November 2, 2017

Conversation with writer, producer and Princeton alumnus John Sacret Young

Award-winning television producer behind such shows as CHINA BEACH, THE WEST WING, and POLICE STORY discusses his new book, PIECES OF GLASS — AN ARTOIRE

book cover

Pieces of Glass — An Artoire (Tallfellow Press, April 2016)

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, in partnership with Princeton Garden Theatre and Labyrinth Books, will present “John Sacret Young and Pieces of Glass –An Artoire,” a visual presentation and conversation with Princeton Professor of Visual Arts Joe Scanlan focusing on Young’s latest memoir, presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts in partnership with Princeton Garden Theatre and Labyrinth Books. The event will take place on Monday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Princeton Garden Theatre, 160 Nassau Street in Princeton. The event is free and open to the public but ticketed; advance reservations are encouraged at

John Sacret Young, a member of Princeton’s Class of 1969, began his television work on the Emmy Award-winning series, Police Story, and has since created, written, or executive produced six additional series and multiple pilots, mini-series, and movies of the week. He co-created with William Broyles, Jr., executive produced, and was the showrunner of the ground-breaking series, China Beach. For his work on the show, Young received five Emmy and four Writer’s Guild Award (WGA) nominations. The WGA honored him with an award for an episode he also directed. The West Wing brought him two more Emmy and two more WGA nominations.

john sacret young

Award-winning writer, producer and Princeton alumnus John Sacret Young ’69. Courtesy of John Sacret Young

In total, Young has been nominated for seven Emmys and seven WGA Awards. He won his second WGA Award for the mini-series about Vietnam, A Rumor of War. He has also written and produced feature films and has been honored with two Christopher Awards for the Academy Award-nominated film Testament starring Jane Alexander and Kevin Costner, and the film Romero with Raul Julia and Richard Jordan. Young has also received a Golden Globe, People’s Choice, and a Peabody Award, and his original mini-series about the Gulf War, Thanks of a Grateful Nation, was honored with his fifth Humanitas Prize nomination as a writer and second win. As a producer he has four additional Humanitas awards.

Young’s book, REMAINS: Non-Viewable was a Los Angeles Times best seller. He has written extensively about American art, which led to his memoir, Pieces of Glass – An Artoire, about the effect art has had on his writing, his screen work, and his life.

Young has lectured at University of Southern California, University of California Santa Barbara, the Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton Presidential Libraries, and taught at Princeton University and Claremont-McKenna College. He has contributed pieces to the book Doing It for Money, Written By magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. He is on the board of the Firestone Library at Princeton, the Humanitas Awards, and served for over 25 years on the board of the Writers Guild Foundation. Young presently has two pilots in development and recently partnered with Robert Redford and Dolly Parton on television projects.

Young provided the funding to establish the John Sacret Young ’69 Fund for Visiting Filmmakers at Princeton, which has recently made possible the Cinema Today film series presented by the Visual Arts Program of the Lewis Center for the arts including the current Film Blackness series at the Garden Theatre, the Sonic Resistance series last spring, and guest artist visits by Terrence Malick, Charlie Kaufman, Kelly Reichardt, and Todd and Jedd Wider.

joe scanlan

Professor of Visual Arts Joe Scanlan. Photo courtesy Joe Scanlan.

Scanlan is an artist whose work takes multiple forms, from sculpture and design to publications and fictional personae. With a willful subterfuge running through much of his work, his projects address such issues as the political economy of site-specific labor (Massachusetts Wedding Bed); or co-scripting the life and work of a fictional artist in collaboration with professional actors (Donelle Woolford); or in the design and manufacture of portable architecture that can inhabit the body of a host museum (Thingstahtfall Pavilion). Scanlan is internationally renowned for the dark humor and conceptual rigor of his work. He is also a widely read, discussed, and translated writer for such venues as Artforum, frieze, and Parkett, social media forums such as Facebook, and his website, He has published five books in relation to his work: Object Lessons (Kunstmuseum aan Zee) 2013; Passing Through (K21, Düsseldorf) 2007; DIY (Imschoot Uitgevers, Ghent) 2003; Pay Dirt (IKON Gallery, Birmingham, England) 2002; and Joe Scanlan (Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany) 1996. Scanlan is also the holder of U.S. patent no. 6,488,732, which is a process of converting postconsumer waste into viable potting soil. His work is in the public collections of K21; Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; the Stedelijk Museum Voor Aktuele Kunst, Ghent; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Scanlan began teaching at Princeton in 2009, when he was appointed professor of art and director of the Program in Visual Arts. He holds a B.F.A. in Sculpture from the Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio.



The Princeton Garden Theatre is a member-supported nonprofit movie theater in the heart of downtown Princeton. With a focus on arthouse and independent titles, the theater is also a home for family films, local filmmakers, classic Hollywood cinema, and community events. The Garden Theatre is an organization of film-lovers dedicated to the preservation of historic movie theaters and the celebration of the community film-going experience.

Labyrinth Books is an independent, family-owned community and scholarly bookstore. The store carries everything from new to used and rare books, from university press to kids’ books, and from what’s current in all fields and genres to the works that have shaped today’s debates. Labyrinth is Princeton University’s book provider and collaborates with partners throughout the community for its vibrant program of author events and for social justice causes.

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