ruth ozeki headshot

Ten Evenings

Ruth Ozeki


“A book must start somewhere. One brave letter must volunteer to go first, laying itself on the line in an act of faith, from which a word takes heart and follows, drawing a sentence into its wake. From there, a paragraph amasses, and soon a page, and the book is on its way, finding a voice, calling itself into being.”

Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness

Booker Prize-finalist Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engaging subjects, her brilliantly inventive The Book of Form and Emptiness is bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane, and heartbreaking.

Following the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear the voices of household objects filled with emotional tones; some are pleasant, while others are snide and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem and the voices grow more clamorous, Benny seeks refuge in the silence of the public library, where objects speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world and meets a beautiful street artist with a smug pet ferret, a homeless philosopher-poet who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice among the many, and his very own Book—a talking thing—who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of three novels, My Year of Meats, All Over Creation, and A Tale for the Time Being, which was a finalist for the 2013 Booker Prize. Her nonfiction work includes a memoir, The Face: A Time Code, and the documentary film, Halving the Bones. She is affiliated with the Everyday Zen Foundation and teaches creative writing at Smith College, where she is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities.

“Heartfelt . . . Ozeki, a practicing Buddhist priest, infuses her story with Zen philosophy, using themes of mindfulness and our connection to the living world to highlight pressing modern concerns like climate change, capitalism and the function of art. Inventive, vivid and propelled by a sense of wonder, The Book of Form and Emptiness will delight younger and older readers alike.”



Copies of The Book of Form and Emptiness are available from White Whale Bookstore.

Sponsored with support from Hunter Associates

The Book of Form and Emptiness Book Cover


Monday, March 13, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. ET


Tickets to attend in person start at $18
Virtual passes are $15
$10 student tickets are available with promo code LS23STUDENT
Group discounts are available for orders of 5 or more tickets
Tickets may also be purchased via phone (412.622.8866) or at the door starting at 6:30 p.m. on the day of the event.
The video link for the livestreamed event will be emailed to all ticket holders on the day of the lecture. The captioned video will be available to view for one week, expiring on March 20, 2023.

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Carnegie Music Hall
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213


Upcoming Lectures

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Victoria Chang

OCT 24