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Fall reading series begins at Princeton's Lewis Center for the Arts


Marguerite d'Aprile-Smith    
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

(Princeton, NJ) Princeton’s internationally renowned Program in Creative Writing, a part of the University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, will open its reading series on Wednesday, October 6 with readings by Hodder Fellows Cynthia Cruz, EM Lewis and ZZ Packer. The readings begin at 4:30 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts at 185 Nassau Street. All readings are free and open to the public.

American poet Cynthia Cruz published her first collection of poems, Ruin, by Alice James Books in 2006. The New York Times Sunday Book Review said, “…Cruz writes about illness, death, destitution and addiction with confident authority and disquieting relish.” Ruin was also reviewed by Library Journal and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly who called Cruz “…a new poet to watch.” Cynthia Cruz has published poems in numerous literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Kenyon Review and The Paris Review. She has a second collection of poetry forthcoming from Four Way Books.

Playwright EM Lewis won the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award from the American Theatre Critics Association for Song of Extinction, which premiered in Los Angeles. It was published in Dramatics Magazine in January 2010, and is now available in an acting edition from Samuel French. Lewis also wrote the Iraq War hostage drama Heads, winner of the 2008 Primus Prize for an emerging woman theater artist. Edward Albee described it as “provocative and wonderfully threatening.” Her first full-length play, Infinite Black Suitcase, which Variety called “endearing and insightful,” was produced by TheSpyAnts and premiered in 2007 at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

ZZ Packer is the author of the short story collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, a PEN/Faulkner finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. “This is the old-time religion of storytelling, although Packer’s prose supplies plenty of the edge and energy we expect from contemporary fiction,” cited The New York Times Book Review. Packer’s stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Story and Ploughshares among others. Her nonfiction has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, The American Prospect, Essence and more. A recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Packer has also been named one of America’s Young Innovators by Smithsonian Magazine and one of America’s Best Young Novelists by Granta. The New Yorker listed ZZ Packer as one of 20 accomplished writers under 40 in its June 14 issue.

The Hodder Fellowship is given to writers of exceptional promise to pursue independent projects at Princeton University during the academic year. Typically the fellows are poets, playwrights, novelists, creative nonfiction writers and translators who have published one highly acclaimed work and are undertaking a significant new project that might not be possible without the “studious leisure” afforded by the fellowship. Former recipients include poets John Berryman, Marlys West and Kathleen Graber; playwrights Michael Friedman, Jordan Harrison and Tarell Alvin McCraney; and novelists Richard W. B. Lewis, Dan O’Brien and Mona Simpson.

The Lewis Center’s Program in Creative Writing is sponsoring the event as part of the ongoing Althea Ward Clark W’21 reading series, which provides an opportunity for students as well as all in the greater Princeton residential community to hear and meet the best writers of contemporary poetry and fiction. All readings are free and open to the public. Readings take place on select Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts at 185 Nassau Street, Princeton.

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