In a night of bibliophile glamour, Houston’s foremost literary arts nonprofit organization, Inprint, once again celebrated the art of storytelling at their 2019 Poets and Writers Ball. Thanks in part to chairs Anne and Albert Chao and the champions-of-literature guests, the Poets and Writers Ball raised more than $420,000, exceeding the goal of $375,000.
Though guests arrived at the Houstonian ready to party like a poet (and writers), the evening was also a testament to Inprint’s mission to Houston. Proceeds from the Ball will make possible Inprint community activities that serve more than 15,000 people annually, including low-cost or free literary performance programs for adults and children; writers workshops for the general public, senior citizens, K-12 teachers, veterans, healthcare providers, the incarcerated, and more; and support for more than 500 of the nation’s top creative writing students in Houston since 1983.
As a literary appetizer, three recipients of Inprint fellowships and prizes and alumni of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program entranced guests with excerpts from some of their latest work during pre-dinner intimate salon-style reading session. Thea Lim read a chapter of her acclaimed novel An Ocean of Minutes, which takes an immigration story into a science fiction, time-traveling realm. Pushcart Prize-winning author Jessica Wilbanks, shared sections from her memoir When I Spoke in Tongues: A Story of Faith and Its Loss that are set in Houston.
Award-winning poet Henk Rossouw took guests on a trip to the South Africa of his youth with a reading from his poetry collection, Xamissa.
After a dinner designed by friend-of-Inprint, James Beard Award-winning chef Robert Del Grande of Cafe Annie, Inprint director Rich Levy thanked the approximately 400 guests for their continued support of literary arts in Houston. Event co-chair, Anne Chao, then introduced the evening’s featured speaker, National Book Award finalist Min Jin Lee.
Inspiration and resilience were the themes of the gala as Lee told a true life story of how she overcame personal, physical and creative adversity to become the New York Times bestselling author of Pachinko and Free Food for Millionaires. To send guests off affirming the power of words and storytelling, Lee proclaimed that we all have super powers–the ability to love and the power to persist when life and circumstances are at their most difficult.
Seen among the glittering literati were Franci Neely, Mark Wawro and Melanie Gray, and Nancy Powell Moore, Katie Dunwoody, Debbie Gary, Gwen Dawson and Ba Nguyen, Nancy C. Allen, Bettie Cartwright, Sis and Hasty Johnson, Mary and David Wolff, Candace Baggett and Ron Restrepo, Marcia Backus and Mike Hood, Randi Faust and Carl Herman, Brooke and Dan Feather, Judy and Marc Herzstein, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Sabria and Kevin Lewis, Louisa Stude Sarofim, Judy and Charles Tate, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, and Nina and Michael Zilkha; Dina Alsowayel and Tony Chase, Robin Angly and Miles Smith, Susan Baird and Leah Lax, Mary and Marcel Barone, Luba and Alan Bigman, Carolyn Russell Brock, Liz and Steve Crowell, Carolyn and Platt Davis, Mary S and Jack Dawson, Jenny Elkins, Kristina and Jeff Fort, Rachel and Bud Frazier, Eleanor and Dan Gilbane, Henneman Rau LLP, Linda and George Kelly, Caroline Kerr and Andy Lusk, Elizabeth and Albert Kidd, Bobbi and Vic Samuels, Diana Strassman and Jeff Smisek, Y. Ping Sun and David W. Leebron, Sannam and Scott Warrender, and Marcia West and Ron Lewis; Yasmine and Christie Ballantyne, Jeff Beauchamp, Karen and Mike Brisch, Trey Peacock, Laura and John Calaway, Bettie Cartwright, Theresa and Peter Chang, Judy Chapman and Terrence Doody, Susie and Joe Dilg, Nancy Dunlap, Consuelo Duroc-Danner, Annette and John Eldridge, Cece and Mack Fowler, Cullen K. Geiselman, Claire and Joe Greenberg, Lee Herrick and Norm Fluet, Madeleine Callery Hussey, Stephanie Larsen, Harriet and Truett Latimer, Beth Madison, Nancy Manderson, Sara and Bill Morgan, Nathalie and Charles Roff, Hinda Simon, Lois and George Stark, Andrea and Bill White, and Cyvia Wolff.