Award-winning journalist, translator, fiction writer and Princeton alumnus Aaron Robertson will read from his work at 6:30 p.m. on February 21 in the Forum at Princeton University’s Lewis Arts complex. Accompanying him will be Liza Milov, Abbie Minard, Richard Peng, Rasheeda Saka, and Destiny Salter — five seniors in Princeton’s Program in Creative Writing who will be reading from their recent work. This reading continues the 2019-20 C.K. Williams Reading Series, named after the late Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning poet C.K. Williams, who also served on Princeton’s faculty for 20 years. The event, presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts, is free and open to the public.
The series showcases senior thesis students of the Program in Creative Writing alongside established writers as special guests. The Program is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year with readings by 80 writers, including those in the C.K. Williams Series.
A member of Princeton’s Class of 2017, Aaron Robertson’s interests lie between North African and European culture and history. His aim as a translator is to bring stories of the African diaspora in Italy – and Italians in Africa – into English. As an undergraduate at Princeton, Robertson began studying Italian language and literature. In 2015, he traveled throughout Scotland, England, and Italy to visit sites associated with medieval Christian saints, while also writing fiction that synthesized Black literary practices and the genres of autobiography, confessional, and the vita (life of a saint). His journalism career began at the Detroit Metro Times, where he wrote on the intersection of activist art and politics in the city. He has written on Italian literature and politics for publications including Foreign Policy, n+1, and The Point Magazine. In 2018, he received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translation of Igiaba Scego’s Beyond Babylon (Oltre Babilonia), published by Two Lines Press in 2019. He is currently working on translations of Giulia Caminito’s The Big A (La Grande A) and Martha Nasibù’s Memories of an Ethiopian Princess (Memorie di una principessa etiope).
The five seniors, who are pursuing certificates in creative writing in addition to their major areas of study, will read from their senior thesis projects. Each is currently working on a novel, a screenplay, translations, or a collection of poems or short stories as part of a creative thesis for the certificate. Thesis students in the Program in Creative Writing work closely with a member of the faculty, which includes award-winning writers Michael Dickman, Aleksandar Hemon, A.M. Homes, Christina Lazaridi, Jhumpa Lahiri, Yiyun Li, Paul Muldoon, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Susan Wheeler, Monica Youn, and a number of distinguished lecturers.
Other upcoming guests in the 2019-20 C.K. Williams Series include Hernan Diaz, Hala Alyan, and Maya Phillips.
In addition, the Program in Creative Writing presents the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series, also free and open to the public, on Wednesday evenings on the Princeton campus. Upcoming guests in that series include Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and Yoko Tawada on March 4, and Kaitlyn Greenidge, Helen Oyeyemi, and Nicole Sealey on April 15.
To learn more about these reading series, the Program in Creative Writing, and the more than 100 public performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, and lectures presented each year by the Lewis Center for the Arts, most of them free, visit arts.princeton.edu.