Half King reading series : This is all I got

featuring author Lauren Sandler

Sep 5, 2023 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
skylight gallery
Half King Reading Series
Open to the public
Eventbrite RSVP required
FREE to attend

About the Series

What was once one of the most vital literary hubs in the city, The Half King Reading Series, has a new home at the Salmagundi Club. At monthly events, authors of new works will discuss their books in a warm, welcoming, and informed setting. Selections are predominantly, but not exclusively, non-fiction, current events, biography, autobiography, novels and memoir.


Salmagundi members are welcome to have dinner in our dining room. Dining reservations can be made via our Reservations page. Please note that last call for food is 8:30 PM.

About the Book

Cover of "This Is All I Got: A New Mother's Search for Home" by Lauren Sandler.

This Is All I Got by award-winning journalist Lauren Sandler is an unsparing portrait of a fierce heroine; a story to shatter complacency regarding the problem of worsening inequality in the United States. Camila’s deeply affecting story takes us through the daily treacheries and unexpected triumphs of surviving when you’re born with nothing and have nothing to rely upon. In the process, this intimately-told experience of a single remarkable human being offers a harrowing diagnostic of the vast, lumbering social service system in this country.

When Sandler moved to New York City in 1992, homelessness was already considered a national crisis. The night she unpacked her bags, 23,482 people slept in the city’s public shelters. By the 2015 evening she met Camila, a twenty-two-year old homeless soon-to-be single mother, that number had ballooned to more than 60,000 people.

“Camila’s caseworkers would tell you that they’ve never seen anyone as knowledgeable about the system in which she was stranded,” Sandler says. “It quickly became clear to me: If she couldn’t use her wits and persistence to make the system work for her, no one could.”

A master class in immersive reporting, This Is All I Got begins as Camila goes into labor in a shelter in Brooklyn, and follows her to the overcrowded Bronx apartment where she lands after an untimely eviction. Sandler shadows her as she navigates welfare benefits, housing vouchers, child support, and what she must endure to stay in college and stay sane. Throughout, Camila’s intimacies—with people with whom she shares DNA, living space, desire, grudges, heartbreak—help us know this complicated character whose ambitions and passions are nearly as great as the constant crises she has no choice but to confront.

About the Author

Lauren Sandler, from the shoulders up, in black and white, in a curly-haired, slim woman.

Lauren Sandler is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement. Her essays and features have appeared in dozens of publications including Time, The New York Times, Slate, The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, and The Guardian. Sandler has led the OpEd Project’s Public Voices Fellowships at Yale, Columbia, and Dartmouth and taught in the graduate journalism program at NYU, where she has also been a visiting scholar. She lives in Brooklyn.

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