First Consonants: John Whittier Treat, Sarah Van Arsdale & Stephen Greco

Thu Oct 13 2022 at 07:00 pm to 08:30 pm

Bureau of General Services—Queer Division | New York

Bureau of General Services-Queer Division
Publisher/HostBureau of General Services-Queer Division
First Consonants: John Whittier Treat, Sarah Van Arsdale & Stephen Greco
Come celebrate the launch of John Whittier Treat’s novel First Consonants.
About this Event

Come celebrate the launch of John Whittier Treat’s novel First Consonants.

Brian is an unremarkable child, until he isn’t. As other children start to babble, adding to their vocabularies day by day, Brian grows quieter with age, stumbling over the words he needs to lead a normal life: He is a stutterer. This speech disorder defines his formative years, filled with prejudice and bullying, as he creates his own scales of right and wrong, both justified and unjustified. He uses his fists whenever words fail him. As he increasingly fills with rage after life-changing abuse at the hands of a priest who takes advantage of his vulnerability, he resorts to ever greater acts of violence, risking everything he has worked hard for in life. Brian’s one hope for his redemption? Alaska. An elderly Brian moves to the Alaskan outback, and here he attempts to redeem himself and the world.

“A compelling, at times relentless novel that gives the term antihero a brand-new spin.” —Felice Picano, author of Like People in History, The Book of Lies, and Onyx

“A flame of rage burns at the core of Brian Moriarty, ignited by a traumatic birth and fueled by a lifetime of debasement and abuse because Brian stutters. Treat’s First Consonants is incendiary, placing the reader in the furious heart of Brian’s world. As we may decry his actions, we cannot help but want a balm for him, a cool soothing of his implacable ire, lest it consume and reduce him to ash.” —Terry Wolverton, the author of Stealing Angel

“First Consonants touches on the origins of violence, of love, and what it means to find one’s way through the maze that is the world. Here is a story that is engrossing, vulnerable and wise in a way that few books are these days.” —Jim Krusoe, author of The Sleep Garden

“Written in ludic, kinetic prose, at turns beautiful and harrowing, it has an expansiveness and ethical import that is rare.” —Alistair McCartney, author of The Disintegrations

Purchase First Consonants (Jaded Ibis Press, 2022, paperback, $17.99) from the Bureau's online store:

First Consonants will also be available for purchase at the event.

Thank you for supporting the Bureau by purchasing books from us!

This event will take place in person at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, on the second floor (room 210) of The LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., NYC, 10011.

Registration is not required. Seating is first come, first served.

Also live-streaming on the Bureau’s YouTube channel:

Suggested donation $10 to benefit the Bureau’s work.

All are welcome to attend, with or without donation.

We will pass a bag for donations at the start of the event, but we can also take credit card donations at the register.

Safety protocol

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

If you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 in the days leading up to the event, we ask you to please stay home.

Please note that masks are required at all times inside The LGBT Community Center, where the Bureau is located.

John Whittier Treat has lived in the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, for forty years. His fiction has won the Christopher Hewitt Prize, and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His novel The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House, was a finalist for the 2016 Lambda Prize for Best Gay Fiction. A novella, Maid Service, was published in 2020 and his second novel, First Consonants, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. His opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times and the Huffington Post. Treat is currently at work on his third novel, set among survivalists in rural eastern Washington State, entitled The Sixth City of Refuge.

Sarah Van Arsdale’s sixth book, Taken, a poetry collection, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. She is the author of four books of fiction including Toward Amnesia (Riverhead, 1995) and Blue (winner of the 2002 Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel) and a single book-length poem, titled The Catamount (Nomadic Press, 2017), illustrated with her watercolors. She serves with the Ferro-Grumley Award in LGBTQ Fiction, teaches creative writing in the Antioch/LA Low-residency MFA Program, and works as a private manuscript consultant.

Stephen Greco is Editorial Director of InsideRisk and Editor-at-Large of the magazine Upstate Diary. He has contributed to and/or served as editor for Air Mail, Elle Décor, Interview, MTV online, New York, The New York Times, Opera News, Stagebill, Trace, and The Village Voice, among others. Greco is author of the novel Now and Yesterday (Kensington, 2014). His most recent novel, Such Good Friends, based on the friendship of Truman Capote and Lee Radziwill, will be published by Kensington in May, 2023. For the stage, Greco has written Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood, an orchestral-theatrical work from Giants Are Small, the partnership of Edouard Getaz and Doug Fitch, that premiered at the Kennedy Center in 2017. With Fitch, Greco has written the multi-media works How Did We…? (2014; University of Buffalo Center for the Arts) and Punkitititi/Breakfast Included (2020; Salzburg Marionette Theater, Salzburg Mozarteum). Greco wrote the libretto for the Victoria Bond opera How Gulliver Returned Home in a Manner that was Very Not Direct, and is working on musical theater projects with composers Scott Wheeler and Douglas Cuomo.

Greco lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, 208 West 13th Street, New York, United States


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