On Wednesday, February 8, writers Paul Beatty and Marilyn Chin will read from their work as part of the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series of the Program in Creative Writing at the Lewis Center for the Arts. The reading, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center, is free and open to the public.

paul beatty

Fiction writer Paul Beatty. Photo courtesy of OneWorld

This year Paul Beatty became the first American to win the Man Booker Prize, the prestigious British award for literature, for his satirical novel The Sellout (2015). The novel centers on a young African-American swept up in a race trial, exploring themes related to urban life, civil rights, and the American Constitution itself. He is also the author of the novels Slumberland (2008), Tuff (2000), and The White Boy Shuffle (1996). His poetry collections include Big Bank Take Little Bank (1991) and Joker, Joker, Deuce (1994), and he is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor (2006). Beatty is the recipient of awards from the National Book Critics Circle and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. He was also crowned the first Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Café in 1990. Beatty earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Brooklyn College and an M.A. in psychology from Boston University. He currently lives in New York City.

marilyn chin

Poet Marilyn Chin. Photo courtesy of Marilyn Chin

Marilyn Chin’s fourth volume of poetry, Hard Love Province (2015), received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award honoring important contributions that address the issues of racism and diversity. Her collections of poems also include Rhapsody in Plain Yellow (2003), The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty (1994), and Dwarf Bamboo (1987). She is also the author of a novel, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen (2009). Born in Hong Kong, she has translated poems by the modern Chinese poet Ai Qing and co-translated poems by the Japanese poet Gozo Yoshimasu, in addition to writing poetry and fiction. Chin is the recipient of numerous awards, including from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her other honors include a Stegner Fellowship, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, four Pushcart Prizes, the Paterson Prize, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan, as well as residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Lannan Residency, and the Djerassi Foundation. Her work is widely anthologized in such texts as The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women and The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century Poetry, and The Best American Poetry. Chin’s books have become Asian American classics and are taught in classrooms internationally. Recently, she was a guest poet at universities in Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manchester, Sydney and Berlin, Iowa and elsewhere. Currently, she is Professor Emerita at San Diego State University and is the Grace Hazard Conkling Poet-in-Residence at Smith College.

The Lewis Center’s Program in Creative Writing annually presents the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series, which provides an opportunity for students, as well as all in the greater Princeton region, to hear and meet the best writers of contemporary poetry and fiction. All readings are free and open to the public, and they take place on select Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. Other readings scheduled in the 2016-2017 series include:

  • Douglas Kearney and Kirstin Valdez Quade on March 15
  • John Ashbery and Jim Jarmusch on April 19
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