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Isaac Fitzgerald: Dirtbag, Massachusetts


  • Author Talk

  • Thursday, August 3, 2023
  • Free for all
  • The Research & Development Store

Tonight’s event has reached capacity; we anticipate additional spots will be available at the door. We encourage you to join the wait list in person before the start of the event.

Winner of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association 2023 Book of the Year Award (Nonfiction)

Join us for a reading and conversation in the newly-launched R&D Store. Isaac Fitzgerald has lived many lives. He’s been an altar boy, a bartender, a fat kid, a smuggler, a biker, a prince of New England. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents’ lives-or so he was told. In Dirtbag, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald, with warmth and humor, recounts his ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self. Fitzgerald’s memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood that moves at breakneck speed from safety to violence, recounting an extraordinary pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, from smuggling medical supplies into Burma to his lifelong struggle to make peace with his body, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation, and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others.

Gritty and clear-eyed, loud-hearted and beautiful, Dirtbag, Massachusetts has seen accolades from Time, Rolling Stone, Boston.com and Entertainment Weekly. It’s a rollicking book that might also be a lifeline.

This event is free, but space is limited. To ensure enough books & seats are on hand, please RSVP via ticket link.

MASS MoCA’s new Research & Development Store (R&D Store) combines gallery and retail space focused on exhibiting, producing, and procuring affordable contemporary artist editions and books of the highest quality. Hosting author events, book and record launches, and intimate performances, the R&D Store’s nimble model of public programming advances and supports MASS MoCA’s creative impact and mission.

About the Author:
Isaac Fitzgerald is the New York Times bestselling author of Dirtbag, Massachusetts (winner of a New England Book Award). He appears frequently on The Today Show and is also the author of the bestselling children’s book How to Be a Pirate as well as the co-author of Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them and Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (winner of an IACP Award). His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Esquire, The Guardian, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and numerous other publications. He lives in Brooklyn and is currently working on his next book, American Dionysus, forthcoming from Knopf.

Photo credit by Remi Morawski