Visiting Writers Series

The Wells College Visiting Writers Series was established in 1973.
Under the auspices of the series, Wells College presents three to five events each semester featuring authors who have distinguished themselves in poetry, fiction and/or nonfiction. These writers not only give public readings of their work; they also conduct writing workshops, participate in classes and discussions, and often hold individual conferences with interested student writers. Every poet's visit is commemorated with a hand-printed, limited-edition broadside, printed by Wells College Press. All Visiting Writers Series events are free to attend, and the public is welcome to join us.
Contact Us

If you have questions about these events, please contact Daniel Rosenberg, Ph.D., head of the Visiting Writers Series at Wells College.

See Our Past Visiting Writers

Readings by Sung J. Woo  •  JR Tappenden  •  Adam Clay  •  Jessica Cuello  •  Jerry Mirskin  •  Martha Collins  •  Martin Rock  •  Steph Burt  •  Contributors and Editors for Journals The Healing Muse and Stone Canoe

The Visiting Writers Series is supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Ashley Woodfolk holds a master class with Wells students in fall 2019
Cassie Donish gives a public reading, fall 2019
visiting writer in the art exhibit room
handmade prints of poems
view of wells campus from the sky
dan rosenberg reading in faculty parlors

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.

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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.

Visiting Writers Series: Spring 2021

James D'Agostino

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021
MASTER CLASS: "Nerd Fame Again: On Anagrams and Finding Poems in Words"—5:00 p.m (ZOOM LINK)

James D’Agostino will be reading from his new chapbook, This Much, which won the 2019 Wells College Press Chapbook Contest. He is the author of Nude with Anything (New Issues Press) and three chapbooks which won prizes from Diagram/New Michigan, CutBank Books and the Wells College Press. His poems have appeared in Ninth Letter; Forklift, Ohio; Conduit; Mississippi Review; Bear Review; TriQuarterly and elsewhere. He straddles the Missouri-Iowa state line with his partner, the poet and book artist, Karen Carcia. Christopher Nelson Bowcutt will also read his poem, “Hallucination with Four Fathers,” which won the 2019 Bennett Prize from Wells College Press and was published in a limited-edition broadside.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

An associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Lauren Shapiro is the author of Easy Math (Sarabande, 2013), which was the winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the Debut-litzer Prize for Poetry, as well as Arena (CSU Poetry Center, 2020), which was one of the New York Times best poetry books of 2020. With Kevin González, she co-edited The New Census: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (Rescue Press, 2013). She has written a chapbook of poems, Yo-Yo Logic (DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press, 2011), and individual poems have appeared in jubilat, Boston Review, Copper Nickel, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bennington Review, and Columbia Poetry Review, among other places. An associate professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, Shapiro has translated creative work from Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese and Arabic into English.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Maria Dahvana Headley is the New York Times-bestselling author of eight books, most recently her new translation of Beowulf (MCD x FSG) which has been celebrated for its dark, funny, feminist and startlingly fresh rendering of the classic tale. The Mere Wife (MCD x FSG), a contemporary adaptation of Beowulf, was named by the Washington Post as one of its Notable Works of Fiction in 2018. She's written for both teenagers (Magonia and Aerie, HarperCollins) and adults, in a variety of genres and forms. Headley's short fiction has been shortlisted for the Nebula, Shirley Jackson, Tiptree and World Fantasy awards,and for the 2020 Joyce Carol Oates Prize, and has been anthologized in many year's bests. Her essays on gender, chronic illness, politics, propaganda and mythology have been published and covered in the New York Times, Daily Beast, Harvard's Nieman Storyboard and elsewhere. She grew up in the high desert of Idaho on a survivalist sled dog ranch, where she spent summers plucking the winter coat from her father's wolf.


Monday, March 29, 2021
Shane McCrae is the author of several poetry collections, including Mule (2011); Blood (2013); The Animal Too Big to Kill (2015); In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; and The Gilded Auction Block (2019). His work has also been featured in The Best American Poetry 2010, and his honors include a Whiting Writers' Award, Lannan Literary Award, Ainsfield-Wolf Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. McCrae lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.


Thursday, April 8, 2021
MASTER CLASS: "The 'Natural' World"—5:00 p.m (ZOOM LINK)
Diane Cook's debut novel, The New Wilderness, was a finalist for the 2020 Booker Prize and her story collection Man v. Nature was a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award, Believer Book Award, Los Angeles Times Award for First Fiction and the PEN/Hemingway award. Her writing has appeared in Harper's, Zoetrope, Granta and other publications, and anthologized in Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. She is a former producer for the radio program This American Life and was the recipient of a 2016 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with her family.

Ed Pavlić

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
MASTER CLASS: "'And Maybe Courage': The Mutual Lyric"—5:00 p.m (ZOOM LINK)
The author of eleven books, most recently Let It Be Broke, Ed Pavlić is an American writer whose work travels across—often blurring—genres: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and scholarship. Centered in African-American and diasporic life and culture, most of his work explores racial dynamics in the experiences of persons—fictive, actual, historical and contemporary—whose placement and perspectives aren't neatly classifiable. His awards include the American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Award (2001), National Poetry Series Open Competition (2012 and 2014), the Author of the Year Award from the Georgia Writer's Association (2009), and the Darwin Turner Memorial Award from African American Review (1997). He is the Distinguished Research Professor of English and African-American Studies at the University of Georgia and lives in Athens, Ga. with his family.

Previous Seasons

FALL 2020 (PDF)


FALL 2019 (PDF)


Fall 2018 Season (PDF)

Spring 2017 Season (PDF)

Fall 2016 Season (PDF)

Spring 2016 Season (PDF)

Fall 2015 Season (PDF)

Visiting Writers Series Broadsides

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.


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