2013-14 Writers Series
The University of Richmond’s Department of English will bring five writers to campus during the 2013-14 academic year: three for its annual Writers Series and two for its Lecture Series. The Writers Series is designed to expose Richmond students, the greater university community, and city residents to some of today’s most celebrated writers. Their readings and the talks in the Lecture Series are free and open to the public. Most writers make themselves available, following their appearance, to answer questions from the audience and sign copies of their books.
Thursday, November 21, 7 p.m.
Brown-Alley Room, Weinstein Hall
Zadie Smith’s first two novels—White Teeth
and The Autograph Man
—were finalists for the Orange Prize before she received that award with her third book, On Beauty
, in 2006. The child of a Jamaican mother and British father, Smith grew up in the working-class English suburb of Brent, and her fiction often focuses on the experience of non-Western immigrants in Western culture. London forms the backdrop for most of these works, including her most recent, NW
, a New York Times notable book of 2012, but Smith’s writing ranges deftly across the globe, with On Beauty
set principally in Boston. A stylistic chameleon, she seems comfortable in various modes, from comedy to minimalism to fractured postmodern narrative. Her literary achievements have twice won her recognition as one of Granta
magazine's 20 Best Young Authors, and Time magazine listed White Teeth as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Smith presently splits her time between London and New York, where she teaches fiction at New York University.
Thursday, March 20, 4:30 p.m.
Keller Hall Reception Room
Lesléa Newman is the author of numerous novels, short stories, collections of poems, and works of nonfiction for adults as well as poetry, picture books, and fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, October Mourning
, is a novel in verse that responds to the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in 1998 and an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her picture book, Heather Has Two Mommies
, became one of the country’s most frequently challenged books for its depiction of lesbian mothers, a first in children’s literature. Formerly an apprentice to Allen Ginsburg, she currently teaches writing for children and young adults at Spalding University’s MFA in Writing Program. The title of her talk is “He Continues to Make a Difference: The Story of Matthew Shepard.” Lesléa Newman is the 2014 Trees Lecturer in the Department of English.
Newman’s talk is cosponsored by the Department of Education and One Book, One Campus.
Thursday, April 10, 7 p.m.
Keller Hall Reception Room
Yusef Komunyakaa’s seventeen books of poetry include Taboo
, Dien Cai Dau
, Neon Vernacular
(for which he received the Pulitzer Prize), Warhorses
, and most recently The Chameleon Couch and Testimony
. His many honors include the William Faulkner Prize (Universite Rennes, France), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry, and the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award. Much of his poetry springs from his childhood in Louisiana, his experiences during the Vietnam War, and his devotion to jazz. His plays, performance art, and libretti have been performed internationally and include Saturnalia, Testimony, and Gilgamesh. He teaches at New York University.