Among the hundreds of writers Wells has hosted over the years, many have been top figures in their field who have won such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and their works regularly appear on "best of the year" lists by the New York Times, National Public Radio and other prestigious media outlets. One visiting author (the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky) was even a Nobel Prize winner! Yet, the Visiting Writers Series selects only those writers who can bring something special to the close-knit Wells community, which has had its continuously growing share of ambitious and committed undergraduate writers.
Visiting writers are frequently editors and publishers, or are involved in graduate writing programs, and all have wide publishing experience, so they can help students learn about practical matters relating to the literary scene and publishing, in addition to providing hands-on advice and criticism. Sometimes there are group readings by editors and writers representing journals, such as the Healing Muse or Stone Canoe, or by publishers such as Michael Czarnecki of FootHills Publishing, enabling students to gain exposure to the vital work being done all over the country by small presses and literary magazines.
The Visiting Writers Series is supported by Wells College, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Virginia Kent Cummins Fund (for poets), the Mildred Walker Fund (for fiction writers), and gifts from the College's alumnae, alumni and other friends and supporters.
Monday, Feb. 17, 2020
MASTER CLASS: “Learning the Grammar of Animacy”—12:30 p.m., Faculty Parlors
NONFICTION READING—6:30 p.m., Phipps Auditorium (Macmillan Hall)
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, plant ecologist, writer and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, N.Y. She serves as the founding director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. Of European and Anishinaabe ancestry, Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her latest book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, was released in 2013 and was awarded the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. Please note that her public reading will take place in Phipps Auditorium, located on the second floor of Macmillan Hall on the Wells College campus. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s appearance is co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Studies and First Nations & Indigenous Studies programs at Wells College.
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020
MASTER CLASS: “The Intersection of Fiction and Memoir”—5:00 p.m., Faculty Parlors (Main Building)
NONFICTION READING—6:30 p.m., Faculty Parlors
Reyna Grande is the author of three critically acclaimed books. The Distance Between Us, Grande’s memoir about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States, was published by Atria Books in August 2012. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, it was hailed by the L.A. Times as “the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.” Reyna holds a B.A. in creative writing and film & video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. Reyna Grande teaches creative writing for UCLA Extension and speaks at high schools, colleges and universities across the nation.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
MASTER CLASS: “The Poetics of Walking”—5:00 p.m., Faculty Parlors
POETRY READING—6:30 p.m., Faculty Parlors
Two acclaimed poets will read from their new collections. Joshua Harmon is the author of three books of poetry—The Soft Path, Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie, and Scape—and three books of prose—The Annotated Mixtape (essays/memoir), History of Cold Seasons (short fiction), and Quinnehtukqut (a novel). His chapbook Outtakes, B-Sides & Demos won the 2019 Paul Bowles Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and lives in western Massachusetts. Andrew Zawacki is the author of five poetry books: Unsun: f/11; Videotape; Petals of Zero Petals of One; Anabranch; and By Reason of Breakings. A former Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, he earned his doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Zawacki has also published four books in France, and his translation work has earned him a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a French Voices Grant and a grant from the Centre National du Livre.
Monday, April 13, 2020
MASTER CLASS: “Nerd Fame Again: On Anagrams and Finding Poems”—12:30 p.m., Faculty Parlors
POETRY CHAPBOOK LAUNCH—6:30 p.m., Faculty Parlors
The winner of the 2019 Wells College Press Chapbook Contest, James D’Agostino, will read from his award-winning collection in celebration of its publication. In addition to This Much, published by Wells College Press, James D’Agostino is the author of Nude with Anything (New Issues Press); Slur Oeuvre, which won the Diagram/New Michigan Prize; and Weathermanic, winner of the CutBank Chapbook Contest. His poems have appeared in Conduit; Forklift, Ohio; TriQuarterly; Denver Quarterly; Rattle (Poets Respond); Third Coast; and elsewhere. He lives in Iowa City with his wife, the poet and book artist Karen Carcia.
For each visiting writer, the Book Arts Center and Press collaborates with Wells' English department to prepare a handmade broadside of the writer's work. View previous broadsides available for purchase here.