Society / The Seen

A $420,000 Night Where Books are the Stars

Powerhouse Authors Make Houston a Literary Destination

BY // 02.06.19
photography Michelle Watson/

The literary lights shone brightly as Inprint Inc., the city’s leading literary nonprofit, celebrated the written word at the annual Poets & Writers Ball, held at The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa. One New York Times bestselling author and three highly-regarded scribes under Inprint’s wing shared their visions with the gathering of close to 400.

Saving the best for last, Min Jin LeeNational Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Pachinko and Free Food for Millionaires, shared her story in a compelling presentation over dessert and coffee. She is currently at work on American Hagwon, the third diaspora novel in her The Koreans trilogy.

Salon style readings preceded dinner with Thea Lim, Henk Rossouw, and Jessica Wilbanks sharing excerpts from their works. All are recipients of an Inprint fellowship, are writing award winners, and are alumni of the renowned University of Houston Creative Writing Program. Lim’s novel An Ocean of Minutes has been optioned for a TV series. Rossouw is author of the poetry collection Xamissa, winner of the Poets Out Loud Editor’s Prize. And Wilbanks’ memoir, When I Spoke in Tongues: A Story of Faith and Its Loss, has been excerpted in The Guardian.

Amid the special charms of the evening are the themed table decorations created by table hosts to reflect the book they have chosen to highlight. Among them were a cook’s theme to go with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Julie & Julia; a thought-provoking design for A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles; an interesting array of  vintage cameras topping the table featuring The Importance of Elsewhere, Philip Larkin’s Photographs by Richard Bradford; and roses and stars celebrating Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

The evening raised a generous $420,000 for Inprint programs, surpassing the initial goal of $375,000.

PC Seen: Chairs Anne and Albert Chao, Inprint Inc. executive director Rich Levy, Heidi and David Gerger, Isabel and Danny David, Lois and George Stark, Franci Neely, Marcia West, Ron Lewis, Gulchin Ergun, Matthew McBride, Graham Bayley, Sandhya Krishnan, Sara and Gabriel Loperena, Ba Nguyen, and Gwen Dawson.

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