friends, discuss whether my life is worth living.” So begins Chloé Cooper Jones’s bold, revealing account of moving through the world in a body that looks different than most. Jones learned early on to factor “pain calculations” into every plan, every situation. Born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis which affects both her stature and gait, her pain is physical. But there is also the pain of being judged and pitied for her appearance, of being dismissed as “less than.” The way she has been seen—or not seen—has informed her lens on the world her entire life. She resisted this reality by excelling academically and retreating to “the neutral room in her mind” until it passed. But after unexpectedly becoming a mother (in violation of unspoken social taboos about the disabled body), something in her shifts, and Jones sets off on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she’d been denied, and denied herself.
From the bars and domestic spaces of her life in Brooklyn to sculpture gardens in Rome; from film festivals in Utah to a Beyoncé concert in Milan; from a tennis tournament in California to the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Jones weaves memory, observation, experience, and aesthetic philosophy to probe the myths underlying our standards of beauty and desirability, and interrogates her own complicity in upholding those myths.
With its emotional depth, its prodigious, spiky intelligence, its passion and humor, Easy Beauty is the rare memoir that has the power to make you see the world, and your place in it, with new eyes.
Chloé Cooper Jones is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. In 2020, Chloé was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Feature Writing for “Fearing for His Life,” a profile of Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the killing of Eric Garner. She was the recipient of the 2020 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant and the 2021 Howard Foundation Grant from Brown University. Both grants are in support of her forthcoming book Easy Beauty, a memoir which finds the author—after unexpectedly becoming a mother—embarking on a journey across the globe to reclaim the spaces, both physical and emotional, that she’d been denied and denied herself. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.