Skip to Content

Reading Groups

Under the Influence: Reading and Journaling Teju Cole with Elizabeth Howard

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.

Five Sessions Tuesdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT January 9 to March 12, 2024

The Center for Fiction

The ‘With Book’ option includes a copy of Open City at a 10% discount from our Bookstore.

Meeting Dates:
1/9, 1/23, 2/13, 2/27, 3/12
In-Person at The Center for Fiction

Teju Cole is an award winning novelist, photographer, critic, curator, historian and the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard.

In Black Paper (University of Chicago Press, 2021) he writes: “The secret reason I read, the only reason I read, is precisely for those moments in which the story being told is deeply alert to the world, an alertness that sees things as they are or dreams things as they could be.” In his novel, Open City (Random House, 2012), Julius, a medical student, walks the streets of New York and reflects on what Cole writes was, “my attempt at a certain kind of dense, epiphanic, city writing, which I related to a number of literary references.

During this five-week program, we will read Open City and explore other works like Tremor (Random House, 2023).

Each participant in this reading group will be given a Moleskine notebook at the first meeting, and encouraged to journal in response to the reading, noting their own connection to music, literature and art as Teju Cole does in his writing. Participants will be encouraged to share their notes, or not, and to connect their reading to other works of fiction, film, art and music. We will discuss the journals at the last session.

  • Session I: Read to Chapter 5 of Open City
  • Session II: Read to Part 2
  • Session III: Read to Chapter 17
  • Session IV: Complete the book
  • Session V: Book and journal discussion

What to expect from this reading group: This will be conversational, participant driven discussion experience.


Led by

  • Elizabeth Howard

    Elizabeth Howard

    Elizabeth Howard

    Elizabeth Howard grew up with a passion for books and reading. Her articles have appeared in Corporate Board Member, Communication Arts, European Communications, Investor Relations, Law Firm Marketing & Profit Report, Communication World, the Strategist, and the New York Law Journal, among others. Queen Anne’s Lace and Wild Blackberry Pie, a book of reflections on growing up in New Hampshire, was published by Thornwillow Press in 2011. Her other books include A Day with Bonefish Joe (David R. Godin, 2015) and she edited Ned O’Gorman: A Glance Back (Easton Studio Press, 2016). She was the inaugural Madeleine L’Engle Fellow at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

    She is the producer and host of a podcast, the Short Fuse, that can be found on Spotify, Amazon Music, Simplecast and through the Arts Fuse, the online journal of criticism and commentary. Through the Short Fuse, she is often in conversations with authors.

    Elizabeth Howard lives in New York City.