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Robert Stone and C.K. Williams Read at Princeton

(Princeton, NJ)  Princeton’s Program in Creative Writing continues its 70th Anniversary Reading Series on Wednesday, November 18th with readings by Robert Stone and C.K. Williams. The readings will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the James M. Stewart Theater ’32 located in the Lewis Center for the Arts at 185 Nassau Street. The event is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will be held after the readings.

Robert Stone has been called the best writer of the post-Vietnam era. His dark novels carry themes of drugs, alcoholism, sexual perversion, violence, moral and political corruption as an attempt to foster “the awareness of ironies and continuities, showing people that being decent is really hard and that we carry within ourselves our own worst enemy.”  He is the author of seven novels. The first, A Hall of Mirrors, was published in 1960 and received critical success that earned him a Guggenheim fellowship and numerous job offers from universities. Stone also authored a memoir and numerous short stories and essays, most notable on the Vietnam War which Stone covered first hand as correspondent for the British bi-weekly INK in 1971.

After returning to the United States from Saigon, Stone began work on Dog Soldiers, which he wrote at Princeton. It was published in 1974 and won the National Book Award. The book, which tells the story of an American journalist attempt to smuggle heroin from Vietnam to the United States, was eventually made into the film “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” which starred Nick Nolte. 

In addition to his novels, several of which have been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Robert Stone has authored dozens of articles and book reviews which have appeared in the New York Times, Harpers, the Atlantic, Esquire, Playboy, Life, Triquarterly, the Village Voice and the New York Review of Books since 1968. He is the recipient of many of the highest accolades available to a contemporary novelist including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Dos Passos Prize for Literature and a Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Grant, made possible by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In addition to having taught creative writing at Princeton University from 1971-72 and 1985, Robert Stone has also held faculty positions at Amherst College, Stanford University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Harvard University, University of California at Irvine and San Diego, New York University, the Johns Hopkins University and Yale University. He currently serves as co-chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Award Foundation and is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters. 

Jeffrey Eugenides, professor of creative writing at Princeton, will introduce Robert Stone.

Charles Kenneth Williams has published 14 books, 10 of which are of poetry. His first book, Lies, was published in 1969. Flesh and Blood (1987), received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as did The Singing (2003), a collection of poems about love and death along with political and anti-war poems. Williams was awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Repair, which touches on topics including the Holocaust and American race relations. Although Williams claims there is no one theme that binds all his poems to each other, his moral passion against war is  a reoccurring element in his writing. In addition to his poems, Williams published a memoir, Misgivings (2000) and numerous essays and several translations including Sophocles’ Women of Trachis, Euripides’ Bacchae and the poems of Francis Ponge.

He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation and numerous awards including the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Award, the PEN/Voelker Career Achievement in Poetry Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and the 2005 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, one of the highest honors given to American poets whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition.

A native of Newark, New Jersey and a resident of Paris and Princeton, C.K. Williams spends half his year living in France and the other half teaching in Princeton’s distinguished Creative Writing Program, where he has been on faculty since 1995.

Sarah Arvio, lecturer in creative writing at Princeton, will introduce C.K. Williams.

This reading is part of Princeton’s popular Althea Ward Clark W ’21 Reading Series, sponsored by the Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Creative Writing, and brings writers of national and international prominence to the University each semester. In doing so, the University provides opportunity for students and all in the greater Princeton residential community to hear and meet the best writers of contemporary poetry and fiction.

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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