Reading Series photo header

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.

Bryn Mawr College Creative Writing Program Reading Series
TwitterlogoARTS at Bryn Mawr

2015-2016 READINGS

The 2015-2016 Arts at Bryn Mawr brochure is available for download here.

Kirstin Valdez Quade Photo

Kirstin Valdez Quade

WEDS • OCT 28 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Kirstin Valdez Quade’s debut short story collection, Night at the Fiestas, was published by Norton in winter 2015 to widespread acclaim. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Kyle Minor says the best of her stories are “legitimate masterpieces…haunting and beautiful. Quade attempts, page by page, to give up carefully held secrets, to hold them up to the light so we can get at the truth beneath, the existential truth. Perhaps this is as close as we can get to what is sacred in an age in which so many have otherwise rejected the idea of the sacred.” A “5 Under 35” honoree from the National Book Foundation and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award winner, Quade’s stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Narrative Magazine, and The Best American Short Stories.

Louise Gluck photoLouise Glück

WED • NOV 11 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Louise Glück is one of the most important poets writing in English today. She is author of a book of essays and 16 books of poetry, including Faithful and Virtuous Night, winner of the 2014 National Book Award. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, poet Stephen Dobyns says, “The world [her poems] describe is a world from which we too often try to escape. No American poet writes better than Louise Glück; perhaps none can lead us so deeply into our own natures.” U.S. Poet Laureate from 2003 to 2004, Glück has previously been the winner of the Pulitzer and Bollingen Prizes. She currently teaches creative writing at Yale 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.

NicholsonBakerImageNicholson Baker

Rescheduled from SEP 30
WED • NOV 18 • 7:30 PM
Ely Room, Wyndham Guest House

Nicholson Baker is the author of ten novels and five books of nonfiction, including Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Writing in the New York Review of Books, critic Michael Dirda says, “Baker [is] a stunning writer…there is iron in his sentences as well as gold and filigree, there are shouts of warning, cries of dissent.” A frequent contributor to The New Yorker and the winner of the 2014 International Hermann Hesse Prize, Baker’s most recent novel is Traveling Sprinkler, a sequel to his 2009 bestseller The Anthologist. He is an alumnus of Haverford College.

Colson Whitehead photoColson Whitehead

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

Novelist and essayist Colson Whitehead is the author of two books of nonfiction and five novels, most recently the post-apocalyptic fiction Zone One, a national bestseller. Writing in Time Magazine, novelist and critic Walter Kirn called his first novel, The Intuitionist, “the freshest racial allegory since Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.” Whitehead’s most recent book of nonfiction, The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Death, an account of the 2011 World Series of Poker, was recently published in paperback. Whitehead is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, and the recipient of both a MacArthur Foundation grant and a Guggenheim fellowship.

Heather McHugh photoHeather McHugh

WED • FEB 24 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Heather McHugh is the author of eight books of poems, including Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968-1993, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Book Review “Notable Book of the Year.” Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass says, “her writing is so alert to itself, so alert to language, it’s like watching a dancer on a mirrored floor, stepping on her steps. She’s practically playing with her words as she writes them down.” A winner of the MacArthur Grant and finalist for the Pulitzer, McHugh currently serves as Milliman Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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

Claudia Rankine photoClaudia Rankine

EVENT CANCELLED. For personal reasons, Claudia Rankine's reading scheduled for Thursday, March 24th was cancelled.


Claudia Rankine’s most recent book, Citizen: An American Lyric, won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, poet Holly Bass says, “Rankine brilliantly pushes poetry’s forms to disarm readers and circumvent our carefully constructed defense mechanisms against the hint of possibly being racist ourselves.” Rankine is co-editor of the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language, and the author of the play The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue. She teaches at Pomona College.

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

Philip Lopate photoPhillip Lopate

WED • APRIL 13 • 7:30 PM
Goodhart Music Room

Phillip Lopate is one of the most revered practitioners of narrative nonfiction working today. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including the essay collections Portrait Inside My Head, Getting Personal and Against Joie de Vivre. Lopate’s edited anthology The Art of the Personal Essay has been the standard volume of its kind since its publication more than thirty years ago. Of his work, critic Sven Birkerts says, “Lopate…registers with accuracy and tact the voice of a man of deep human impulse living in a civilization on the wane. His fearlessness is tonic, his candor is straight gin.” He currently directs the MFA Program in Creative Nonfiction at Columbia University.

About the Bryn Mawr College Creative Writing Program Reading Series

In the more than 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.