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Alumni-Faculty Forum: Tiger Tales: From Novels to News Stories

May 21, 2022 @ 10:30 am - 11:45 am

AFF - Tiger Tales

McCosh Hall, Room 50

Sponsored by the Alumni Association of Princeton University


Yiyun Li
Professor of Creative Writing


Lisa Gornick ’77

Mark Alpert ’82

Janice Johnston ’92
Executive Producer 20/20 & Primetime Specials, ABC News

Rakesh Satyal ’02
Author, Executive Editor, HarperOne/HarperCollins

E. Lily Yu ’12



Yiyun Li
Professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University

Yiyun Li is the author of seven books of fiction and two books of nonfiction, including her new novel, “The Book of Goose,” which will be published by FSG in September 2022. She has received many awards and grants, including a Whiting Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, a Windham-Campbell Prize, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, PEN/Jean Stein Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, and others. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, “Best American Short Stories,” “Best American Essays” and elsewhere.


LGLisa Gornick ’77

Lisa Gornick ‘77 has been hailed by NPR as “one of the most perceptive, compassionate writers of fiction in America … immensely talented and brave.” She is the author of four works of literary fiction: “The Peacock Feast,” “Tinderbox,” “Louisa Meets Bear,” and “A Private Sorcery.” Her essays and stories have appeared in the Massachusetts Review, the New York Times, the Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Real Simple, Salon, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, and have received many honors, including Distinguished Story by the Best American Short Stories. She has instructed undergraduates, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists in creative and essay writing at Fordham University, the New Directions Program and the New York Academy of Medicine. A graduate of the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Yale and the psychoanalytic training program at Columbia, where she remains on the voluntary faculty, Gornick was a practicing psychotherapist and psychoanalyst for many years. Her academic writing includes papers about women treating men, Freud’s engagement with creative writers and creating writing, and the parallels between the processes of imaginative writing and psychotherapy. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and sons.

MAMark Alpert ’82

Mark Alpert is the internationally bestselling author of 11 thrillers. His first novel, “Final Theory,” was published in 23 languages, optioned for film, and condensed for Reader’s Digest. It was followed by “The Omega Theory,” “Extinction,” “The Furies,” “The Orion Plan” and “The Coming Storm.” He has also written a trilogy of young adult thrillers; the first book in the trilogy, “The Six,” was a finalist for the Beehive, Nutmeg and Cybils book awards. His latest thrillers are “Saint Joan of New York: A Novel About God and String Theory” and “The Doomsday Show.” In 2021 he received the Best Novel award from the William Faulkner Literary Competition, and his short fiction has appeared in Playboy. Alpert studied astrophysics at Princeton University, where his thesis on general relativity in a (2 + 1)-dimensional spacetime was published in General Relativity and Gravitation and has been cited more than a hundred times in academic journals. He received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and worked in journalism for 25 years, writing for newspapers, magazines and television shows. He was an editor at Scientific American for 10 years, which is where he found the ideas for several of his thrillers. Alpert lives in Manhattan with his wife and is still a proud member of Scientific American’s softball team, The Big Bangers.


Janice Johnston ’92
Executive Producer 20/20 and Primetime Specials, ABC News

As the executive producer of 20/20 and primetime specials, Janice Johnston is responsible for show-running two hours of network prime time television every week and cultivating the legacy of the legendary news magazine. Her leadership includes creating and developing content for ABC News, Hulu and Disney+. Her role as a content creator includes writing, producing and directing primetime television hours. Drawing from years of producing across all time slots — overnight, morning, daytime and primetime — she brings a seasoned and reasoned perspective to new projects. Johnston has been on assignment everywhere from the White House to Taylor Swift’s house and has traveled extensively for ABC, from the volcanoes of Hawaii to Mount Kenya. Her stories cover diverse topics, including the record-breaking special, “Highwire Over Niagara Falls: LIVE,” Robin Roberts’ personal battle with cancer, and the Emmy-winning town hall “The President and the People.” Her work with ABC News has earned her seven Emmy Awards and multiple Emmy nominations, three George Foster Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont Silver Batons, Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, the CINE Golden Eagle, a Gracie Award, a Christopher Award (“affirming the highest values of the human spirit”), an NAACP Image Award nomination, a National Headliner Award, as well as other specialized honors. She is a director with the Directors Guild of America and an attorney admitted to the State Bar of New York.

RSRakesh Satyal ’02
Author, Executive Editor, HarperOne/HarperCollins

Rakesh Satyal is the author of the novels “Blue Boy” and “No One Can Pronounce My Name.” “Blue Boy” won a Lambda Literary Award and the Prose/Poetry Award from the Association of Asian American Studies and is currently being developed as a feature film. “No One Can Pronounce My Name” was longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award. Satyal is an executive editor at HarperOne, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

E. Lily Yu ’12

E. Lily Yu is the author of the novel “On Fragile Waves,” published in 2021, and the librettist of the short opera “Between Stars,” with composer Steven K. Tran, for Seattle Opera’s 2021 Jane Lang Creation Lab. She received the Artist Trust LaSalle Storyteller Award in 2017 and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer in 2012. More than 30 of her stories have appeared in venues from McSweeney’s to, as well as 12 best-of-the-year anthologies, and have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon and World Fantasy Awards.


May 21, 2022
10:30 am - 11:45 am
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McCosh 50
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08540 United States
(609) 258 - 3000