Lex Allen Literary Festival

Saturday, march 16, 2019

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.


  • Pam Durban‘s books include two collections of short stories, All Set About with Fever Trees (1985) and Soon (2015), and three novels: The Laughing Place (1993); So Far Back (2000), winner of the Lillian Smith Award for Fiction; and The Tree of Forgetfulness (2012). Her short fiction has been published in numerous literary journals and widely anthologized, including twice in New Stories from the South. Her short story, “Soon,” appeared in The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. “The Jap Room,” another short story, received the 2008 Goodheart Prize from Shenandoah. She is the Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina.
  • Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of three collections of poems: Sometimes We’re All Living in a Foreign Country (2017); The Spokes of Venus (2016); and Little Murders Everywhere (2012), finalist for the 2013 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award for her next manuscript-in-progress, and her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, New England Review, Literary Imagination, and The Harvard Review. Her awards include fellowships and residencies from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Wesleyan Writers’Conference, the Writers’ Room of Boston, Catwalk, and the Ragdale Foundation.
  • Paul Lisicky is the author of The Narrow Door (a New York Times Editors’ Choice), Unbuilt Projects, The Burning House, Famous Builder, and Lawnboy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Conjunctions, Fence, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Tin House, and in many other magazines and anthologies. A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, he has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he has served on the Writing Committee since 2000. He is currently an associate professor in the M.F.A. Program at Rutgers University-Camden. His sixth book, Later, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2020.

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 8, 2019

Literary Festival Contest
Hollins University
Box 9677
7916 Williamson Road
Roanoke, VA 24020


Location: Frances Niederer Auditorium (Room 200), Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center

      • 9:30 a.m. – Check-in and refreshments, 2nd floor lobby
      • 10:30 a.m. – Reading by Pam Durban
      • 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 Rebecca Morgan Frank
      • 3:15 p.m. – Reading by Paul Lisicky
      • 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, and the Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Writer-in-Residence Fund.


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