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Reading by Playwright/Actor Wallace Shawn and Poet/Novelist Laura Kasischke
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 4:30 PM
Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center

On Wednesday October 3, renowned poet Laura Kasischke and playwright and actor Wallace Shawn will read from their works as part of the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series of the Program in Creative Writing at the Lewis Center for the Arts.  The reading, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Berlind Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center, is free and open to the public.
 
Wallace Shawn (c)Jared RodriguezPerhaps best known as an actor for his performances in film and television, Wallace Shawn is also a highly regarded, OBIE Award-winning playwright.  His early plays, such as Marie and Bruce dealt with sexual and emotional conflicts, while his later plays evolved to become overtly political. His plays include Four Meals in May (1967), The Family Play (1970), The Hotel Play (1970), The Hospital Play (1971), Our Late Night (1975), A Thought in Three Parts (1976), Marie and Bruce (1978), Aunt Dan and Lemon (1985), The Fever (1990), The Designated Mourner (1997; adapted to film in 1998), and Grasses of a Thousand Colors (2008).
 
After receiving an A.B. in History from Harvard University, Shawn attended Oxford University to study Economics and Philosophy before teaching English in India for the Fulbright Program. Originally intending to become a diplomat, he found himself drawn into the word of literature and drama.
 
Shawn made his acting debut in Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979). Since then, he has appeared in over 70 films including the semi-autobiographical My Dinner with Andre (1981), Strange Invaders (1983), The Princess Bride (1987), Vanya on 42nd Street (1994), Clueless (1995), The Toy Story series (1995, 1999, 2010), The Incredibles (2004), and Chicken Little (2005), among others. On television, he has appeared in Ally McBeal, Murphy Brown, The Cosby Show, Crossing Jordan, and Taxi.
 
Shawn’s other writings include political commentary in The Nation, a one-issue political magazine called Final Edition, and Essays. He has also penned a translation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera.
 
Laura KasischkeLaura Kasischke, originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a celebrated poet and novelist. She is a recipient of the Juniper Prize, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, and multiple Pushcart Prizes, among others.  Last year, she was awarded the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for Space, In Chains.  Kasischke has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Her novel The Life Before Her Eyes was made into a film of the same name starring Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood.
 
Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Harper’s, and The New Republic.  She has also published several books of poetry including Wild Brides (1991), Housekeeping in a Dream (1995), Fire and Flower (1998), What It Wasn’t (2002), Dance and Disappear (2002), Gardening in the Dark (2004), Lilies Without (2007), Space, In Chains (2011).  Her novels include Suspicious River (1996), which was also made into a feature film, White Bird in a Blizzard (1998), The Life Before Her Eyes (2002), Boy Heaven (2007), Be Mine (2007), Feathered (2008), In a Perfect World (2009), Eden Springs (2010), and The Raising (2011). Be Mine was translated by Christian Bourgois and sold in France under the titled, À moi pour toujours, where it was a national best-seller.
 
In the New York Times, Erika Krouse noted the poetic qualities of Kasischke’s fiction: “It is not enough to say that Kasischke's language is ‘poetic,’ a word that has come to mean ‘pretty.’ Rather, her writing does what good poetry does—it shows us an alternate world and lulls us into living in it.”

Kasischke is a Professor of English Language at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she teaches in the MFA program.
 
The Lewis Center’s Program in Creative Writing is sponsoring this event as part of the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series which provides an opportunity for students, as well as all in the greater Princeton region to hear and meet the best writers of contemporary poetry and fiction. All readings are free and open to the public and take place on select Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. Other readings scheduled in the series include:
 
·         Denis Johnson and Tom Sleigh on November 14
·         Alicia Ostricker and AS Byatt on February 13
·         Nikky Finney and Azar Nafisi on March 13
·         Matthew Dickman and Joseph O'Neill on April 17
 
In addition, students in the Program in Creative Writing will present readings of their work in December and May, including seniors who are completing a certificate in the program.
 
Also on October 3 at 7:30 p.m. a reading by women writers of the Middle East will be presented at the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street.  This reading is part of The Fertile Crescent Project showcasing the art and perspectives of contemporary women of Middle Eastern cultures taking place through January and involving over 40 program partners, spearheaded by the Rutgers Institute for Women in Art.  Authors reading at the Fertile Crescent event include Abena Busia, Nathalie Handal, Maysa Hayward, and Mohja Kahf.


 
The Lewis Center for the Arts encompasses Princeton University’s academic programs in creative writing, dance, theater, and visual arts, as well as the interdisciplinary Princeton Atelier.   The Center represents a major initiative of President Shirley M. Tilghman to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton.  Over 100 diverse public performances, exhibitions, readings, and lectures are offered each year, most of them free or at a nominal admission fee.  For more information about the Lewis Center for the Arts visit princeton.edu/arts.

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