It was while at Bennington that Levy met the late Giancarlo DiTrapano, who founded the literary magazine tyrant of new york in 2006 before launching Tyrant Books in 2009. DiTrapano had a legacy of pushing the work of unheard-of new writers and a reputation for taking risks on work no other publishing house would touch (including stories of addiction, sexuality and drugs). DiTrapano was an early proponent of Sean Thor Conroe’s polarizing yet incredibly popular novel Fuccboireleased this year, as well as the semi-autobiographical book by Nico Walker in 2018 Cherryin which a former US Army doctor robs banks to fund a heroin addiction (the book was adapted by the Russo Brothers into a 2021 film starring Tom Holland).
“I was a huge Tyrant Books fan from eighth to 12th grade,” says Levy. “At my ex-boyfriend’s movie premiere in New York I was alone in the room when I met [the arts publicist] Kaitlin Phillips. She approached me and said: ‘What are you interested in? What do you want to do, you’re 19? I explained that at Bennington we have an internship and she said: ‘OK, what’s your dream internship? I’ll get it for you no matter what.. i said ‘Tyrant Books’ and she was like: ‘No way, holy shit, Gian is one of my best friends.
As it happened, DiTrapano offered him more than an intern position.
“Kaitlin sent him my writing instead and he said: ‘You don’t need to do an internship, we will post it.
“He was the coolest,” says Levy of DiTrapano, who died in March 2021, aged 47. “The type of person who was called ‘the best person’ while he was still alive. I didn’t want to post with anyone else. People were like: ‘Watch out, these people are on drugs and stealing your money. But I didn’t want to be ‘a writer’. I just wanted to be a Tyrant Books writer.
Two months after the publication of Tyrant Books cancel me and internet girl, the new yorker published Levy’s good boys, a short story about partying on a Parisian rooftop that sees Levy once again trapped in her own inner monologue. By then people were paying attention, and she was assigned to start work on her first book, tentatively titled my first book, a collection of essays that build on his earlier work – anxious, narcissistic, cracked writing that puts the reader inside his head. Its release is scheduled for 2023.
She gladly sends me drafts of the book, with the caveat that “it’s like listening to an album that hasn’t been mixed yet” and says he struggles to finish it. The first three stories she sends me are experiments with AI, where Levy asks a machine to write her stories on topics like emo girls, blockchain, and the opioid crisis, and posts the results. . There’s a story about a failed, drug-related relationship. Another on anxious parties. The one that immediately stands out, however, is halloween forever. It opens with a bulleted list of reasons why the end might be near – “kids flying drones instead of kites in the park” – before expanding into a surreal depiction of contemporary dystopia: embracing surveillance and smiling in the glow of laptops with FBI agents inside. other end.
Levy says she can only write at night, and while she’s on Adderall, so the second time we talk on Zoom, it’s 4 a.m. in New York. She’s sitting in her dark room smoking Vogues because she lost her vape. She is mildly dismissive of her book, laughing as she describes it as “just more stories about what it’s like to be a girl”.
“When the New Yorker something came out, someone tweeted something about my writing, saying: ‘Every few years a girl starts writing stories about what it’s like to be her and they think it’s a whole new thing,” Levy says with a laugh. “And it’s like… yeah, what’s better than reading a girl’s diary? These stories are all super personal.