A worthy cause: Defiance Literary Benefit to Rebuild Red Hook

Steve Earle, left, will provide musical entertainment at a literary benefit for Red Hook, to be hosted by Kurt Andersen, right.
(Ted Barron / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Thomas Hart Shelby / Random House)

The blankets, coats and diapers are all answers to a looming question: What can I do to help victims of Hurricane Sandy? And now there’s another, literary solution: the Defiance Literary Benefit to Rebuild Red Hook.

Red Hook, a relatively isolated New York City community that’s a mixture of artists, industrial buildings and public housing projects, was hard hit by the massive October storm. Pictures of a flooded Red Hook were among the first to be circulated showing how much damage Hurricane Sandy was causing.

Radio host Kut Andersen will host the benefit, to be held Wednesday at the Littlefield performance venue in Brooklyn. Readers will include Sam Lipsyte, Joseph O’Neill, Rivka Galchen, Chuck Klosterman, Philip Gourevitch, Phillip Lopate and Meghan O’Rourke. They’ll be reading stories of Red Hook, resilience and other subjects that are thematically appropriate.

The evening will have music too: from Steve Earle, who is not just a musician but also a novelist, and from Stew, whom New York knows as the Tony-award winning writer of “Passing Strange” and (parts of) Los Angeles remember from his band The Negro Problem.


Tickets are $50. All proceeds will go to one of two nonprofit organizations founded to help victims of the storm and to support businesses devastated by it in Red Hook: Restore Red Hook and the Red Hook Initiative.

The Defiance Literary Benefit is named for Fort Defiance, which loomed over the neighborhood during the Revolutionary War. There is also a Ft. Defiance Cafe and Bar in Red Hook, but it is closed for repairs after being damaged by Hurricane Sandy.


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