Visiting guest speakers have included such writers as:
- Lee Smith '67, novelist and Shannon Ravenel '60, Smith's editor at Algonquin Books. Their visit was in celebration of Smith’s latest novel, The Last Girls.
- Matthew Klam M.A. ’92, author of Sam the Cat and Other Stories. Named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best young fiction writers in America, his work, both fiction and nonfiction, has appeared widely in all the best places, and one of his stories won an O. Henry Award.
- Natasha Trethewey M.A.'91, author of Domestic Work, winner of the prestigious Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first collection of poems by an African-American poet. She was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her most recent collection of poetry, Native Guard. In January 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of Mississippi. In June 2012 she was named U. S. Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress.
- Claudia Emerson, author of Figure Studies and Late Wife, which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
- Edward P. Jones, winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award for Lost in the City and the Pulitzer Prize for The Known World.
- Jamaica Kincaid, innovative fiction writer and memoirist, author of At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, A Small Place, Autobiography of My Mother, and My Brother.
- Nick Flynn, memoirist and poet, is best known as the author of Another Bull**** Night in Suck City, in which he recounts his turbulent childhood and family life and the uncanny trajectory that led him and his homeless, estranged father to one another. His memoir, The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment, was published in 2010. Flynn is also the author of three books of poetry, Some Ether (2000), which won the PEN/Joyce Osterwell Award; Blind Huber (2002); and The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands: Poems (2011).
- George Saunders is the author of The Braindead Megaphone, a collection of essays published in 2007. Saunders' other books include the short story collections CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a finalist for the 1996 PEN/Hemingway Award; In Persuasion Nation, a finalist for the Story Prize in 2007; and Pastoralia; the children’s book The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip; and the novella The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil. His works have been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, and GQ. "Saunders’ bitingly clever and compassionate essays are a Mark Twain-style shot in the arm for Americans, an antidote to the dumbing down virus plaguing our country," said Vanity Fair.
- Tom Drury, whose novels include The End of Vandalism (1994), an ALA Notable Book; The Black Brook (1998); Hunts in Dreams (2000), a New York Times Notable Book; and The Driftless Area (2006) and Pacific (2013), both New York Times Editors' Choices. His short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Ploughshares, Granta, The Mississippi Review, and The New York Times Magazine.
- Amy Leach, winner of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Whiting Writers' Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Nautilus Book Award. Her debut collection of essays, Things That Are, was published in 2012 and was a Huffington Post Best Book Pick and a Best of 2012 Pick from IndieBound.
- Judith Ortiz Cofer, author of numerous books in various genres, including If I Could Fly (2011); Call Me Maria (2006); A Love Story Beginning in Spanish: Poems (2005); The Meaning of Consuelo (2003), selected as one of the winners of the 2003 Americas Award of the National Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs; An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio (1995), recipient of The American Library Association Reforma Pura Belpre Medal and the Fanfare Best Book of the Year award; The Year of Our Revolution: New and Selected Stories and Poems (1998), winner of the Paterson Book Prize; and The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry (1993), winner of the Anisfield Wolf Book Award.
Jackson Poetry Reading
Through the generosity of John and Susan Jackson, we have established the annual Jackson Poetry Reading. In April 2014, Joy Harjo, distinguished poet and winner of the PEN Open Book Award, will give the Jackson Poetry Reading. Past readers have included Paul Muldoon, Charles Wright, Natasha Trethewey, Claudia Emerson, Carl Dennis, Mark Doty, Alice Fulton and C.D. Wright.
More events information
Visit our events calendar for more information on readings and English department events. Select "Readings" in the category selection drop-down menu.