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SPENCER WISE-The Emperor of Shoes

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 7:00pm
The Emperor of Shoes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781335145901
Availability: Out of Stock; Usually Arrives in 5-7 Days
Published: Hanover Square Press - June 5th, 2018



Tuesday, June 26 at 7PM

speaking & signing
The Emperor of Shoes

in conversation with author Elizabeth McCracken



From an exciting new voice in literary fiction, a transfixing story about an expatriate in southern China and his burgeoning relationship with a seamstress intent on inspiring dramatic political change Alex Cohen, a twenty-six-year-old Jewish Bostonian, is living in southern China, where his father runs their family-owned shoe factory. Alex reluctantly assumes the helm of the company, but as he explores the plant's vast floors and assembly lines, he comes to a grim realization: employees are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex's own father is engaging in bribes to protect the bottom line. When Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy, his sympathies begin to shift. She is an embedded organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, secretly sowing dissonance among her fellow laborers. Will Alex remain loyal to his father and his heritage? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite? Deftly plotted and vibrantly drawn, The Emperor of Shoes is a timely meditation on idealism, ambition, father-son rivalry and cultural revolution, set against a vivid backdrop of social and technological change.


Spencer Wise was born in the North Shore of Massachusetts where people give directions relative to Dunkin’ Donuts franchises (ie. Two Dunks down the road, turn left, at the next Dunks, bang a right).

After attending Tufts University, he did community organizing in the South End. Then he followed a girlfriend to New York and worked at Time Out NY and Sports Illustrated for a number of years and kept writing stories. One of them he showed to his close friend at the Tavern on Jane, who set the story down and said, “You know, you don’t have to be a writer.” Scarred but undeterred, Wise returned to graduate school in creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin, finally earning a Ph.D. at Florida State University. He stayed in Tallahassee where he has the privilege of sharing his passion for literature and writing with the amazing students at FSU. He lives with his brilliant partner who rocked a beret with leopard trim for most of her childhood. Unsurprisingly, they have two cats.

His current book, The Emperor of Shoes (HarperCollins/Hanover Square Press), will be released June 5th, 2018. He comes from a long line of shoemakers dating back many generations to the shtetls in Poland. To research the book, Wise lived at a dormitory in a shoe factory in South China where the novel takes place.

His fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry can be found in journals such as Narrative Magazine, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Florida Review, and The New Ohio Review.

He was recently awarded a fellowship to attend the Vermont Writer Studio this summer.


ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN, a former public librarian, is frequently a faculty member at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has received grants and awards from numerous organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Guggenheim Foundation. Elizabeth is married to the playwright, novelist and artist, Edward Carey.

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Thank you for supporting Spencer Wise and your local independent bookstore!