November 22, 2022

Reading by Raven Leilani and Princeton Creative Writing Seniors on December 5

Bestselling novelist and National Book Foundation “5 under 35” honoree Raven Leilani, author of the Kirkus Prize-winning novel Luster, will read from her work at 5:00 p.m. on December 5 in the Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton University campus. Yunxia Hallowell, Chaya Holch, Mel Hornyak, Sheherzad Jamal, Cassandra James and Danielle Jenkins, seniors in Princeton’s Program in Creative Writing, will also read from their recent work; senior Ashira Shirali will host the evening. This event is part of the 2022-2023 C.K. Williams Reading Series, named after the late Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning poet C.K. Williams, who served on Princeton’s faculty for 20 years. This series showcases senior students of the Program in Creative Writing alongside established writers as special guests. The event is free and open to the public, no tickets are required. The studio is an accessible venue, and guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the event date.

raven leilani smiles wearing orange turtleneck, gold hoop earrings, and she has long black braided hair

Raven Leilani. Photo Credit: Nina Subin

Raven Leilani’s debut novel Luster was a 2020 New York Times Notable Book of the Year and named a best book of that year by NPR, Vanity Fair, O Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and other publications. She has been called “a major new talent” by USA Today and “a writer of exhilarating freedom and daring” by Zadie Smith in Harper’s Bazaar. In addition to the National Book Foundation and Kirkus honors, Leilani has received the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award, National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, Dylan Thomas Prize, Clark Fiction Prize, and Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her writing has been published in Granta, The Yale Review, New England Review, The Cut and elsewhere.

The five seniors who will read from their work are among 25 Princeton students pursuing certificates in creative writing in addition to their major areas of study. Each is currently working on a novel, a screenplay, translations, or a collection of poems or short stories as part of their creative independent work for the certificate. These 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, Yiyun Li, Paul Muldoon, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Susan Wheeler, and a number of distinguished lecturers and visiting professors.

Visit the Lewis Center website to learn more about the 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.


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