Seeds of Transformation:

Reinvigorating Civic Education for the Nation

People & Stories is delighted to announce that our annual event will feature Danielle Allen


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Giving Tuesday “Live” Event!

Ditch the devices and join us on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, from 3 to 5 p.m.




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Save the Date:
“Notable Words” Annual Event
Friday, March 13th, 2015
The Nassau Club
Princeton, NJ

An Evening with James Richardson

Introduced by Tracy K. Smith

James Richardson is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Princeton University, where he teaches beginning and advanced poetry workshops.  He is a graduate of Princeton University and earned his PhD from the University of Virginia in 1975.

His collections include By the Numbers: Poems and Aphorisms, which was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010; Interglacial: New and Selected Poems and Aphorisms (2004), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (2001) (e.g. “All work is the avoidance of harder work” “You’ve never said anything as stupid as what people thought you said”); How Things Are (2000); A Suite for Lucretians (1999); As If (1992); Second Guesses (1984); and Reservations (1977).   He is also the author of two critical studies: Thomas Hardy: The Poetry of Necessity (1977) and Vanishing Lives: Tennyson, Rossetti, Swinburne and Yeats (1988).

Richardson has recent poems and aphorisms in Slate, The New Yorker, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Harold Bloom’s American Religious Poems, David Lehman’s Great American Prose Poems: Poe to the Present, Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists, the Pushcart Prize Anthology and several volumes of The Best American Poetry, and essays/reviews on Bishop, Gregg, Larkin, Merrill, Merwin, Browning, Van Duyn, proverbs and aphorisms, “dead lady poems,” and how the brain dreams and reads.

His honors include the Jackson Poetry Prize; the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Award in Literature; the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner, Cecil Hemley, and Emily Dickinson Awards; a Pushcart Prize; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.


Elizabeth Strout won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her short story collection, Olive Kitteridge, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Composed of thirteen stories linked through the title character, Olive Kitteridge is a perceptive and wise portrait that speaks to the power of human connection. “Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” wrote The New Yorker.  People and Stories/Gente y Cuentos is delighted to feature Elizabeth Strout at our Annual Benefit on Friday, April 11, 2014.

Her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and for the Orange Prize in England. Her second novel, Abide with Me, was a national best seller and a Book Sense pick. Her most recent novel, The Burgess Boys, debuted to critical acclaim.


What does a young woman whose father was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope grow up to be? For Tracy K. Smith, her journey led to poetry. People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos was pleased to feature a reading by Ms. Smith, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Poetry Prize, at our 10th Annual Benefit on Friday, April 12th.

Tracy K. Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Life on Mars, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize; Duende, recipient of the 2006 James Laughlin Award’ and The Body’s Question, which won the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.  Smith is also the recipient of a 2004 Rona Jaffe Award and a 2005 Whiting Award. She was the Literature protégé in the 2009-2011 cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.


People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos welcomed prize-winning novelist Chang-rae Lee to our annual benefit evening on April 13th.  Lee honored guests with his courageous act of reading from the first twelve pages of a work-in-progress, which will become his next published novel.  In one of the final passages of Lee’s piece, a main character is represented as experiencing life so deeply she feels unbounded and free.  Later, in response to an audience question, “Why do you write?” it was exactly this freedom Chang-rae Lee sees as the key to why he writes.


Sheila Kohler is the recipient of many awards, including the O. Henry Prize (in 1988 and in 2008); the Open Voice Award (1991); the Smart Family Foundation Prized (2000); The Willa Cather Prize; and the Antioch Review Prize (2004).  She was a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers in 2003-4.  Her work has been translated and published widely abroad.


Colm Tóibín, winner of the 2009 Costa Novel Award, is the author of several works of fiction, including Brooklyn (2009), The Heather Blazing (1992), The Story of the Night (1996) and The Blackwater Lightship (1999), which was on the short list for the Booker Prize. The New York Times named his 2004 novel, The Master, one of the 10 most notable books of the year. Colm Tóibín published his first collection of short stories, Mothers and Sons, in 2006. Non-fiction books include Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border (1994) and The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe (1994).


Amy has won several prestigious literary awards for her work, including the Hobson Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Over the years, she has served as a judge for the National Book Award, The PEN/Revson Award, The PEN/ Hemingway Award, and the Mary McCarthy Prize among others.  She is currently a faculty member in the graduate writing programs of Bennington College in Vermont and The New School University in New York City.


Multi-award-winning Director and Playwright Emily Mann is in her 23rd season as Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre. Under Ms. Mann’s leadership, McCarter was honored with the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater.   In 2002, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Princeton University. Her latest play, Mrs. Packard, was the recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award and will be published by TCG in Spring 2008. Most recently, Ms. Mann directed the world premiere of Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I.



Dr. Edith Grossman is the translator of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote (Ecco/Harper Collins, 2003), as well as Living to Tell the Tale, the first volume of Gabriel García Márquez’s three-volume memoir. Dubbed the “Glenn Gould” of translating by Harold Bloom, Grossman has brought Cervantes’s masterpiece into its most crisp English yet, 400 years after its original publication, and her version has been hailed by Carlos Fuentes in The New York Times as “a major literary achievement.”



A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Paul Muldoon received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature for 1996. Other awards include the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, the 2005 Aspen Prize for Poetry, and the 2006 European Prize for Poetry. He was described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.”


Robert Fagles (September 11, 1933 – March 26, 2008) was an American professor, poet, and academic, best known for his many translations of ancient Greek and Roman classics, especially his acclaimed translations of the epic poems of Homer. He taught English and comparative literature for many years at Princeton University. Fagles was nominated for the National Book Award in Translation and won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets in 1991 for his translation of the Iliad. In 1996, he received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his translation of the Odyssey. In 1997 he received the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for lifetime achievement in translation. Fagles later undertook a new English translation of the Aeneid, which was published in November 2006. In addition to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fagles was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He received a National Humanities Medal by the National Endowment for the Humanities. On June 8, 2011, a resource center devoted to the study of the Classics was dedicated to Dr. Fagles at Princeton High School. At the dedication, students and teachers paid tribute to Dr. Fagles.


Komunyakaa is the recipient of the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award. His other honors include the William Faulkner Prize from the Université de Rennes, the Thomas Forcade Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Louisiana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  He was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 1999. He has taught at University of New Orleans, Indiana University, as a professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. He lives in New York City where he is currently Distinguished Senior Poet in New York University’s graduate creative writing program.