October 13, 2023

Reading by Ada Zhang and Princeton Creative Writing Seniors on October 24

Fiction writer Ada Zhang, author of the short story collection The Sorrows of Others, will read from her work at 5:30 p.m. on October 24 in the Godfrey Kerr Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton University campus. Kenza Benazzouz, Juliette Carbonnier, Anna Chung, Arlette Cojab, Sydney Eck, Andi Grene and Sydney Hwang, seniors in Princeton’s Program in Creative Writing, will also read from their recent work. This event kicks off the 2023-2024 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. The 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; however tickets are required. Reserve tickets through University Ticketing. The Godfrey Kerr 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.

Writer Ada Zhang looks at the camera. She wears a black necklace at her throat and a long sleeved yellow tshirt.

Ada Zhang. Photo Credit: Chloe Chang

Ada Zhang is a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her short stories have appeared in A Public Space, McSweeney’s, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She is currently the James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. Published in May 2023, The Sorrows of Others is her first book.

Chronicling the lives of characters based in China and the United States in the generations following the Chinese Cultural Revolution, The Sorrows of Others reveals people confronted with being outsiders — as immigrants, revolutionaries, or even within their own families. The ten stories wrestle with questions of identity and loss and consider how loneliness and isolation can shape lives. Called “sharp and revelatory” by The New York Times, Zhang’s first collection was even dubbed a “virtually perfect debut” by Booklist in a starred review.

The seven seniors who will read from their work are among 31 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. Starting with the Class of 2025, students can earn a minor in creative writing, rather than a certificate, but will continue to complete a significant creative independent work. Students in the Program in Creative Writing work closely with a member of the faculty, which includes award-winning writers Michael Dickman, Katie Farris, Aleksandar Hemon, A.M. Homes, Ilya Kaminsky, Christina Lazaridi, Yiyun Li, Paul Muldoon, Patricia Smith, Susan Wheeler, and a number of distinguished lecturers and visiting professors.

Additional readings in the 2023-24 series include:

  • Kwame Dawes on November 28
  • Vauhini Vara on February 13
  • Jake Skeets on March 19

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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