Readings: Chandra Prasad and Jake Halpern on Wed., Nov. 28

Authors Chandra Prasad and Jake Halpern will read from their published works in the Best Video Performance Space this Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7:30 PM.

Chandra Prasad is the author of numerous books and short works, including three critically acclaimed novels. Prasad most recently penned Breathe the Sky: A Novel Inspired by the Life of Amelia Earhart. Booklist praises this “insightful novel” for getting “inside Amelia Earhart’s psyche to give life to the woman behind the myth.” Wally Lamb proclaims, “from lift-off to landing, Breathe the Sky is a novel that soars.” Breathe the Sky was a ForeWord Magazine finalist for “Book of the Year” in the category of Historical Fiction.

Prasad also wrote On Borrowed Wings, a novel that follows a quarryman’s daughter as she attends 1930s Yale University in the guise of a boy. National Public Radio hails the novel “great, believable storytelling” about “race, class, gender, and family.” The author of Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen, notes that Prasad’s novel “combines drama and a strong sense of place that provides both a lesson in history and a fine read.” On Borrowed Wings was a Connecticut Book Award finalist.

Prasad is the originator and editor of, and a contributor to, Mixed: An Anthology of Short Fiction on the Multiracial Experience, which was published to international raves by W.W. Norton. A combination of Indian, Italian, Swedish, and English, Prasad drew inspiration from her own multiracial identity in assembling the book, which includes original material by Danzy Senna, Rebecca Walker, Ruth Ozeki, and Mat Johnson, among others. Booklist calls the anthology “absorbing and thought-provoking,” while The San Francisco Chronicle calls it “wonderful, deftly crafted, and satisfying.” Mixed has been adopted in university-level English courses across the country.

Prasad will read from her novel On Borrowed Wings and from a young adult novel currently in progress.

Jake Halpern is an author, journalist, and radio producer.  His first book, Braving Home (2003), was a main selection for the Book of the Month Club by Bill Bryson and was one of Library Journal’s “Best Books of the Year.”  His next book, Fame Junkies (2007), was the basis for an original series on NPR’s All Things Considered and portions of  the book were published in both the New Yorker and in Entertainment Weekly.

Halpern’s first work of fiction, a fantasy novel entitled Dormia (2009), has been hailed by the American Library Association’s Booklist as the next Harry Potter. As a journalist, Jake has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, GQ, Sports Illustrated, The New Republic, Slate, Smithsonian, Entertainment Weekly, Outside, New York Magazine, and other publications.

In the realm of radio, Jake is a contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered and This American Life.  Jake’s hour-long radio story, “Switched at Birth,” is on This American Life’s “short list” as one of its top eight shows of all time.  Currently two of Jake’s stories are being developed into fictional dramatic series on HBO—one is being produced by Scott Rudin and the other by Brad Pitt’s production company.  Last, but not least, Jake is a fellow of Morse College at Yale University, where he teaches a class on journalism.  He recently returned from India where he was visiting as a Fulbright Scholar.

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