2023-24 Reading Series

Spring 2024 Events

Hilary Leichter

Hilary Leichter

Feb. 7 | 6:30 p.m. | English House | Lecture Hall

Hilary Leichter is the author of the novels Temporary (Coffee House Press, 2020) and Terrace Story (HarperCollins, 2023). She has been a finalist for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Prize, and her work in Harper's Magazine won the 2021 National Magazine Award in Fiction. She teaches at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Deesha Philyaw and Paul Tran

Deesha Philyaw and Paul Tran

Feb. 28 | 5:30 p.m. | English House | Lecture Hall

Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a Baldwin for the Arts Fellow. Her debut novel, The True Confessions of First Lady Freeman, is forthcoming from Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, in 2025.

Paul Tran is the author of the debut poetry collection, All the Flowers Kneeling, (Penguin Poetry, 2022). A recipient of the Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and a Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, their work appears in The New Yorker, The Nation, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. Paul earned their BA in history from Brown University and MFA in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis, where they won the Howard Nemerov Prize, Dorothy Negri Prize, and Norma Lowry Memorial Award. Paul is currently Poetry Editor at The Offing magazine and an assistant professor of English and Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender

April 4 | 6:30 p.m. | English House | Lecture Hall

Aimee Bender is the author of six books of fiction—short story collections and novels—including New York Times notable book The Color Master and New York Times bestseller The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. She’s been published in Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and many more journals, magazines, and anthologies; her work has been translated into sixteen languages and she teaches creative writing at USC.

Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris

Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris

April 11 | 6:30 p.m. | English House | Lecture Hall

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union, in 1977, and arrived to the U.S. in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the government. He is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019) and Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) and co-editor and co-translator of many other books. His work was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Whiting Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, and Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize, and was also shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Neustadt International Literature Prize, and T.S. Eliot Prize (UK). He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets’ Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship. He currently teaches in Princeton and lives in New Jersey.

Katie Farris is a poet, writer of hybrid forms, and translator. Her most recent book is Standing in the Forest of Being Alive (Alice James Books, 2023), which Publishers Weekly named one of the Top Ten Books of 2023. She is also the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal. Her earlier collection is boysgirls (Tupelo Press), a hybrid-form book. Her awards include the Pushcart Prize, Orison Prize, and Anne Halley Prize from Massachusetts Review. She also is the award-winning translator of several books of poetry from French, Ukrainian, Chinese, and Russian. In addition to her poetry and translations, Farris writes prose about cancer, the body, and its relationship to writing, such as in her recent, widely circulated essay in Oprah Daily. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Brown University and lives and teaches in New Jersey.

Fall 2023 Events

Jenny Erpenbeck photo

Jenny Erpenbeck

Sept. 27 | 6:30 p.m. | Goodhart Music Room

Jenny Erpenbeck was born in East Berlin in 1967. New Directions publishes her books The Old Child & Other Stories, The End of Days, The Book of Words, and Visitation, which NPR called “a story of the century as seen by the objects we’ve known and lost along the way.” The End of Days won the prestigious Hans Fallada Prize and the International Foreign Fiction Prize. Erpenbeck lives in Berlin.

Photo credit: Wolfgang Bozic

Patricia Smith photo

Patricia Smith

Oct. 5 | 6:30 p.m. | English House Lecture Hall

Patricia Smith, winner of the 2021 Poetry Foundation Ruth Lilly Award for Lifetime Achievement, is the author of eight critically volumes of poetry, including Unshuttered; Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 LA Times Book Prize, an 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize; and Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the National Book Award. Smith is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellow, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam. She is a professor of creative writing at Princeton University.

Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Tae Keller '15 photo

Tae Keller '15

Nov. 29 | 6:30 p.m | English House Lecture Hall

Tae Keller '15 is the Newbery award winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of When You Trap a Tiger and Jennifer Chan is Not Alone. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she subsisted on kimchi, purple rice, and stories. Now, she writes about biracial girls trying to find their voices, and lives in Seattle with her husband and a multitude of books.

Photo credit: Saavedra Photography

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