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.
Sept. 4–5, 2019
YOUNG ADULT FICTION READING—Wednesday, Sept. 4, 6:30 p.m.
MASTER CLASS: "Writing with Empathy"—Thursday, Sept. 5, 12:30 p.m.
Ashley Woodfolk is the author of two novels: The Beauty That Remains (2018) and When You Were Everything, to be published in 2020. A graduate of Rutgers University, she currently works in children's book publishing and resides in Brooklyn with her husband, her son Niko, and her dog. Find her on Twitter at @AshWrites.
Sept. 20, 2019
MASTER CLASS: "Writing with Personal Vocabularies: Using Language from Beyond the Everyday"—Friday, Sept. 20, 12:30 p.m.
NONFICTION AND POETRY READING—Friday, Sept. 20, 6:30 p.m.
Cassie Donish is the author of the poetry collections The Year of the Femme (U. of Iowa Press, 2019)—winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize—and Beautyberry (Slope Editions, 2018). Their nonfiction chapbook, On the Mezzanine (Gold Line Press, 2019), was chosen by Maggie Nelson as winner of the Gold Line Press Chapbook Competition. A poet, prose writer, geographer and educator, Cassie currently teaches at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where they are pursuing a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing.
Oct. 10–11, 2019
FICTION READING—Thursday, Oct. 10, 6:30 p.m.
MASTER CLASS— "The Imaginative Leap: On Fictionalizing Lived Experience"—Friday, Oct. 11, 12:30 p.m.
The author of the story collection, Partners and Strangers (Carnegie Mellon U. Press, 2019), Michael Don has been published in journals such as Washington Square Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Fiction International, the Cortland Review and Southampton Review. He lives in Boston, where he co-edits Kikwetu: A Journal of East African Literature and teaches at Tufts University.
Oct. 24, 2019
READING AND ISSUE NO. 19 LAUNCH—Thursday, Oct. 24, 7:00 p.m. (Art Exhibit Room, Macmillan Hall)
In celebration of its 19th issue, the editors of and contributors to the Healing Muse will join us at Wells to share some new poetry, fiction and nonfiction. The Muse is the annual journal of literary and visual art published by SUNY Upstate Medical University's Center for Bioethics and Humanities. Please note, this event takes place in the Art Exhibit Room, located on the third floor of Macmillan Hall.
Nov. 7, 2019
POETRY MASTER CLASS: "Lines of Play: On Lineation"—Thursday, Nov. 7, 12:30 p.m.
POETRY READING—Thursday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m.
Philip Memmer is the author of five books of poems, most recently Pantheon (Lost Horse Press, 2019). His work has appeared in such journals as Poetry, Poetry Northwest and Poetry London, and in many anthologies. He is executive director of the Arts Branch of the YMCA of Central New York, where he founded the Downtown Writers Center in 2000; he also serves as executive editor of Stone Canoe, and associate editor for Tiger Bark Press.
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.