Wells College is pleased to announce that it has received a multi-year grant from the New York State Council on the Arts in support of Wells’ long-running Visiting Writers Series. The Series, coordinated by Professor of English Bruce Bennett with support by other College faculty and staff, brings a number of noted authors to campus each year for public readings of their work as well as for workshops and classes at the College. This grant from NYSCA will help to cover writers’ fees for the next three years of the program.
The Visiting Writers Series has been offering Wells students as well as members of the community at large a chance to hear from and interact with published authors since 1973; it has received support from NYSCA through much of its existence. During this time, the College and community have benefitted from visits by authors including W. S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, Joseph Brodsky, Russell Edson, Lucille Clifton, William Stafford, Leslie Norris, Katha Pollitt and many more. These writers often spend time sitting in on poetry, fiction and nonfiction courses, participating in workshops and discussions and giving advice to aspiring writers of all ages about craft or career.
So far this academic year the Visiting Writers Series has hosted poets, nonfiction writers and editors, including Melissa Balmain; Christina Kubasta ’99; Margaret Ward, professor emerita at Wellesley College and wife of Wells President Thomas de Witt; and editors and contributors to the Healing Muse, a visual and literary arts journal published by SUNY Upstate Medical University's Center for Bioethics and Humanities. Professor Bennett has built on the successful series through partnerships with other Wells programs and local venues.
The College’s Book Arts Center often prints letterpress broadsides of the work of visiting authors that are available at the readings; this long-time practice has recently developed to include an annual series of chapbooks on place that feature winners chosen in a national contest. Additionally, the Inns of Aurora have made their own spaces available for a new series entitled “Literature on the Lake.” These readings are coordinated by Professor Bennett and Emily Ambrose ’11, events coordinator at the Inns of Aurora. Three readings have been held so far, the most recent by nonfiction writer Kayleen Wilkinson ’10 in the renovated Dorie’s Bakery.
The above photo was taken at the Visiting Writers Series reading of selections from The Healing Muse, November 14, 2013.