Visiting Writers Series

The Visiting Writers Series began in the Spring of 2014 with a reading by poet Roger Reeves. After the start of the MFA in Creative Writing in the Fall of that year, the VWS took off. Over the past 8 years, the MFA in Creative Writing has hosted nationally renowned poets and writers, adding to the vibrant literary culture of Lexington. All events are free and open to the public.

 

KAYLEB RAE CANDRILLI

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
7:00pm
WTY Auditorium

Kayleb Rae Candrilli is a recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award and is author of What Runs Over, winner of the 2016 Pamet River Prize, with YesYes Books. What Runs Over was a 2017 Lambda Literary finalist for Transgender Poetry and a finalist for the 2018 American Book Fest's best book award in LGBTQ nonfiction. Candrilli is also author of All the Gay Saints, winner of the 2018 Saturnalia Book Prize and forthcoming in 2020. They are published or forthcoming in POETRY, TriQuarterly, Puerto del Sol, Booth, RHINO, Cream City Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Adroit, Bettering American Poetry, Boaat Press, Vinyl, CutBank, Muzzle, New Orleans Review, and many others. Candrilli has served as the nonfiction editor of the Black Warrior Review and as a feature editor for NANO Fiction. They served an Assistant Poetry Editor for Boaat Press from 2017 to 2018. In 2015, Candrilli was a Lambda Literary Emerging Fellow in Nonfiction, and again in 2017 as a fellow in poetry. Kayleb is a Best of the Net winner and has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes (in prose and poetry) and for Best New Poets. They were also a 2017 recipient of a Leeway Art and Change Grant. Kayleb has earned a Bachelors in English and a Masters in Creative Writing from Penn State University. They hold both an MFA and an MLIS degree from the University of Alabama. They live in Philadelphia with their partner.

 

The Bale Boone Symposium featuring TAYARI JONES

Wed, Oct. 2nd, 2019
7:00pm
Singletary Center for the Arts

New York Times best-selling author, Tayari Jones, is the author four novels, most recently An American Marriage. Published in 2018, An American Marriage is an Oprah’s Book Club Selection and also appeared on Barack Obama’s summer reading list as well as his end of the year roundup. The novel was awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize), Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award. With over 500,000 copies in print domestically, it has been published in fifteen countries. Jones, a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Her third novel, Silver Sparrow was added to the NEA Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University.

 

CHANELLE BENZ

Thur Nov. 14th, 2019
7:00pm
WTY Auditorium

Chanelle Benz has published short stories in Guernica, Granta.com, Electric Literature, The American Reader, Fence and The Cupboard, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize. Her story collection The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead was published in 2017 by Ecco Press. It was named a Best Book of 2017 by The San Francisco Chronicle and one of Electric Literature’s 15 Best Short Story Collections of 2017. It was also longlisted for the 2018 PEN/Robert Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Story Prize. It won the 2018 Sergio Troncoso Award for Best First Fiction and the Philosophical Society of Texas 2018 Book Award for fiction. Her novel The Gone Dead was published by Ecco Press in June 2019. She currently lives in Memphis where she teaches at Rhodes College.

 

RANDALL HORTON

Wed Dec. 11th, 2019
7:00pm
WTY Auditorium

Randall Horton’s past honors include the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature, and most recently, a GLCA New Writers Award for Creative Nonfiction for Hook: A Memoir, published by Augury Books/Brooklyn Art Press. He is currently Poet-in-Residence at Civil Rights Corps, a non-profit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the American legal system in Washington, DC. Horton is a member of the experimental performance group Heroes Are Gang Leaders, which recently received the 2018 American Book Award in Oral Literature. He is an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Haven. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he now resides in Harlem, New York.

 

MARCEL HERNANDEZ CASTILLO

Wednesday January 22nd, 2020
7:00pm
WTY Auditorium

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate. He is the author of Cenzontle, which was chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the 2017 A. Poulin, Jr. Prize published by BOA editions in 2018, as well as the winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writer Award for poetry, the 2019 Golden Poppy Award from the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, and is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the California Book Award, the Publishing Triangle's Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, the Northern California Book Award, and a FOREWORD INDIE Best Book of the Year Award. Cenzontle was listed among one of NPR's and the New York Public Library top picks of 2018. His first chapbook, DULCE, won the Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize published by Northwestern University press. His memoir, Children of the Land is forthcoming from Harper Collins in 2020.

 

The Gaines Center & Visiting Writers Series Featuring SHAYLA LAWSON & KEITH WILSON

Thursday February 6th, 2020
7:00 pm
WTY Auditorium

Shayla Lawson is the author of three books of poetry—A Speed Education in Human Being, the chapbook PANTONE and I Think I’m Ready to see Frank Ocean—and the forthcoming essay collection THIS IS MAJOR (Harper Perennial, 2020). Her work has appeared in print & online at Tin House, GRAMMA, ESPN, Salon, The Offing, Guernica, Colorado Review, Barrelhouse, and MiPOesias. She curates The Tenderness Project with Ross Gay and writes poems with Chet’la Sebree (pronounced Shayla, no relation). A MacDowell and Yaddo Artist Colony Fellow, Shayla currently serves as Writer-in-Residence and Chair of Creative Writing at Amherst College. She is also supported by the Cini Foundation of Venice, Italy, the Allen Fellowship at the New York Public Library and her Havanese, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. She is a member of The Affrilachian Poets.

Keith S. Wilson is an Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem fellow. He is a recipient of an NEA fellowship as well as fellowships/grants from Bread Loaf, Kenyon College, Tin House, MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, UCross, and Millay Colony, among others. Keith serves as Assistant Poetry Editor at Four Way Review and Digital Media Editor at Obsidian Journal. His first book, Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, was published by Copper Canyon. His work in game design includes “Once Upon a Tale,” a storytelling card game designed for Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in collaboration with The Field Museum of Chicago, and alternate reality games (ARGs) for the University of Chicago. He has worked with or taught new media with Kenyon College, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the University of Chicago.

 

MADELINE FFITCH

Friday March 13th, 2020
7:00pm
Gatton Student Center

Madeline Ffitch writes and organizes in Appalachian Ohio. She was a founding member of the punk theater company, The Missoula Oblongata, and is the author of the story collection, Valparaiso, Round the Horn. Madeline has been awarded residencies at Yaddo and at the MacDowell Colony. She is the author of Stay and Fight from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

 

LI YOUNG LEE

Thursday April 9th, 2020
7:00pm
Location TBD

Li-Young Lee is the author of five books of poetry, including his newest collection, The Undressing which is forthcoming in 2018. His earlier collections are Behind My Eyes; Book of My Nights; Rose, winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award; The City in Which I Love You, the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance, which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and will be reissued by BOA Editions in 2012. Lee’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

 

PAST VISITING WRITERS

Morgan Parker, Brittany Perhham, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Dr. DaMaris B. Hill, Maurice Manning, Silas House, Garth Greenwell, Gregory Pardlo, Mary Gaitskill, Mitchell S. Jackson, Viet Thanh Nquyen, Yona Harvey, Kelly Luce, Marie-Helene Bertino, Ramona Ausubel, Carrie Fountain, Margaret Lazarus Dean, Mary Karr, Tyehimba Jess, Ada Limón, Claire Vaye Watkins, Derek Palacio, Dinaw Mengestu, Eileen Myles, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Peter Fallon, Helen Oyeyemi, Rob Spillman, Wayne Kostenbaum, Adrian Matejka, Roxane Gay, Francisco Goldman, Ann Beattie, Dara Weir, Emily Pettit, Nic Brown, Jim Gavin, Jill McCorkle, Roger Reeves

 

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