January 13th 2015: Drinking Gourd Launch


Authors Chris Abani (left) and Willie Lin (right)

Join us for an evening of words and music, as we celebrate the third Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize. Renowned author Chris Abani will join Willie Lin, winner of the third annual Drinking Gourd Prize. The evening will include readings from Professor Abani’s diverse and extensive body of work, Lin’s winning chapbook, Instructions for Folding, and live performances by Tatsu Aoki, a Chicago-based bassist and Shamisen Lute player. Copies of Lin’s chapbook, just released from Northwestern University Press, will be available for sale.

Thursday, January 13th
7:00 P.M.
Poetry Foundation
61 West Superior Street
Free admission

Chris Abani is an acclaimed author. His most recent novel is The Secret History of Las Vegas. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. Born in Nigeria, he is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.

Willie Lin is the author of Instructions for Folding. Her poems have also appeared in Bone Bouquet, the Cincinnati Review, Washington Square Review, and other journals. She lives and works in Chicago.


Born in Japan into an artisan family, Tatsu Aoki is a prolific artist, composer, musician, educator and a consummate bassist and Shamisen Lute player. Based in Chicago, Aoki works in a wide range of musical genres, ranging from traditional Japanese music, jazz, experimental and creative music and is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well a filmmaker, and an educator. Aoki was named one of 2001’s “Chicagoans of the year” by Chicago Tribune for his music. Aoki’s suite ROOTED: Origins of Now, a four-movement suite for big band, premiered in 2001 at Ping Tom Memorial Park, and was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and at MCA Stage as part of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival. Additional notable releases include Basser Live (1999) and Basser Live II (2005), recorded live at MCA Stage; The MIYUMI Project (2000), Symphony of Two Cities (2002), and Posture of Reality with Wu Man (2003). The Asian American Institute awarded Aoki the Milestone Award in 2007 for his contribution to Chicago-area arts. In 2010, he received the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award and the “Living in our Culture” award this year by the Japanese American Service Committee.

Northwestern’s Poetry and Poetics Colloquium and Northwestern University Press in celebrating and publishing works of lasting cultural value and literary excellence. For more information visit our page.

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