Reading by Writers Ling Ma and Sandra Cisneros

Pictured Above: Ling Ma. Photo Credit: Anjali Pinto



Princeton, NJ – The Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series, presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University, opens the 2023-24 season with a reading by fiction writer Ling Ma, author of the novel Severance and the story collection Bliss Montage, and MacArthur Foundation Fellow and National Medal of Arts-winning writer Sandra Cisneros. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. on October 3 in the Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton University campus.

Ling Ma’s most recent book is Bliss Montage: Stories (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022), which was named a National Indie Bestseller, a New Yorker Best Book of the Year, and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Severance (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018), which won the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award. Named a New York Times Notable Book and an NPR Best Book of 2018, Severance has been translated into seven languages. Ling’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Granta, Playboy, Vice, Chicago Reader, Ninth Letter, Buzzfeed, and more. Her fellowships include a Whiting Award and a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship. Ling was born in Sanming, China, and grew up in Utah and Kansas. She received her M.F.A. from Cornell University. Prior to graduate school she worked as a journalist and editor. She has taught creative writing and English at Cornell University and the University of Chicago. She lives in Chicago.

Pictured Above: Sandra Cisneros. Photo Credit: Keith Dannemiller.

Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, the PEN/Nabokov Award for International Literature, the National Medal of Arts, the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, and the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. Her novel The House on Mango Street has sold over seven million copies, has been translated into over 25 languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation. A new book, Martita, I Remember You/Martita, te recuerdo, a story in English and in Spanish, was published in 2021. In the fall of 2022, Cisneros’ first new poetry collection in 28 years, Woman Without Shame, was published by Knopf and by Vintage Español in a Spanish language translation, Mujer sin vergüenza, by Liliana Valenzuela. Cisneros is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico. As a single woman, she has noted she chose to have books instead of children and to earn her living by her pen.

The Lewis Center’s Program in Creative Writing annually presents 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 contemporary writers. The series is organized by Lecturer in Creative Writing and award-winning poet Michael Dickman. All readings are at 7:30 p.m. in the Darpkin Studio and are free and open to the public.

Additional readings in the 2023-24 series include:

  • Marlon James and Patricia Smith on November 14
  • David Henry Hwang and Ilya Kaminsky on February 20
  • Khaled Mattawa and Hiroko Oyamada, with translator David Boyd, on March 26
  • Students in the creative writing program will read from their recent work in December and April
  • Seniors in the program will read from their thesis work in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and literary translation in May

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required through University Ticketing.  Guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the event date.

Read it First, Subscribe to Our Newsletter