Creative Writing Program Reading Series

Creative Writing Program Reading Series

Distinguished writers read from their works, answer questions and sign books. All events are free and open to the public. For further information, call the Bryn Mawr College Office for the Arts at (610) 526-5210.

Upcoming Events

Stay tuned for announcements for the 2015-2016 season!

Past Events

The 2014-2015 Arts at Bryn Mawr brochure is available for download here.
photo of Rivka Galchen

Rivka Galchen

WED • OCT 1 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Rivka Galchen’s first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, was the winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and a finalist for Canada’s highest literary honor, the Governor General’s Award. Writing in The New Yorker, the critic James Wood called it “an original novel, one that knows how to move from the comic to the painful.” Galchen is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, and was named among the “20 Under 40” fiction writers to watch by The New Yorker, to which she is a frequent contributor. Galchen’s second book, the short story collection American Innovations, was published this spring. She teaches at Columbia University.

photo of Robin Robertson

Robin Robertson

THURS • OCT 30 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Poet Robin Robertson is the author of A Painted Field, Slow Air, Swithering, The Wrecking Light, and Hill of Doors. He has also translated Euripides’ Medea and the work of Swedish poet Tomas Transtrőmer. His volume of selected poems, Sailing the Forest, is forthcoming in the fall of 2014. Poet W.S. Merwin has written, “Robin Robertson is instantly recognizable as a poet of vivid authority, commanding a surprised, accurate language of his own.” A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the only poet to have received all three Forward poetry prizes in the U.K., he is fiction and poetry editor at Jonathan Cape in London.

This reading was made possible with the support of the Jane Flanders Fund and the Marianne Moore Fund for the Study of Poetry.

photo of Robert Pinsky and Laurence Hobgood

Robert Pinsky
and Laurence Hobgood

THURS • NOV 6 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky is joined by leading jazz pianist Laurence Hobgood (longtime collaborator with vocalist Kurt Elling) in a dialogue between music and poetry featuring Pinsky’s poems and translations, and Hobgood’s improvisations. Pinsky remarks, “POEMJAZZ treats a voice speaking poetry as having a role like that of a horn: speech with its own poetic melody and rhythm, in conversation with what the music is doing,” and says that his objective, in performing with Laurence Hobgood, is “to hear the two kinds of meaning responding to one another, with each remaining itself.”

This reading was made possible with the support of the Jane Flanders Fund and the Marianne Moore Fund for the Study of Poetry.


photo of Gish Jen

Gish Jen

WED • DEC 3 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Fiction writer Gish Jen is the author of four novels: Typical American, Mona in the Promised Land, The Love Wife, and World and Town, as well as a collection of short fiction, Who’s Irish? Her work was selected by John Updike for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In The New York Times, critic Michiko Kakutani writes, “Jen does not shirk from showing us her characters’ failings, but she does so with unfailing sympathy and good will.” She is the recipient of a Strauss Living award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Jen’s most recent book is the essay collection Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self.

photo of Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith

WED • MARCH 4 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Tracy K. Smith is the author of three books of poems: The Body’s Question, winner of the Cave Canem Prize; Duende, winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; and Life on Mars, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. Among her other accolades are a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award and a Whiting Award. In the New York Times Book Review, critic Joel Brouwer writes, “As all the best poetry does, Life on Mars first sends us out into the magnificent chill of the imagination and then returns us to ourselves, both changed and consoled.” Smith is a professor of creative writing at Princeton University.

This reading has been made possible with the support of the Jane Flanders Fund and the Marianne Moore Fund for the Study of Poetry.

photo of Allan Gurganus

Allan Gurganus

WED • MARCH 18 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Since the publication of his landmark first novel Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All in 1989, Allan Gurganus’ fictional characters have become an indispensable part of the American literary landscape for their shrewdness, humor, and deep humanity. His other work includes White People (Los Angeles Times Book Prize), Plays Well With Others, The Practical Heart: Four Novellas (Lambda Literary Award), and most recently Local Souls. His short novel Decoy is forthcoming. Scholar and critic Henry Louis Gates has written, “Gurganus locates the dangerous glamour in ordinariness. He can do anything he likes as a writer.”

photo of Aleksandar Hemon

Aleksandar Hemon

WED • APRIL 1 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Novelist, short story writer, and essayist Aleksandar Hemon is the author of four books of fiction: two short story collections and the novels Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project, the latter a finalist for the National Book Award. His most recent book, the essay collection The Book of My Lives, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, for which he has twice been a finalist for his fiction. Hemon is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, and the recipient of both a MacArthur Foundation grant and a Guggenheim fellowship.


About the Bryn Mawr College Creative Writing Program Reading Series

In the almost thirty years since presenting its inaugural readings by Etheridge Knight and Toby Olson in the spring of 1985, the Bryn Mawr College Creative Writing Program Reading Series has brought major American and international writers in all literary genres to engage with students and the Philadelphia area community. Series guests visit Creative Writing Program workshops and present free public readings from their work.

The series has featured Nobel Laureates Nadine Gordimer, Wole Soyinka, and Derek Walcott; Pulitzer Prize winners Jennifer Egan, Richard Ford, Louise Gluck, Anthony Hecht, Edward P. Jones, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jhumpa Lahiri, Paul Muldoon, Suzan-Lori Parks, Adrienne Rich, Charles Simic, Mark Strand, Paula Vogel, Richard Wilbur, August Wilson, and Charles Wright; former Poet Laureates of the United States Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, and Charles Simic; National Book Award winners Frank Bidart, Lucille Clifton, E.L. Doctorow, Terrance Hayes, Ha Jin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Peter Matthiessen, Alice McDermott, and Jean Valentine; Obie and Tony Award winner John Guare; and other esteemed authors and translators such as Lydia Davis, Umberto Eco, Robert Fagles, Ian McEwan, Rick Moody, and Zadie Smith, among others. Bryn Mawr College Visiting Distinguished Writers Karen Russell (2011-2012) and Robin Black (2012-2013) are among the fiction writers presented as part of the Series.

Other special events in the series have included a Tribute to Bryn Mawr alumna Marianne Moore, a program exploring connections between poetry and the visual arts, a recital of Beowulf by renowned performer Benjamin Bagby, a round-table discussion of the state of the short story in America, featuring four 2011 New Yorker "20 Under 40" honorees, and a public reading of John Milton’s verse drama Samson Agonistes by actors and poets including Claire Bloom, John Hollander, John Neville, Rosanna Warren, and others.

The Bryn Mawr College Creative Writing Program Reading Series gratefully acknowledges support from the Jane Flanders Fund, the Marianne Moore Fund for the Study of Poetry, and the Miriam Schultz Grunfeld '69 Fund, established by Carl Grunfeld, M.D., friends, and family members in memory of Miriam Schultz Grunfeld '69.  Since 1996, the Grunfeld Fund has enriched student life by supporting art history, the arts and literature.