The 2018 Inprint Poets & Writers Ball on Saturday, February 3, was a modern literary salon of the highest order, with 400 guests gathering at the Houstonian Hotel to celebrate the written word.
Thanks to the leadership of ball chairs Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen and many literary-minded donors, the event raised more than $400,000.
Paul Theroux, the award-winning author of more than 50 volumes of travel writing, fiction, essays, and children’s literature, was the featured speaker. He spoke about the joy and importance of reading—a topic near and dear to the gala attendees’ hearts. As a thank-you gift for supporting guests, book designers Cathy Hunt and Fiona McGettigan of FioCat Press created a limited-edition handmade chapbook, Deep South: An Excerpt by Paul Theroux, each autographed by Theroux.
The ball kicked off with salon-style readings from three Inprint prize and fellowship recipients: poet Conor Bracken, whose witty commentary while reading from his 2017 Frost Place Chapbook Competition winner Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour elevated his already-captivating poetry; Aja Gabel, who read from her debut novel about the complex relationships between members of a string quartet, The Ensemble, which will be published by Riverhead Books in May; and Adrienne Perry, who read an excerpt from a novel she is working on about race and identity.
Café Annie chef Robert Del Grande once again designed a three-course meal for the evening—and penned a playful essay describing its development, “A Menu Imagined, con alcune licenze,” featured on the back of the menu.
Each table in the dining room was decorated with a different and delightful literary theme. Science fiction and travel writing were featured, as well as Moby-Dick by Herman Meville, Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, Enduring Love by Ian McEwan, and many more.
Proceeds from the annual Poets & Writers Ball benefit Inprint’s literary performance programs for adults and children; writers workshops for the general public, senior citizens, veterans, teachers, the incarcerated, the homeless, and more; and support for Houston’s creative writing students.