[youtube_video width=399 height=233]WWD Crouch[/youtube_video]

[ Sat Mar 10 12]

Katie Crouch can’t decide on an accent. Loopy and drawling, she confesses it’s not one but two Manhattans that push the Southern lady lilt back into her voice… at precisely the moment she’s at the mic to share her latest novel, The Teeth of the Griffin. To make things more complicated the book’s narrator is British, and, “I’m not gonna attempt that,” she says, until that accent slips out as well (damn you, Manhattans!) along with a confession that she’s really getting into Downtown Abbey. The comments on accent come minutes after her public realization that fellow reader Kirsten Imani Kasai’s non-kid-friendly erotica poems will force her to “rethink” her sex life, asap.

Despite the drinking and drawling and over-sharing, Crouch clutches her pages and carefully reads an excerpt that appears to be based on the life of Amanda Knox. Knox was an American student living in Perugia, who was accused of murdering her roommate and was ruthlessly castigated by the Italian media. I don’t know if everyone sitting in the Make-Out Room‘s glowing red shadows pick up on the connection, but this past fall Crouch wrote about Knox’s impact on Perugia, the appeal trial and ruling for Slate magazine. Good stuff.

In Teeth of the Griffin, it seems, Crouch not only fictionalizes but attempts to humanize hopelessly American Allison. The excerpt, a scene in which a reserved female Brit becomes the foil to the nosey and emotional Allison, is a robust and funny commentary on how American misery and ennui might translate to a community of young women living in Italy. Mind you, Crouch also has to deal with a novel of the ages, one with cell phones, crass Internet instamedia and global hyperconsciousness, but I’m hopeful for this new work. Crouch must wrangle British, Italian and American diction and capture all that Umbrian splendor, but I’m betting she won’t fail to move us with her words and their native, Southern grace.

Joining Katie Crouch for the evening were poet/novelist Kirsten Imani Kasai, Sci-Fi maven M.K. Hobson, Missionite Benjamin Bac Sierra and Louisiana local Skip Horack. And, don’t miss the colorful welcome and lively author introductions by series host, Charlie Jane Anders. Watch Katie, fellow readers and Charlie Jane videos above.


– Evelyn Manangan-Price