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Empowering Artistry: Author Carmen Maria Machado’s Impactful Visit at Cedar Crest College 

Carmen Maria Machado signing a book

“We need artists,” says Carmen Maria Machado, award-winning author of In the Dream House, Her Body and Other Parties, and The Low, Low Woods. “The world is in a moment of acute crisis, but the people who can really speak to that are artists – we have to bear witness and create.”   

On Wednesday, March 27, Cedar Crest College hosted author Carmen Maria Machado for a reading and signing as part of the Visiting Writer Series. A literary trailblazer, Machado’s work is revered for its lyrical prose and emotional resonance. Combining elements of horror, fantasy, and literary fiction, Machado never shies away from exploring themes such as sexuality, identity, and the human experience. 

Samuels Theatre was packed with attendees, each immersed in rapt silence as they hung on every word of Machado’s mesmerizing reading. The piece she shared centered on a toxic relationship between two women who found each other in every timeline. It was emotionally raw and real, unflinching and familiar even in the strangeness of the multiverse. While the story isn’t widely released as of now, only existing in several copies of a small literary magazine, it will be included in the book she’s currently writing.  

The reading was followed by a Q&A, where Machado delved into her journey as an author. She recounted her humble beginnings working at Lush in the King of Prussia Mall to make enough money for rent, writing story ideas on the back of receipt paper that would later work their way into the novel that led to her success.  

“It’s not easy, but you have to find time to pursue your art. Even if it’s just ten minutes a day, you need to follow that burning feeling inside you. Whether it’s writing a hundred words or creating a single drawing, take those small steps. Arts and humanities define our humanity.”