Lex Allen Literary Festival

Saturday, april 15, 2023

Hollins hosted its first Literary Festival when the creative writing program began in 1960. It’s now an annual spring event known as the Lex Allen Literary Festival, named in honor of the former Hollins English professor. Writers-in-residence take part, along with other guests, who over the years have included Elizabeth Janeway, William Styron, John Barth, James Dickey, Richard Wilbur, Maxine Kumin, Lisel Mueller, Doris Betts, Diane Wakoski, Elizabeth Spencer, and many others.


  • Anne Boyer is the author of the memoir The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care, which won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. At age 41, the acclaimed poet was diagnosed with highly aggressive triple-negative breast cancer. For a single mother living paycheck to paycheck who had always been the caregiver rather than the one needing care, the catastrophic illness was both a crisis and an initiation into new ideas about mortality and the gendered politics of illness. Boyer was also the inaugural winner of the 2018 Cy Twombly Award for Poetry and winner of the 2018 Whiting Award in nonfiction/poetry. Her books include A Handbook of Disappointed Fate and the 2016 CLMP Firecracker Award-winning Garments Against Women.
  • Jon Pineda is the author of two novels, three poetry collections, and one memoir. His work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including The New York Times MagazineShenandoah, and Sierra Club, and has twice received the Library of Virginia Literary Award. A 2022 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow, he is a core faculty member in the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte and has taught in their Latin America M.F.A. program in Rio de Janeiro and in Buenos Aires. He has served on the teaching faculty at Kundiman, a “national nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American Literature,” and is an associate professor of English at the College of William & Mary.
  • Adrienne Su is the author of five books of poems, Middle Kingdom, Sanctuary, Having None of It, Living Quarters, and Peach State. Her poems have appeared on websites, including Poetry Daily and Poem-a-Day, and in anthologies such as The Hungry Ear; The New American Poets; Border Lines: Poems of Migration; Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation; Best American Poetry (2000, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2021); and The Norton Introduction to Literature. Su’s awards include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Foundation grant, and residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, The Frost Place, The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Since 2000, she has taught creative writing at Dickinson College, where she is Poet-in-Residence.

Literary prizes

Undergraduate college students are invited to submit up to three poems and/or up to two short stories for:
      • Literary Festival Poetry Prize ($100)
      • Literary Festival Fiction Prize ($100)

All entries must include the author’s name and contact information (email or phone number) and the name, city, and state of the author’s college or university. All fiction must be double-spaced.

Submission Information

Deadline: Friday, February 24, 2023.


All readings and the poetry panel will be held in the Wetherill Visual Arts Center Auditorium (Room 200).

  • 9:45 a.m.– Refreshments, 2nd floor lobby
  • 10:30 a.m. – Reading by Adrienne Su
  • 11:30 a.m. – Poetry panel discussing student-submitted work
  • 12:45 p.m. – Luncheon, Moody Dining Hall (pay at the door)
  • 2 p.m. – Reading by Jon Pineda
  • 3:15 p.m. – Reading by Anne Boyer
  • 4 p.m. – Reception, 2nd floor lobby

Funding provided by the John Alexander and Mary Josephine Haynes Allen Literary Endowment, the Dee Hull Everist Visiting Speaker Series, the Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Writer-in-Residence Fund, and the Jackson Fund for Creative Writing.


Call 540-362-6317 or email creative.writing@hollins.edu.