Hollins 2021-22 Reading And Lecture Series To Feature Pulitzer-Winning Poet Forrest Gander And NYT Bestselling Author Imbolo Mbue

Arches on Front Quad

“In person” is back in session at Hollins, and not just for classes either. After more than a year of online reading events and lectures, Hollins University is proud to welcome back in-person events for its 2021-22 Reading and Lecture Series. This week, the university’s English and Creative Writing Department released the full schedule of special literary events, readings, Q&As, and lectures. This year’s reading series is roaring back in person with a bang, featuring big-name authors like Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Forrest Gander, Hollins alumnae Anna Caritj M.F.A. ’16 and Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry M.F.A. ’10, and New York Times bestselling author Imbolo Mbue, whose debut novel Behold The Dreamers won the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

“I’m very proud of this lineup, which includes such a variety of writers in terms of genre, subject matter, and diversity,” said Liz Poliner, professor of English and creative writing and former director of  Hollins’ Jackson Center for Creative Writing. Poliner created the impressive program of authors for this year’s reading series before she stepped down as director last spring. “It took probably six weeks or so of fairly steady effort to line it all up,” said Poliner. “I’m looking forward to absolutely all of them! All are first-time readers at Hollins, as we like to have a fresh lineup each year, and all are truly accomplished writers with so much to offer.”

The series officially kicked off on September 2 and 3 with a dual reading and Q&A from two of Hollins’ newest English and creative writing professors: Candice Wuehle (author of the poetry collection Death Industrial Complex, which was selected as a 2020 finalist for The Believer Magazine Book Award) and Scott Blackwood (author of the novel See How Small, which won the 2016 PEN USA Award for Fiction). On September 23-24, award-winning Cameroonian-American novelist and short story writer Imbolo Mbue will offer a reading and Q&A about her most recent novel How Beautiful We Were.

In all, this year’s reading series will feature 14 published authors across 21 events (all readings and Q&As are held on separate days). That doesn’t include Hollins own talented faculty and student writers, who will also get opportunities to read in person this year.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s reading and lecture series is (for now) only open to current students, faculty and staff. However, all readings will be livestreamed via Zoom so the public can watch from the safety of their own homes. Q&As will remain open to only the campus community.

Get your calendars/smartphones ready and check out the full schedule below.

FALL SEMESTER

Thursday-Friday, September 23-24, 2021: Imbolo Mbue

Mbue, whose previous book Behold the Dreamers was an Oprah’s Book Club selection, will discuss and read from her latest novel, How Beautiful We Were.

Reading: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Visual Arts Center Auditorium.

Public access via livestream only:

Passcode: 159935

Q&A: Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library (open to the campus community only)

 

Thursday, September 30, 2021: Alison Fraser

Alison Fraser is an associate curator at the University at Buffalo Libraries and will give a lecture entitled, “Sweet Company: Helen Adam and the Archives at the Poetry Collection.”

Lecture: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library.

Public access via livestream only:

Passcode: 714888

 

Thursday, October 7-8, 2021: Ada Limón

Limón won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry for her 2015 collection Bright Dead Things and has also been a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award.

Reading: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Drawing Room, Main Building.

Public access via livestream only:

Passcode: 404655

Q&A: Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library (open to the campus community only)

 

Thursday, October 21, 2021: Julie Pfeiffer

Hollins Professor of English Julie Pfeiffer will give a lecture entitled, “Transforming Girls: How We Make Girls into Women.”

Lecture: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Drawing Room, Main Building.

Public access via livestream only:

Passcode: 403576

 

Thursday-Friday, October 28-29, 2021: J. Drew Lanham

An award-winning poet and professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University, Lanhams’ writing explores his experiences as a birder, hunter and “wild, wandering soul.”

Reading: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library

Public access via livestream only:

Passcode: 695218

Q&A: Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library (open to the campus community only)

 

Thursday-Friday, November 11-12, 2021: Dinaw Mengestu

Mengestu’s ambitious 2007 debut novel The beautiful things that heaven bears won him international recognition and the coveted Guardian first book award.

Reading: Thursday at 7:30 pm in the Green Drawing Room, Main Building

Public access via livestream only:

Passcode: 760233

Q&A: Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library (open to the campus community only)

 

Thursday, December 2, 2021: Writers’ Harvest Reading

Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Visual Arts Center Auditorium

Hear Hollins faculty writers read exciting new work to raise money for Feeding America Southwest Virginia, a nonprofit food bank that has been helping feed the hungry in Virginia for 40 years. 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to this organization. General admission is $10 and $5 for students. Tickets will be available at the door or, to preorder, please contact Lisa Radcliff, administrative coordinator (phone: 540-362-6317; email: English@hollins.edu).

Public access via livestream only:

Passcode: 933103

 

SPRING SEMESTER

 

Thursday-Friday, February 10-11, 2022: Yiyun Li

A native of Beijing and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Li’s novels and short stories have won her many awards, including a PEN/Hemingway Award and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Reading: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Drawing Room, Main Building

Q&A: Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library (open to the campus community only)

 

Thursday-Friday, February 24-25, 2022: Nazera Sadiq Wright

An associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky, Wright’s book Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century earned the 2018 Children’s Literature Association’s Honor Book Award for Outstanding Book of Literary Criticism.

Lecture: Thursday at 7:30 p.m.—location to be determined.

Q&A: Friday, time and location to be determined.

 

Thursday-Friday, March 10-11, 2022: Forrest Gander

Raised in Virginia, Gander is a gifted poet, translator, essayist, and novelist whose 2019 poetry collection Be With fetched him a Pulitzer Prize.

Reading: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Drawing Room, Main Building.

Q&A: Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library.

 

Saturday, April 2, 2022: Hollins Annual Literary Festival

The Hollins Literary Festival is an all-day celebration of all things writing related. Readings and the poetry panel will be held in the Wetherill Visual Arts Center Auditorium (Room 200).

9:30 a.m. – check-in and refreshments, 2nd floor lobby

10:30 a.m. – reading by Akhil Sharma

11:30 a.m. – poetry panel discussion of student-submitted works

12:45 p.m. – luncheon, Moody Dining Hall (pay at the door)

2: p.m. – reading by Jenny Boully

3:15 p.m. – reading by A. Van Jordan

4 p.m. – reception, 2nd floor lobby

 

Thursday-Friday, April 21-22, 2022: Anna Caritj and Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry

This is a rare double reading of two recent M.F.A. alums: Anna Caritj ’16 and Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry ’10. Both have new books out that they will be reading from and discussing.

Reading: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Drawing Room, Main Building.

Q&A: Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library.

 

Thursday, May 5, 2022: “The Last Twist”

Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Drawing Room, Main Building

Enjoy “The Last Twist,” a farewell reading by Hollins seniors and graduating Creative Writing M.F.A. students. This is the Hollins community’s last chance to hear the work of this talented young cohort of writers.