American University in Paris Hosts a Reading with Jake Lamar
Written by Cedar Crest College’s MFA student, Stephanie Papa.
Left to right: Jake Lamar, Stephanie Papa and Andrew Davidson,
author of The Gargoyle and AUP’s writer in residence.
On Thursday, February 13th, I had the privilege of hosting an evening reading with Jake Lamar at the American University in Paris, organized by Jeffrey Greene, one of the Pan European program’s own faculty members. We were welcomed by an eager audience in AUP’s Grand Salon, from professors and writers to students, including a PEMFA student Caroline Von Krockow-Lahame and AUP’s Writer in Residence, Andrew Davidson. Paris-based authors Diane Johnson, Ellen Hinsey, Jim Haynes, Janet Skeslien Charles and Stéphane Michaka were also in attendance.
Jake, another talented faculty member on the PEMFA program, read from his upcoming novel, Posthumous, which is to be published in France by Rivages Press this September, and also from his play, Brothers In Exile, which was recently read for the first time at the Théâtre du Rond Point on the Champs Elysee in Paris.
Brothers in Exile is a fictional piece based on the fascinating relationship between three African-American literary giants: Chester Himes, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin. The writers lives intertwined in Paris in the 1950s, as they sought refuge from America’s racial tension. Although Jake was alone to perform his one-man reading of the play, he brilliantly took on the different persona of each character. The play is being submitted to theaters in London, New York and Paris, and we’re very excited to hear of its first production.
Posthumous is a novel about an art historian named Toby White, who is writing the story of the life of a feisty Dutch painter Femke Versloot, from Europe to California, from World War II to 9/11. Jake’s new book explores a different angle from his previous novels, which often have a thriller or crime appeal with race playing a significant role. We heard a witty and engaging excerpt from the book, and heard more about his pleasure in writing it.
The event, complete with a wine and homemade snack aperitif, was a wonderful merging of professors and writers involved in the MFA program, and also a lovely exchange between writers based here in Paris.