Pulitzer Prize finalist and fiction writer Hernan Diaz will read from his work at 6:30 p.m. on March 6 in the Forum at Princeton University’s Lewis Arts complex. Joining him will be Peter Schmidt, Grace Searle, Allie Spensley, Emilie Szemraj, and Khanh Vu – 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’ Program in Creative Writing, is free and open to the public.
The C.K. Williams 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.
Hernan Diaz was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his first novel, In the Distance. The book won the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the New American Voices Award, among other distinctions. It was also a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of the Year, one of Lit Hub’s Top 20 Books of the Decade, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Diaz has published stories and essays in Cabinet, The New York Times, The Kenyon Review, Playboy, Granta, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Diaz is also the author of Borges, between History and Eternity, an exploration of aspects of the work of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, and he edits an academic journal at Columbia University.
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 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.