Princeton Today: McPhee on Writing


Narrative non-fiction pioneer John McPhee will read from several personal history pieces about the writing process and Princeton at a lecture tonight at Princeton University.

McPhee, the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, will give the talk “Writing on the Writing Process: A Reading.”  at 6 p.m. in McCosh 50. The event, sponsored by the Spencer Trask Lecture Series, is free and open to the public.

Born in Princeton, McPhee and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. He published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux that same year.

He has written nearly 30 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), The Founding Fish (2002), Uncommon Carriers (2007), and Silk Parachute (2011). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) and The Curve of Binding Energy (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977.  In 1999, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World.  He has taught writing at Princeton since 1974.


Areas of fog, high of 65.


The Quest to Eradicate Illiteracy – David Risher, a former Amazon executive, co-founder and president of Worldreader and a member of Princeton’s Class of 1987, will present the public lecture “Worldreader and the Quest to Eradicate Illiteracy” at 4:30 p.m. in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall, at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Becoming Un-Orthodox: Stories of Ex-Hasidic Jewish –  A panel discussion sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University with Leora Batnitzky, professor of Jewish studies; Hendrik Hartog, director of program in American Studies; and Stanley Katz, professor in public and international affairs. Response from Lynn Davidman, professor of modern Jewish studies at University of Kansas.  , Guyot Hall 10, Princeton University. Free and open to the public.

Princeton Tech Meetup on Google Panda and Penguin – Glenn Gabe, President of G-Squared Interactive, will discuss Google Panda and Penguin, the Google algorithms that target webspam and low quality content. Meeting begins with networking at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library. Program begins at 7:30 p.m. Fee is $5. To become a member of the Tech Meetup and register, visit the group’s Meetup page.

Jazz Vespers at the Princeton University Chapel – A service of poetry, music, and meditation featuring members of the Chapel Choir and Jazz Vespers Ensemble. 8 p.m. Free.


Reminder that the Dinky train is not in operation this week while final work is being done on the new station. Buses are running between Princeton and Princeton Junction this week. For schedules visit the Tiger PaWW online timetable and the NJ Transit timetable.

An Elizabethtown Gas maintenance project along Hopewell-Pennington Road (Rt 654) and  Marshalls Corner (Rt 612) in Hopewell begins today. Work hours will be between 9 am and 3:30 p.m. Traffic will need to be alternated during parts of this maintenance work. Motorists should expect minor delays. This project is expected to last one month.

There has been a schedule change for the reconstruction and realignment of County Route 518 between Canal Road and Carroll Place. The road closing from Nov. 10 to Dec. 21 has been delayed. Revised dates will be posted when the new schedule has been set.