2019-2020 John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writers Schedule:
Fall 2019 Readings:
Jim Shepard Reading / Talk on Wednesday, October 23rd at 7:30 pm at The Depot
Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels, including most recently The Book of Aron, which won the Sophie Brody Medal for Achievement in Jewish Literature from the American Library Association and the PEN/New England Award for fiction, and five story collections, including his new collection, The World To Come. Five of his short stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, two for the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and one for a Pushcart Prize. He teaches at Williams College.
Terrance Hayes Reading on Wednesday, November 6th at 6pm in the Bondurant Auditorium
Terrance Hayes is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. His first book, Muscular Music, won a Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second book, Hip Logic (Penguin 2002), was a National Poetry Series selection and a finalist for both the Los Angeles Time Book Award and the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Wind In a Box (Penguin 2006), a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award finalist, was named one of the best books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. How to Be Drawn received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry. Lighthead, was winner of the 2010 National Book Award.
His sixth poetry collection, American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin (Penguin, 2018), was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the TS Eliot Prize, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Literary Prize for Fiction & Poetry, the LA Times Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award.
Spring 2019 Readings:
Victor LaValle, Reading on Tuesday, March 5th at 6pm at Burns Belfry.
Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Changeling and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom. He is also the creator and writer of a comic book Victor LaValle’s DESTROYER.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens.
He was raised in Queens, New York. He now lives in Washington Heights with his wife and kids. He teaches at Columbia University.
Lisa Ko, Reading on Wednesday, April 3rd at 6pm at Burns Belfry.
Growing up in a largely white community, National Book Award finalist Lisa Ko listened eagerly to her parents’ family stories, but couldn’t find Asian or Asian-American protagonists in the books she devoured. “It’s that younger me,” she says, “hungry and breathless to see herself on the page, that I write for today.”
As the first-generation daughter of Chinese immigrants from the Philippines, Ko was, in her own words, “a good observer and a better spy.” That capacity for discerning details and illuminating subtleties is on full display in her debut novel, The Leavers, a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction and winner of the 2017 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. In a compelling, complex novel crackling with narrative tension, Ko offers “a fresh and moving look at the immigrant experience in America” (Publishers Weekly).
Like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, The Leavers boldly foregrounds issues of race, belonging, and identity without sacrificing the raw power of a good story. Ko’s expertly crafted characters will haunt you long after the cover is closed.
Saddiq Dzukogi and Romeo Oriogun on Monday, April 8th at 7 pm at the Depot.
Saddiq Dzukogi is the author of Inside the Flower Room, a selection of the African Poetry Book Fund for its New Generation African Poets Chapbook series. His recent poems are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Spillway, Salt Hill, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere, while others have appeared in Prairie Schooner, New Orleans Review, South Dakota Review, Best American Experimental Writing, and Verse Daily. He was on the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize shortlist and a fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency. Saddiq is a three times finalist in the Association of Nigerian Poetry Prize. He is currently a PhD student in the University of Nebraska Creative Writing Program where he is a recipient of the Othmer fellowship.
Romeo Oriogun is the author of the chapbooks “Burnt Men” (Praxis) and “The Origin of Butterflies” (APBF and Akashic Books) and he is also the winner of the 2017 Brunel International African Prize for Poetry. His manuscript “My Body Is No Miracle” was shortlisted for the 2017 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. He is currently an IIE- Artist Protection Fund Fellow, a W.E.B. DuBois Research Institute Fellow, and the Harvard Scholars at Risk Fellow for Spring 2019.