“We need the arts now more than ever,” said Paris Review editor Lorin Stein. “And these days I want the unexpected, the new, the next.”
With the U.S. government planning to cut funds to the arts and humanities, the Paris Review sticks with a fundraising tradition it's had since the magazine's beginning in the early 1950s—the annual Revel.
This spring's gala—which drew more than 500 people—took place Tuesday evening, April 4, at Cipriani 42nd St.
Standing on a stage between columns bathed in red light, Stein hosted the event. An image of the hadada—an American eagle holding a pen and wearing a Phrygian cap, which adorned the covers of the Paris Review magazine—was cast on the wall to his right. Underwood manual typewriters served as centerpieces for the dining tables, with carnations sprouting from the carriages.
Yiyun Li (Kinder than Solitude) presented the Plimpton Prize for Fiction—which recognizes new voices and carries an award of $10,000—to Alexia Arthurs, for her short story “Bad Behavior.” The Terry Southern Prize for Humor (a $5,000 award) went to Vanessa Davis (Spaniel Rage), who wrote an eight-part illustrated column, "Summer Hours" and "Autumn Hours," for the Paris Review Daily; director and screenwriter Todd Solondz presented the award.
Topping off the ceremony, poet and critic Edward Hirsch (Gabriel: A Poem) presented the Hadada Award—which is given to “a distinguished member of the writing community”—to poet and translator Richard Howard, who served as the Paris Review poetry editor from 1992 to 2005.
In attendance were Mona Simpson, Jeffrey Eugenides, Zadie Smith, Nick Laird, Emma Cline, Gabriella Hearst, Lucas Zwirner, Griffin Dunne, Walter Mosley, Gay Talese, Rebecca Hall, Grace Schulman, Antonio Weiss, Akhil Sharma, Lewis Lapham, Timothy Donnelly, and David Salle.
Susannah Hunnewell, publisher of the Paris Review, said in her opening remarks that this will be an evening of “weeping, thanking, and bragging.” Earlier that day the Paris Review was nominated for two Webby Awards, for best cultural blog and best mobile site.
Hunnewell also remembered Robert Silvers, who died in March. He was the longtime editor of the New York Review of Books, and served as the managing editor of the Paris Review from 1954 to 1956.