Houston’s ability to attract internationally renowned, award-winning artists to town means on occasion one will have to cancel an event because she might be winning another award.
Such was the ironic lesson Inprint learned recently after scheduling novelist Jhumpa Lahiri for the Inprint Margarett Root Brown reading series. When the 2013-2014 season was announced Lahiri’s novel The Lowland had not yet been released, but now it sits on the short list for one of literature’s most prestigious awards, the Man Booker Prize. The awards ceremony in London is two days after the Inprint event, so Lahiri was forced to cancel her appearance.
“We worked hard to reschedule the Lahiri reading for later this season or for some time next season (2014-15), but she simply couldn’t do it,” Inprint executive director Rich Levy told CultureMap.
Disappointed book lovers can take solace that, in a feat of scheduling prowess, three days later Inprint was able to land two remarkable novelists to replace Lahiri for the Oct 13 reading at the Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater.
The Haitian-American writer and MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship recipient Edwidge Danticat is the author of the books Brother, I’m Dying and Krik? Krak! which were both National Book Award finalists. She will read from her new novel Claire of the Sea Light.
Daniel Woodrell will read from his Ozark set, critically acclaimed new novel The Maid’s Version. His previous novel Winter Bone was adapted into the Academy Award nominated film starring Jennifer Lawrence.
“This is going to be a fascinating reading, with two great writers, both of whom write about people struggling to survive, albeit in very different places—Haiti and rural Missouri," Levy said, finding similarities between the two novels.
“Both writers have been on our “most wanted” list for some time, and we are thrilled to present them, and profoundly appreciate their willingness to come to Houston on such short notice."
In the future, Inprint might want to give the Booker Prize ceremony date a wide berth. Last week in a controversial move that rocked the publishing world, Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation announced that the award, which in the past was restricted to writers from British Commonwealth countries and Ireland, will now be open to any novel written in English and published in the U.K.
Considering the many acclaimed U.S writers Inprint brings to Houston who will now be eligible to win a Booker, we might have to get used to further cancellations in years to come.