Kathleen Watt "Rearranged" in Conv/with James Fitzgerald - Boston Event

Fri Oct 20 2023 at 05:30 pm to 06:30 pm

300 Pier 4 Blvd. | Boston

East End Books Ptown
Publisher/HostEast End Books Ptown
Kathleen Watt "Rearranged" in Conv\/with James Fitzgerald -  Boston Event
Kathleen Watt "Rearranged" in Conv/with James Fitzgerald - Boston Event 10/20 @5:30PM
About this Event

East End Books Ptown presents: Kathleen Watt "Rearranged" in Conv/with James Fitzgerald 10/20 @5:30pm, at the Boston Bookstore 2nd Floor Event Space.


Kathleen Watt sang principal roles with Boston Lyric Opera, Springfield Regional Opera, Utah Opera Company, Opera Works New York, and as a member of the Extra Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera, before her singing career was derailed by a diagnosis of osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) in the face.

Since retiring from performing, she has written frequently on performing arts and LGBTQ issues, featuring profiles and essays, for The Arts Council, Deutsche Gramophone (liner notes), New York City Opera Season Journal, Houston Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Washington National Opera, Playbill Magazine, Stagebill Magazine, Echelon Magazine, and New York Newsday. As a writer and cancer survivor, Kathleen has contributed editorial content to the London-based “Saving Faces” charity, and collaborated with doctors and artists on a range of projects, including an appearance in a BBC-4 special series about facial disfigurement.

Formerly an assistant art director in publishing, her rich, varied experience also includes a teaching stint in the Navajo Nation of Arizona. Kathleen has attended the Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University, Brigham Young University (earning a double BFA), with postgraduate studies in operatic performance from Boston University.

Kathleen writes from a windswept hay farm in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, where she resides with her partner, fifteen chickens, three dogs, and on occasion, their two grown children. Rearranged is Kathleen’s first book.

In lyrical prose, with musical allusions, clinical references, and a bit of comic relief, Rearranged follows Kathleen Watt's plunge from the operatic stage into the netherworld of hospital life—its indigenous creatures, its peculiar language, its signposts of the mysterious human condition—through the devastation of cancer, and out the other side. Kathleen was a New York opera singer at mid-career, with a steady, lucrative chorus job at the Metropolitan Opera and solo gigs elsewhere, anticipating her best year ever. Instead, a vicious bone cancer blew her plans to smithereens, along with her face. She had to let everything go. Bit by bit, through a brutal alchemy of lethal toxins, titanium screws, and infinite kindness, she discovered new arrangements for old pieces, in a life catastrophically transposed. Not only a heart-wrenching medical odyssey, but an ultimately joyous personal journey of transformation.

“Watt is a sharply descriptive writer who is unafraid to address the horror of her treatment… Unapologetically frank, the author also has a wry, sometimes self-effacing sense of humor that brings levity to a distressing subject. … The result is a finely textured and courageous literary memoir that is inspirational and, at times, darkly amusing.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Kathleen’s account of her experience with Osteogenic Sarcoma … is a very intimate portrayal... Anyone going through something like this will absolutely benefit from reading this beautifully written book.”

—Peter D. Costantino, MD, FACS, Brain and Spine Surgery of New York

James Fitz Gerald is a professor of English and Media Studies at Bentley University. His teaching and research specialize in the medical and health humanities, with a particular emphasis on depictions of illness in American literary culture. He’s currently working on a book about the convergence of economic, epidemiological, and environmental crises during the Age of Realism in the late nineteenth century. He’s published in a range of venues, including Literature and Medicine, Modern Fiction Studies, Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, Medium, and Newsweek. He lives in Bedford with his wife, Aryn, and their dog, Cooper.

Event Venue & Nearby Stays

300 Pier 4 Blvd., 300 Pier 4 Boulevard, Boston, United States


USD 5.00 to USD 25.00

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