Cynthia Carr’s biography Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz (Bloomsbury, 2013) is about the artist/writer David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992 at the age of thirty-seven, and the story of the East Village art scene, the AIDS crisis, and the culture wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wojnarowicz played a critical role in each: his life story will be the thread holding the analysis together. This unique period in cultural history goes beyond a single New York milieu: the media spotlight suddenly illuminated what had once been the cultural margin, exposing artists (especially gay artists) to an audience guaranteed to find them intolerable (right-wingers were outraged that someone like Wojnarowicz could even apply for a government grant). Carr met Wojnarowicz in 1982 and later wrote a feature article about him for the Village Voice, pegged to the opening of his retrospective in 1990. Access to his close friends and collaborators, including Nan Goldin, Karen Finley, and Tom Rauffenbart, will enable her to “write from the inside.”

Cynthia Carr is the author of Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America (Crown Publishers, 2006), which was named one of the best books of 2006 by both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century (Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England, 1993). Carr chronicled the work of contemporary artists as a Village Voice critic in the 1980s and 1990s and has published numerous articles on such figures as Kathy Acker, Marina Abramovic, and Coco Fusco for The New York TimesModern Painters, and TDR: The Drama Review.