New Yorker staff writer Peter Hessler will speak as the second of the school’s spring Speaker Series guests at 6 p.m April 12 in the Global and International Studies Building Auditorium. The talk is free and open to the public.
Hessler’s talk is titled “Learning to Speak Lingerie: Chinese Entrepreneurs in Egypt and the Chinese Worldview.” His visit is in conjunction with the campus-wide China Remixed series of programs and events sponsored by the IU Arts & Humanities Council.
In addition to his New Yorker work, Hessler is a contributor to National Geographic who has drawn on his international experiences for several books, including a trilogy exploring his decade in China.
Hessler first traveled to China with the Peace Corps in 1996. For two years, he taught literature at Fuling Teachers College, an experience he detailed in his first book, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, which won the Kiriyama Prize.
He joined The New Yorker in 2000 as the magazine’s correspondent in China. His “Letters from China” articles featured people such as NBA star Yao Ming, factory workers and rural families, and addressed China’s fast-changing culture.
Two more books followed: Oracle Bones (2006), a finalist for the National Book Award, which juxtaposes contemporary events with ancient archaeology in China; and the third book of the trilogy, Country Driving (2010), which explores economic development and China’s urbanization.
In 2007, Hessler left China for Colorado, where, for four years, he researched and wrote about rural Colorado, Nepal and Japan, stories later collected in Stage Stones (2013).
In addition to honors for his books, Hessler won the American Society of Magazine Editors excellence in reporting award for “China’s Instant Cities,” a piece about entrepreneurial growth in China published in National Geographic. In 2011, he was named a MacArthur Fellow, an honor also known as a “genius grant.”
In fall 2011, Hessler and his family relocated to Cairo, where he covers revolution, politics and cultural change.