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 2018 Thornton Readers
Nikki Finney, Spring Thornton Reader, read from her work February 22, followed by a book signing.
Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff’s Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985).
The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney’s fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split, was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.
Carrie Brown, Spring Thornton Reader, read from her work March 14, followed by a book signing.
Carrie Brown is the author of seven novels – Rose’s Garden, Lamb in Love, The Hatbox Baby, Confinement, The Rope Walk, The Last First Day, and The Stargazer’s Sister — as well as a collection of short stories, The House on Belle Isle. Her short stories and essays have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals, including the Southern Review, Glimmer Train, Tin House, the Oxford American and the Georgia Review.
Born in Connecticut in 1959, and a graduate of Brown University and the University of Virginia, Brown has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for her first novel, Rose’s Garden, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for work by an American woman writer, the Great Lakes Book Award, and, twice, the Library of Virginia Award for the best work of fiction by a Virginia author. Her books have been chosen as community reads books in Iowa and Virginia, and her work has been translated into several languages. She has read and lectured at colleges, universities, and bookstores across the country. She has taught creative writing for many years, including at Hollins University, where she was the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, where she was the Wilson Fellow, and, for most of her teaching career, at Sweet Briar College, where she and her husband, the novelist John Gregory Brown, make their home and where she is now the Margaret Banister Writer-in-Residence.
Molly McCully Brown
Molly McCully Brown, Spring Thornton Reader, read from her work March 14, followed by a book signing.
Molly McCully Brown is the author of The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. Raised in rural Virginia, she is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Stanford University, and the University of Mississippi, where she received her MFA in poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, Kenyon Review, Image, Colorado Review, TriQuarterly Online, The Rumpus, Meridian, and elsewhere. She’s been the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the Civitella Ranieri foundation, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the University of Mississippi, where she was a John and Renée Grisham fellow. She is the 2017-2018 Jeff Baskin Writers Fellow at The Oxford American magazine, where she is at work on a collection of essays about disability, poetry, religion, and the American South that explores the relationship between the body and that intangible other we sometimes call the soul. In January, Molly was named a 2018 United States Artists Fellow. USA Fellows receive “an unrestricted $50,000 award and recognition as one of America’s most accomplished and innovative artists.”
Fall 2017 Thornton Reader
Tim Seibles read from his work October 25, followed by a book signing.
Poet Tim Seibles was born and raised in Philadelphia. He earned a BA at Southern Methodist University and an MFA at Vermont College of Norwich University. Seibles approaches themes of racial tension, class conflict, and intimacy from several directions at once in poems with plainspoken yet fast-turning language. Seibles is the author of several collections of poetry, including Body Moves (1988), Hurdy-Gurdy (1992), Hammerlock (1999), Buffalo Head Solos (2004), and Fast Animal (2012), which won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and was nominated for a 2012 National Book Award.
His work has also been featured in the anthologies In Search of Color Everywhere: A Collection of African American Poetry (1994, edited by E. Ethelbert Miller and Terrance Cummings), Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009, edited by Camille Dungy), and Best American Poetry (2010, edited by Amy Gerstler).
News & Advance Interview
Spring 2017 Thornton Reader
Rajia Hassib, Spring Thornton Reader, read from her work March 2, followed by a reception and book signing.
Rajia Hassib was born in Egypt and moved to the United States when she was twenty-three. Her debut novel In the Language of Miracles was a 2015 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her writing appears in The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker online, Upstreet, Border Crossing and other magazines. She holds an MA in creative writing from Marshall University and lives in Charleston, West Virginia, with her husband and two children. For more information, please visit her website http://www.rajiahassib.com.
Joy Harjo, Fall Thornton Reader, read from her work November 9, followed by a reception and book signing.
Joy Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry; a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
A renowned musician, Harjo performs with hr saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning CDs of music including the award-winning album Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She is Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Lauren Alleyne, Fall Thornton Reader, read from her work October 13, followed by a reception and book signing.
Lauren K. Alleyne hails from the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. She holds an MFA in Poetry and a graduate certificate in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Black Arts Quarterly, Women’s Studies Quarterly, The Caribbean Writer, The Crab Orchard Review, Belleview Literary Review, The Banyan Review, among others.
A Cave Canem graduate, her work has been awarded numerous prizes, including the 2010 Small Axe Literary Prize, a 2012 Lyrical Iowa Award, an Atlantic Monthly Student Poetry Prize, an International Publication Prize from The Atlanta Review, and honorable mention in the 2009 Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize and the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She is the Assistant Director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center and Associate Professor of English at James Madison University.
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.
Spring 2014 Thornton Reader
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.
Fall 2013 Thornton Readers
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.
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.
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 Today. Burnham 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.
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.
Spring 2013 Guest Reader
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.
Fall 2012 Thornton Writer-in-Residence
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, 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.