Writer John McPhee to Give Public Reading at Yale
John McPhee, staff writer for The New Yorker and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than 25 books of nonfiction, will make a rare public appearance at Yale on November 2, as part of the John Christophe Schlesinger Visiting Writer series.
McPhee will be reading from his new book, “Uncommon Carriers,” about the people who drive eighteen-wheelers, pilot towboats and drive coal trains.
The reading is scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Branford College Common Room, 74 High St., and is free and open to the public.
Educated at Princeton University and Cambridge, McPhee began his writing career at Time magazine and The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. His books “Encounters with the Archdruid” (1971) and “The Curve of Binding Energy” (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards. In 1977, McPhee received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. “Annals of the Former World,” his four-part work on geology, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1999.
Described as “the most versatile writer in America” by Edward Hoagland in the New York Times, McPhee has written on subjects as varied as the United States Merchant Marines (“Looking for a Ship”), farmers’ markets (“Giving Good Weight”), the Alaskan wilderness (the bestselling “Coming into the Country”) and fruit (“Oranges”). His first book, “A Sense of Where You Are” (1965), profiled Princeton basketball star Bill Bradley’s four years on the team. Considered an early member of the “new journalism” movement that began in the 1960s, McPhee incorporates stylistic elements typical of novels, such as character development and highly detailed description, into his treatment of nonfiction subjects.
McPhee also teaches a renowned nonfiction writing seminar at Princeton. His past students have included David Remnick, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and current editor of The New Yorker, and Richard Stengel and Jim Kelly, the current and former managing editors of Time magazine.
The John Christophe Schlesinger Visiting Writer series was established to enrich the experience of student writers in Yale College. It is supported by a gift from Richard and Sheila Schlesinger in honor of their son, who was dedicated to the pursuit of creative writing. Each year several distinguished writers come to campus to give a public reading and to confer with student writers in a variety of settings, formal and informal.