About the event

In the third installment of Culture Reinvents Itself: Conversations with Greil Marcus, journalist and essayist John Jeremiah Sullivan speaks with author Greil Marcus (Music, The Graduate Center, CUNY).

John Jeremiah Sullivan is the 2015 the recipient of the Windham and Campbell Literature Prize for Non-Fiction, and perhaps the most adventurous and persistent journalist and essayist in America today. For decades scholars and collectors searched for even the barest facts about two uniquely powerful female blues singers from the 1930s, about whom nothing was known; in his 2014 “The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie” in the New York Times Magazine, where he is a contributing writer, Sullivan cracked the case. In his celebrated 2011 collection Pulphead, he redrew the map of American culture, giving a language to unheard or silenced voices—a quest he is continuing with the forthcoming The Prime Minister of Paradise, on the utopian Christian Priber, who in 18th century Georgia founded the now-forgotten community of Europeans, Africans, and Cherokee he called Paradise. As much as anyone writing today, Sullivan understands that the American story remains an untold story, and his work passes on to the reader the special thrill of discovering worlds one never suspected existed at all.

Greil Marcus is the author of Mystery Train (1975), Lipstick Traces (1989), and other books, including, this fall, Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations (Harvard) and Real Life Rock (Yale).

Cosponsored by the Ph.D. Program in Music, The Graduate Center, CUNY