Labyrinth Books, Princeton University’s Humanities Council, and the Princeton Public Library are pleased to invite you to an evening of readings and conversation with John McPhee and two celebrated young authors, former students of his.
Kushanava Choudhury joins us from India to talk about Epic City, a masterful portrait of great hopes and dashed dreams in a mythical city. Everything that could possibly be wrong with a city was wrong with Calcutta. After graduating from Princeton, Choudhury moved back to the world which his immigrant parents had abandoned, to a city built between a river and a swamp, where the moisture-drenched air swarms with mosquitos after sundown. Why, his relatives beseeched him, had he returned? Yet fifteen million people still lived in Calcutta. Choudhury found the streets of his childhood unchanged by time. Shouting hawkers still overran the footpaths, fish-sellers squatted on bazaar floors; politics still meant barricades and bus burnings, while Communist ministers travelled in motorcades. Sifting through the chaos for the stories that never make the papers, Choudhury paints a soulful, compelling portrait of the everyday lives that make Calcutta.
Elisabeth Cohen’s debut novel, The Glitch, by contrast, is the fast, funny, deeply hilarious story of a high-profile, TED-talking, power-posing Silicon Valley CEO and mother of two who has it all under control, until a woman claiming to be a younger version of herself appears, causing a major glitch in her over-scheduled, over-staffed, over-worked life. Completely original, brainy, and laugh-out-loud funny, The Glitch introduces one of the most memorable characters in recent fiction and offers a riotous look into work, marriage, and motherhood in our absurd world.
John McPhee is Professor of Journalism at Princeton University and is considered one of the pioneers of creative nonfiction. He has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1965. He has written nearly 30 books and won the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World. His most recent book is Draft No.4: On the Writing Process. Kushanava Choudhury writes for the Statesman, Calcutta's leading English Newspaper. Epic City is his first book. Elisabeth Cohen’s work has appeared in Conjunctions, The Mississippi Review, The Cincinnati Review, McSweeney’s Online and The Millions. The Glitch is her first book.