Past Thornton Writers-in-Residence and Guest Readers

An Impressive List of Writers

In addition to the writers below, other notable writers who have appeared on campus include Edward Albee, Craig Arnold, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, John Knowles, Stephen Spender, Joseph Heller, Alice McDermott, James Baldwin, Cokie Roberts, Nikki Giovanni, Clive Barker, John Barth, Denise Levertov, Ellen Gilchrist, Jay McInerney, Gore Vidal, Tillie Olsen, Jamaica Kincaid, Peter Shaffer, Larry Brown, Jan DeBlieu, Lee Smith, Tobias Wolff, John Gardner, Nora Ephron, and Stanley Plumley.

Writers-in-Residence and Guest Readers:



Authors' public readings are sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Spring 2014 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Patrick Ryan Frank

Patrick Ryan Frank, Spring Thornton Writer-in-Residence, read from his work Wednesday, March 19, followed by a reception and book signing.

Patrick Ryan Frank is the author of How the Losers Love What’s Lost, which won the 2010 Intro Prize from Four Way Books; and The Opposite of People, to be published by Four Way Books in 2015. He was recently a Fulbright Fellow to Iceland.

The reading was sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Spring 2014 Thornton Reader

Maud Casey

Maud Casey, Spring Thornton Reader, read from her work Thursday, April 3, followed by a reception and book signing.

Maud Casey is the author of the novels The Shape of Things to Come, a New York Times Notable Book; Genealogy; The Man Who Walked Away; and a collection of stories, Drastic. She lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches at the University of Maryland and in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson.

The reading was sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Fall 2013 Thornton Readers

CM Burroughs

CM Burroughs, Fall Thornton Reader, read from her work Thursday, September 26, followed by a reception and book signing.

CM Burroughs was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and now lives in Chicago, Illinois. She serves as Assistant Professor of Poetry and Literature at Columbia College Chicago. She is an associate poetry editor of Court Green and Tupelo Quarterly literary journals. Her debut collection of poetry, The Vital System, is available from Tupelo Press and may be purchased via the site's Books page.

The reading was sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Olga Broumas

Olga Broumas, Fall Thornton Reader, read from her work Thursday, October 31, followed by a reception and book signing.

Olga Broumas has published seven collections of poetry. In the year 2000, Copper Canyon released a CD of readings from her poetry collection Rave and her Elytis translation Eros, Eros, entitled: Olga Broumas, A Listener’s Companion. Broumas is from the island of Syros in Greece. Since 1995 she has been a poet-in-residence and director of Creative Writing Brandeis University in Boston. She has run the Freehand Center for Women Artists on Cape Cod since the 1980s.

The reading was sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Thornton - Phillip Burnham

Philip Burnham, Fall Thornton Reader, read from his work Monday, November 4, followed by a reception and book signing.

Philip Burnham is a free-lance journalist/historian based on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Burnham has published in American Heritage, The Washington Post, MHQ, Transition, Emerge, The Columbia Journalism Review, and Indian Country TodayBurnham has taught college-level writing, literature, and history at the University of New Mexico, the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Sinte Gleska College, Johns Hopkins University, and, as a Fulbright fellow, at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. He is currently a Term Assistant Professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

The reading was sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Spring 2013 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Joshua KryahJoshua Kryah, Spring Thornton Writer-in-Residence, read from his work Thursday, February 28, followed by a reception and book signing.

Joshua Kryah was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a PhD from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was a Schaeffer Fellow in poetry. He is the author of We Are Starved (2011) and Glean (2007). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, and Shenandoah, among other journals. He teaches at UNLV where he is the poetry editor of Witness.

The reading was sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Spring 2013 Guest Reader

Christopher Bakken
Photo by Kelly Gorney

Christopher Bakken, Spring Guest Reader, will read from his work Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 8 p.m., Sydnor Performance Hall. Reception and book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 434.544.8820. 

Christopher Bakken is the author of two books of poetry, Goat Funeral (2006) and After Greece (2001), and a culinary memoir called Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table. He also co-translated The Lions' Gate: Selected Poems of Titos Patrikios. He has been awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize in Poetry, the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, and he served as a Fulbright Fellow in American Studies at the University of Bucharest. He teaches at Allegheny College.

The reading is sponsored by The Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Fall 2012 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Sara PritchardSara Pritchard, Fall Thornton Writer-in-Residence, read from her work Thursday, September 27, 2012, followed by a reception and book signing.

Sara Pritchard is the author of Crackpots (2003), a novel-in-stories; Lately (2007), a linked-story collection; and Help Wanted: Female (Etruscan Press, 2012), a story collection. Sara won the Bakeless Prize for Fiction in 2003 with Crackpots, which went on to become a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Other literary awards include a 2008 Pushcart Prize for her story "Two Studies in Entropy," originally published in New Letters.

Her stories and essays appear in numerous literary magazines, and she teaches in the Low-Residency Creating Writing Programs at Wilkes University and West Virginia Wesleyan.


Fall 2012 Guest Reader

Anne Panning
Photo by Michele Ashlee

Anne Panning, Fall Thornton Reader, read from her work Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a reception and book signing.

Anne Panning's short story collection, Super America, won The 2006 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and was a New York Times Editor's Choice. She has also published a book of short stories, The Price of Eggs, as well as short fiction and nonfiction in places such as Beloit Fiction Journal, Bellingham Review, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The Florida Review, Passages North, Black Warrior Review, The Greensboro Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Kalliope, Quarterly West, The Kenyon Review, The Laurel Review, Five Points, The Hawaii Review, Cimarron Review, West Branch and Brevity. Four of her essays have received notable citations in The Best American Essays series. Her novel, Butter, will be published in October 2012 by Switchgrass Books. She is currently at work on a memoir, Dragonfly Notes: A Memoir of Motherhood and Loss.

She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children, and teaches creative writing at SUNY-Brockport.


Spring 2012 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Laurie Lynn DrummondLaurie Lynn Drummond's collection of linked stories, Anything You Say Can and Will be Used Against You (HarperCollins 2004), was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and won the Best Book Award from the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas Violet Crown Award, and has been translated into Finnish, Japanese, and French. "Something About a Scar" won the Edgar Award for Best Short Story.

Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in The Southern Review, Story, New Virginia Review, Black Warrior Review, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Brevity, and River Teeth, among others. She is currently working on a book-length memoir, Losing My Gun.

A former uniformed police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Drummond taught creative writing at St. Edward's University in Austin before teaching fiction and creative nonfiction in the M.F.A. program at the University of Oregon, where she also directed the Kidd Tutorial Program, a yearlong multi-genre course for undergraduates.


Spring 2012 Guest Reader

Doug Van GundyDoug Van Gundy's first book of poetry, A Life Above Water, was published in 2007 by Red Hen Press, and his poems have since appeared in The Oxford American, Ecotone, The Louisville Review, Waccamaw and other journals. Doug is also an award-winning traditional musician, playing fiddle, mandolin and guitar in the old-time duo Born Old. They recently played on National Public Radio's Mountain Stage, and their new CD, Vintage Keys, was released in October 2011.

Doug directs the Honors program at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he also teaches in the graduate and undergraduate creative writing programs.


Fall 2011 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Adam DaviesAdam Davies is the author of three novels: The Frog King, screenplay by Bret Easton Ellis; Goodbye Lemon, a tragicomic family drama whose film rights are now with Gerard Butler's company; and Mine All Mine, a screwball thriller that was named "One of the Top Ten Crime Books of the Year" by Booklist and was purchased for adaptation to film with the author to write the screenplay.

Davies has made numerous radio and TV appearances, including NPR and the A&E Channel's "Breakfast with the Arts."


Fall 2011 Guest Reader

Sergei Lobanov-RostovskySergei Lobanov-Rostovsky has taught at Kenyon College since 1993 with a focus on Shakespeare, Renaissance poetry, film, and fiction writing. His research centers on the politics of spectacle in early modern drama, and he has published a series of crime novels under the pseudonym Kenneth Abel.

In 2001, he received Kenyon's Trustee Award for Teaching Excellence. Since 2005, he has served as associate editor of The Kenyon Review. A graduate of Louisiana State University, he received an MA in creative writing from Stanford University and a PhD in English from Harvard.


Spring 2011 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Rika LesserRika Lesser is the author of 4 books of poetry: Questions of Love: New & Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow, 2008), Growing Back: Poems 1972-1992 (South Carolina, 1997), All We Need of Hell (North Texas, 1995), and Etruscan Things (Braziller, 1983; new ed. Sheep Meadow, 2010).

She has translated more than a dozen collections of poetry or fiction for readers of all ages, including works by Göran Sonnevi, Gunnar Ekelöf, and Claes Andersson from the Swedish and Rafik Schami, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Hermann Hesse from the German.

She is the recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, two Translation Prizes from the Swedish Academy, and others. Her translation of Mozart's Third Brain by Göran Sonnevi (Yale, 2009) was shortlisted for the 2010 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.

At work on a new collection of poetry, Rika Lesser is collaborating with Cecile Inglessis Margellos on a selection of poems by Greek poet Kiki Dimoula (b. 1931), the 2010 recipient of the European Prize for Literature. The translation is slated for publication by Yale University Press in 2012.


Spring 2011 Guest Reader

Mark PowellMark Powell is author of the novels Prodigals and Blood Kin, which received the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Breadloaf Writers' Conference.

He teaches at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.


Fall 2010 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Michael LowenthalMichael Lowenthal is the author of three novels: The Same Embrace (Dutton, 1998); Avoidance (Graywolf Press, 2002); and Charity Girl (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), which was a New York Times Book Review "Editors' Choice" selection and a BookSense Top Twenty Pick.

His stories and essays have appeared in publications such as The New York Times Magazine,, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Tin House, and, and have been anthologized in more than 20 books, including Best New American Voices 2005.

Lowenthal has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf and Wesleyan writers' conferences, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and residencies in Scotland and Brazil. An active former board member of the literary human rights organization PEN New England, he lives in Boston, where he teaches fiction in the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University.


Fall 2010 Guest Reader

Abayomi AnimashaunAbayomi Animashaun is a Nigerian émigré whose poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as 5 A.M., Drunken Boat, African American Review, Diode, and Southern Indiana Review. He has served as a staff editor for the Red Rock Review.

His honors include a grant from the International Center for Writing and Translation and nominations for the Pushcart and the Pen/Joyce Osterweil prizes. His volume of verse, The Giving of Pears (Black Lawrence Press, 2010), was selected as the winner of the 2008 Hudson Prize.


Spring 2010 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Irene McKinneyDr. Irene McKinney is the author of The Girl with a Stone in Her Lap (North Atlantic, 1976): The Wasps at the Blue Hexagons (Small Plot Press, 1984): Quick Fire and Slow Fire (North Atlantic, 1988): Six O'Clock Mine Report (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989): Vivid Companion (Vandalia Press, 2004): and Unthinkable: New and Selected Poems (Red Hen Press, 2009).

She edited the anthology Backcountry: Contemporary Writing in West Virginia (West Virginia University Press, 2002) and was appointed Poet Laureate of West Virginia in 1994. Her poems have appeared in leading journals, including American Voice, Arts & Letters, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, and Poetry. She completed a PhD at the University of Utah.


Spring 2010 Guest Reader

Cleopatra MathisCleopatra Mathis was born and raised in Ruston, Louisiana, of Greek and Cherokee descent. Her first five books of poems were published by Sheep Meadow Press. A sixth collection, White Sea, finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Award, was published by Sarabande Books in 2005.

Mathis' work has appeared widely in anthologies, textbooks, magazines and journals, including The Best American Poetry, 2009, The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Three Penny Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, The Extraordinary Tide: Poetry by American Women, and The Practice of Poetry. Various prizes for her work include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, in 1984 and 2003; the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poems in 2001; the Peter Lavin Award for Younger Poets from the Academy of American Poets; two Pushcart Prizes: 1980 and 2006; The Robert Frost Resident Poet Award; a 1981-82 Fellowship in Poetry at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; The May Sarton Award; and four Individual Artist Fellowships in Poetry from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey State Arts Council.

Mathis is the Frederick Sessions Beebe '35 Professor of the Art of Writing at Dartmouth College, where she founded the creative writing program in 1982.


Fall 2009 Thornton Writer-in-Residence

Jennifer ClementJennifer Clement is the author of the memoir, Widow Basquiat; the novels, A True Story Based on Lies and The Poison That Fascinates; as well as several books of poetry. Her work has been translated into ten languages. Clement is the recipient of several prizes and fellowships. Her writing has won international acclaim.

She lives in Mexico City and is the President of PEN Mexico.


Fall 2009 Guest Reader

Farnoosh MoshiriIranian-born Farnoosh Moshiri earned degrees from the College of Dramatic Arts of Tehran, University of Iowa, and University of Houston. In 1983, she fled her country and lived in refugee camps of Afghanistan and India for four years before emigrating to the U.S. in 1987.

Her novels and story collections include At the Wall of the Almighty; The Bathhouse; The Crazy Dervish and the Pomegranate Tree; and Against Gravity.

Her many awards include the Barbara Deming Award, a grant to feminist writers whose work speaks of peace and social justice. Her recent novel, Against Gravity, was chosen by Barnes and Noble for their "Discover New Writers" Series and by Borders Books as an "Original Voices" selection.


2008-2009 Writers-in-Residence and Guest Readers

Janet Sylvester, Spring 2009 Writer-in-Residence

David Huddle, Spring 2009 Guest Reader

Robert Olmstead, Fall 2008 Writer-in-Residence

Ann Pancake, Fall 2008 Guest Reader