November 4, 2022

Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing presents a reading by francine j. harris and Julie Otsuka

The Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series, presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University, continues the 2022-23 season with a reading by award-winning poet francine j. harris and bestselling novelist Julie Otsuka. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. on November 15 in the James Stewart Film Theater at 185 Nassau Street on the Princeton University campus. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. The Film Theater is an accessible venue. Guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the event date.

francine j. harris wears round glasses, a black argyle sweater, and has dark curly hair swept up on side of her face

francine j. harris. Photo courtesy francine j. harris

Poet francine j. harris is the author of Here Is the Sweet Hand (2020), play dead (2016), and allegiance (2012). Here is the Sweet Hand won the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award and was named a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award. Her second collection, play dead, was the winner of the Lambda Literary and Audre Lorde Awards, and allegiance was a finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the PEN Open Book Award. Winner of the 2014 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest, harris has also published work in McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Poetry, Meridian, Indiana Review, and Callaloo. Originally from Detroit, she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Cave Canem, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She is professor of English at the University of Houston and serves as consulting faculty editor at Gulf Coast.

julie otsuka sits on a bench in a park. She sits in profile and looks at camera, wearing leather jacket and jeans

Julie Otsuka. Photo credit Jean Luc Bertini

Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. Her first novel, When the Emperor Was Divine (Knopf, 2002), won the 2003 Asian American Literary Award and the 2003 American Library Association Alex Award and was named a New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. Her second novel, the international bestseller The Buddha in the Attic (Knopf, 2011), won the PEN/Faulkner Award, France’s Prix Femina Étranger, the Albatros Literaturpreis, the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction, and it was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The Buddha in the Attic has been translated into 22 languages. Otsuka is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Harper’s, Newsweek, 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories, The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story, The Best American Short Stories 2012, and elsewhere. Otsuka’s third novel, The Swimmers, was published by Knopf earlier this year.

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 contemporary writers. The series is organized by Lecturer in Creative Writing and award-winning poet Michael Dickman. All readings are at 7:30 p.m. in the James Stewart Film Theater and are free and open to the public.

The 2022-23 series continues on February 21 with a reading by poet/activist Rodrigo Toscano and novelist Tommy Orange, followed by a reading on March 28 by poet A. Van Jordan and fiction writer Emma Cline. In addition, students will read from their recent work for two events in the series: a fall student reading on December 13 and senior thesis readings in April.

Visit the Lewis Center website to learn more about this event, the Program in Creative Writing, and the more than 100 other performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, and lectures presented each year by the Lewis Center, most of them free.


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