University of Pittsburgh
March 7, 2007

Pitt's Cultural Studies Program Presents Author Ellis Avery March 13

Avery, author of The Teahouse Fire, will read from her work
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's Cultural Studies Program in the School of Arts and Sciences will host a reading, question-and-answer session, and book signing featuring Ellis Avery, author of "The Teahouse Fire" (Riverhead Hardcover, 2006), at

6:30 p.m. March 13. The event will be held in the Cathedral of Learning, Room 501, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Avery's first novel, "The Teahouse Fire," explores the shifting cultural ground of late 19th-century Japan through the story of Aurelia, an orphaned American girl taken in by Yukako, the daughter of Kyoto's most important tea master.

Inspiration for "The Teahouse Fire" came from five years of weekly tea ceremony study in New York and five weeks of daily tea study in Kyoto, where Avery spent most of 2004-05. The novel will be translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, German, and Dutch.

Avery's work "Hagi Night," a personal essay, and"The Setsubun Girl," a short story taken from "The Teahouse Fire," have been published in the "Kyoto Journal." She is in the seventh year of a 10-year daily haiku project called Seventeen Reasons that began and continues as correspondence with her best friend. Poems from this work have been published in :In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary" Writing (Impassio Press, 1st edition, 2006). Nine other poems from "Seventeen Reasons" appear in the anthology Enhaiklopedia, published in Kyoto by the Hailstone Haiku Circle, a group of poet friends living in the Kansai area of Japan.

For more information about the reading, e-mail or visit