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Dawn Raffel in conversation with Ignatius Valentine Aloysius "Boundless as the Sky"




About the Book: 

Boundless as the Sky is a book of invisible histories that repose beneath the cities we inhabit, and the worlds we try to build out of words. The first of its two parts, stories of real and invented cities, some ancient, some dystopian, is the author’s beautifully written response to Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

The second half is a single narrative, taking place in a single city – Chicago – on a single day in 1933. It is based closely on a true event – the arrival of a “roaring armada of goodwill” in the form of twenty seaplanes flown in a display of fascist power by Mussolini’s wingman Italo Balbo to Chicago’s “Century of Progress” World’s Fair. The 7000-mile flight from Rome to Chicago was lauded by both Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Hitler, at a time when aviation made banner headlines across the US, and news of the Nazis was often in a side column. The novella follows a few of the many thousands of Chicagoans there to witness the planes’ arrival. These two panels of Raffel’s poetic diptych call out to each other with a mysterious and disquieting harmony, and from history and fantasy to the dangers and dark realities of the current moment with startling insight and urgency.

About the Author: 

Dawn Raffel is the author of five previous books, most recently The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies. Other books include two critically-acclaimed short story collections, a novel, and a memoir. Her stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including NOON, BOMB, Conjunctions, Exquisite Pandemic, New American Writing, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, Best Small Fictions, and more.

About the Conversation Partner:

Ignatius earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University. He is a lecturer in writing, a designer, and musician, and author of the novel Fishhead. Republic of Want (Tortoise Books, 2020) and The Imaginal Stage, a doom/sludge metal album by WOOND, his studio project on Mental Illness Recordings, Iowa City. Ignatius was selected as a 2020-21 Creative Writing Fellow  by the Ludington Writers Board and the Ludington Area Center for the Arts in Michigan. He serves as a judge for the Evanston Arts Council’s 2020-21 Cultural Fund Grants Applications, and is on the curatorial board at Ragdale Foundation. Ignatius was a featured July 2020 author for Ragdale’s By-and-for-Artists Series. He is also co-curator of Sunday Salon Chicago, a bi-monthly literary reading event series in Chicago. Ignatius lives with his wife in Evanston, IL and is currently at work on his next novel and album. Visit him at, or on social media.

Event Start Time: 
Friday, January 27, 2023 - 7:00pm
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