A crazy rich party
Crazy Rich Asians author returns to hometown Houston for bookish Inprint Ball
The Inprint Poets & Writers Ball, Houstonian literati and bibliophiles’ favorite gala, returned to in-person celebration with one, crazy, rich night thanks to best-selling author Kevin Kwan. The Crazy Rich Asians novelist, who grew up in Houston along with a special anniversary for Inprint director Rich Levy, made the dazzling evening one to remember.
Chaired by Cullen Geiselman, with help from Host Committee, the Inprint board, advisory board, and Presidents Council, supporters and the 350 guest, the Ball raised more than $442,000 for Inprint’s mission to bring the best writing to Houstonians and its many community activities and support for emerging writers attending University of Houston and Rice University.
For a punily good evening, guests also celebrated and raised a glass to another rich literary tradition, Inprint’s executive director, and award-winning poet in his own right, Rich Levy’s 25 years at the organization.
Inprint supporters were excited to be back in the room together-this year at the Briar Club-for a ball like no other. Along with a headlining literary star as speaker, what makes the Poets & Writers Ball truly unique is its pre-dinner salon readings from up-and-coming writers and poets who have benefitted from Inprint’s support, usually while attending the University of Houston graduate creative writing programs.
This year, the writers giving guests a preview of their next literary obsession were poet and essayist Niki Herd, whose essay “George Floyd and the White Gaze,” was selected as Salon’s “Best of 2020;” poet Justin Jannise author of award winning How to Be Better by Being Worse and fiction writer Isle McElroy author of The Atmospherians, named a Best Book of 2021 by Esquire. All three authors praised Inprint’s support during their time in Houston and stressed how vital those prizes and fellowships had been to their work. Some also recounted how leading Inprint community writing workshops and programs had especially influenced their writing and personal lives.
After a poetic dinner designed by Robert Del Grande, who contributed an actual culinary poem about the inspiration for the meal, it was time to get crazy with Kevin Kwan.
ABC-13 News journalist Melanie Lawson led Kwan on a journey into his life in writing. Born in Singapore, he now calls New York home, but Kwan recalled his formative years growing up in Houston. It was at UH Clear Lake that he wrote a poem the would become the foundation for the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, and that iconic second scene from the film when the family matriarchs gossip during Bible study. Kwan also revealed coming back to Houston to take care of his ill father and listening to his stories of Singapore became a large inspiration for the novels.
At the end of the evening, guests received a very special thank-you gift designed by artists Fiona McGettigan and Alan Krathaus of CORE Design Studio, a handmade limited-edition chapbook based on the opening pages of Kevin Kwan’s latest novel Sex and Vanity, each copy of which was numbered and signed by the author.
Seen having a crazy, literary night were Eloise and Steve Brice, Mary S and Jack Dawson, Kate Dearing and Steve Fowler, Consuelo Duroc-Danner, Brooke and Dan Feather, Sarah Flournoy, Debbie Gary, Judy and Marc Herzstein, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Sabria and Kevin Lewis, Meg Malone, Nancy Powell Moore, Beth Robertson, Lillie Robertson, Sarah Rothenberg and Robert Azencott, Sarah Beth and Paul Seifert, Doreen Stoller and Dan Piette, Liara Tamani and Larry Animashaun, Brad Telford and J. Mark Deaton, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Michelle and Rishi Varma.