To be born at all is to be situated in a network of relations with other people, and furthermore to find oneself forcibly inserted into linguistic categories that might seem natural and inevitable but are socially constructed and rigorously policed. We’re all stuck in our bodies, meaning stuck inside a grid of conflicting ideas about what those bodies mean, what they’re capable of and what they’re allowed or forbidden to do. We’re not just individuals, hungry and mortal, but also representative types, subject to expectations, demands, prohibitions and punishments that vary enormously according to the kind of body we find ourselves inhabiting. — Olivia Laing*
For the concluding program in this summer’s Virtual Radcliffe Book Talks, Laing will read from her latest book Everybody: A Book About Freedom and join Joey Soloway for a conversation about its themes.
Harvard Radcliffe Institute
Tuesday, August 9
1 pm on the West Coast, 4 pm East Coast
*Olivia Laing, Everybody: A Book About Freedom (New York: W.W. Norton, 2021). Text © Olivia Laing.
From top: Olivia Laing, photograph © Sophie Davidson; Olivia Laing, Everybody: A Book About Freedom, cover image of 2022 paperback edition courtesy and © W.W. Norton.