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Reading series begins at Lewis Center for the Arts; new locations this year


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 fall reading series on Wednesday, September 28 with readings by Hodder Fellows Anthony Carelli and Danai Gurira. In addition, Julia Rose, a senior thesis student of Joyce Carol Oates in the Program in Creative Writing will read briefly from her work. The readings begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center; note the change from the longstanding location at 185 Nassau Street. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome.
Both Anthony Carelli and Danai Gurira have a Princeton connection. Carelli was a participant in the 2011 Princeton Poetry Festival, organized by Pulitzer-prize winning poet and chair of the Lewis Center Paul Muldoon. Gurira developed her award-winning play Eclipsed, about the effects of war on Liberian women, at the McCarter Theatre in 2008.

Anthony Carelli’s poems have appeared in various magazines, including AGNI, Columbia and The New Yorker. His first book of poems, Carnations, was published in the spring of 2011 as part of the Princeton University Press series of contemporary poets. Roy Olson, Booklist, described the collection as “…real experiences, conducive to mixed feelings, yet Carelli writes of them in language so enlivening and fresh that they become blessings, which is why most of the poems have churchly and theological titles.” Carelli was raised in Poynette, Wisconsin, and studied at the University of Wisconsin–Madison before completing an MFA in poetry at New York University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he works at a savory pie shop. Carelli will be introduced by poet Tracy K. Smith, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and the Richard Stockton Bicentennial Preceptor at Princeton.

OBIE award winner Danai Gurira was the recipient of  the 2008 TCG New Generations travel grant for Eclipsed and has taught playwriting and acting in Liberia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. “In Eclipsed, Gurira paints both a feeling of the desperation felt by the women in the commando camp, with a prescient glimmer of hope for change…” commented Donna Doherty, in The New Haven Register. Gurira is developing a play about the current situation in Zimbabwe with the Royal Court in London and completing another Zimbabwean piece entitled The Convert.

In addition to writing plays, Danai Gurira is also an actress who co-created and performed in the award-winning two-woman play In the Continuum, which premiered off-Broadway and toured the U.S. and Southern Africa.  For her work on that production, Gurira won a 2006 OBIE Award, the 2006 Outer Critics John Gassner Award and the 2004 Global Tolerance Award (Friends of the United Nations), in addition to being honored by the Theatre Hall of Fame.  In 2007, she received a Helen Hayes Award for Best Lead Actress in In the Continuum at Woolly Mammoth.  Gurira appeared in the acclaimed film The Visitor and on Broadway in Lincoln Center Theater's production of Joe Turner's Come and Gone. This summer she appeared in Measure for Measure in Shakespeare in the Park, for which the New York Times said Gurira “brings a thrilling intensity to her portrayal of the Catholic novice Isabella, one of Shakepeare’s tougher-to-love heroines.”
Danai Gurira was born in the U.S. to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe.  She received her MFA in acting from New York University.  Michael Cadden, Director of Princeton’s Program in Theater and currently the Acting Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts, will introduce Danai Gurira.

Princeton’s Hodder Fellowship was created for artists in the early stages of their careers. In keeping with the bequest of Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder, it is awarded to individuals during that crucial period when they have demonstrated exceptional promise but have not yet received widespread recognition. Hodder Fellows may be poets, playwrights, novelists, creative nonfiction writers, translators, or other artists and humanists who have "much more than ordinary intellectual and literary gifts" and who are selected "for promise rather than performance." Most have published a first book and are undertaking significant new work that might not be possible without the "studious leisure" afforded by this fellowship. Hodder Fellows spend an academic year at Princeton pursuing independent projects. Former recipients include poets John Berryman, Mary Jo Bang and Kathleen Graber; playwrights Michael Friedman, Jordan Harrison Tarell Alvin McCraney and Dan O’Brien; and novelists W. B. Lewis 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. This year’s reading series will include Rita Dove, James Salter, Rae Armstrong, John Irving, James Richardson, Jonathan Franzen, James Tate, Zadie Smith, Mary Ruefle and Jane Smiley. All readings are free and open to the public. Readings take place on select Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. however locations for the readings will vary this year.

The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

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