Home » Writers@Grinnell

Writers@Grinnell

Calendar Customer Code: 
WRITERS_AT_GRINNELL

Writers@Grinnell: Roy Scranton

Writers at GrinnellAward winning author, Roy Scranton will read from his work and discuss writing on Thursday, September 7, as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in the Burling Lounge.

In addition, Scranton will lead a roundtable discussion, which is free and open to the public at 4:15 p.m. September 7 in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 209.

Roy Scranton is the author of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (City Lights, 2015) and the novel War Porn (Soho Press, 2016). His essays, journalism, short fiction, and reviews have appeared widely. In addition, Roy co-edited Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013). Roy's New York Times essay “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene” was selected for The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014, and his essay “The Terror of the New” was selected as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2015. He was the recipient of a Mrs. Giles G. Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities (2014–2015), won the Theresa A. White Literary Award for short fiction (2009), and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Rice University (2016).

Roy’s current project, The Politics of Trauma: World War II and American Literature, is a critical genealogy of American World War II literature, tracing how a complex array of texts exploring the problem of the hero in industrial capitalism was obscured and displaced, during and after the Vietnam War, by a literary canon centered on narratives of American trauma.

Writers@Grinnell: Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

On Thursday, September 14, Award winning Kenyan writer Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor willYvonne Adhiambo Owuor image read from her work and discuss writing as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. 

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was named Woman of the Year by Eve Magazine in Kenya in 2004 for her contribution to the country's literature and arts. She won the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing for her story "Weight of Whispers," which considers an aristocratic Rwandan refugee in Kenya.

Born in Nairobi, Owuor studied English at Jomo Kenyatta University, before taking a master's in TV/Video development at Reading University. She has worked as a screenwriter and was the executive director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival from 2003 to 2005. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications worldwide including Kwani? and McSweeney’s, and her story "The Knife Grinder’s Tale" was made into a short film in 2005. Her novel Dust published in 2014 received widespread critical recommendations as a vivid and often poetic portrayal of the violent history of Kenya in the second half of the 20th century.

Presented in partnership with the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and Grinnell College’s Institute for Global Engagement. Professor Owuor is teaching a short course in the English department this fall, English 295-02.

Writers@Grinnell: Benjamin Percy

On Thursday, August 31, thriller author, comic book writer, and screenwriter, Benjamin Percy will read from his work and discuss writing as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College.  The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 6 p.m. at the Pioneer Bookshop, located at 933 Main in downtown Grinnell.

In addition, Percy will lead a roundtable discussion, which is free and open to the public, at 4:15 p.m. August 31 in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 209.

Benjamin Percy is the author of four novels — mostly recently, The Dark Net (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) — two books of short stories, and a book of essays. He writes the Green Arrow and Teen Titans series for DC Comics, and James Bond for Dynamite Entertainment. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in GQ, Esquire, Time, Men's Journal, the New York Times, and the Paris Review. His honors include a Whiting Award, an NEA fellowship, the Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics.

Writers@Grinnell: Bennett Sims

Bennett Sims imageAward winning author Bennett Sims will read from his work on Friday, April 28, at the final Writers@Grinnell event this semester.  Bennett will be reading from "White Dialogues," a horror story set at a lecture on Hitchcock's Vertigo.  His presentation will also include a multimedia piece incorporating visuals from the film. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 4:15 p.m. in Burling Library Lounge.

The spring writing contest winners will be announced after the reading.

Bennett Sims is the author of the novel A Questionable Shape, which received the Bard Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Believer Book Award. White Dialogues, a story collection, is forthcoming in September 2017. His stories have appeared in A Public Space, Conjunctions, Electric Literature, Tin House, Zoetrope: All-Story, and the 2015 Pushcart Prize Anthology. He has taught at Bard College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently teaching the Weird Fiction short course at Grinnell.

Refreshments will be served.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If you plan to attend this event and need accommodation, please contact Burling Library as soon as possible to make your request.

James McBride & The Good Lord Bird Band

Bestselling author, musician, and screenwriter James McBride and The Good Lord Bird Band will perform at the next Writers@Grinnell event.

Writers at GrinnellA Writers@Grinnell roundtable with James McBride will take place at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Rosenfield Center, Room 209. At 8 p.m. that evening in Herrick Chapel, James McBride and The Good Lord Bird Band will give a performance and lecture. The public is welcome at the free events.

James McBride is an author, musician and screenwriter. His landmark memoir, The Color of Water, rested on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. It is considered an American classic and is read in schools and universities across the United States.  His debut novel, Miracle at St. Anna, was translated into a major motion picture directed by American film icon Spike Lee. It was released by Disney/Touchstone in September 2008.  James wrote the script for Miracle At St. Anna and co-wrote Spike Lee's 2012 Red Hook Summer. His novel, Song Yet Sung, was released in paperback in January 2009. His latest novel, The Good Lord Bird, about American revolutionary John Brown, is the winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction. 

James is also a former staff writer for The Boston Globe, People Magazine, and The Washington Post. His work has appeared in Essence, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. His April 2007 National Geographic story “Hip Hop Planet” is considered a respected treatise on African American music and culture.

James is a native New Yorker and a graduate of New York City public schools. He studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and received his master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York at age 22. He holds several honorary doctorates and is currently a distinguished writer in residence at New York University.

The events are sponsored by Writers@Grinnell, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Music Department, Center for Humanities, American Studies, Intercultural Affairs, and Artists@Grinnell.

Writers@Grinnell Presents the Mando Lecture

Armando Alters Montano image

The first Annual Armando Montaño ’12 Memorial Lecture features Pulitzer Prize winning Dale Maharidge and photographer Michael Williamson. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

4:15 p.m. Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101

Sad! Or Stronger Than Ever? American Journalism in the Age of Fake News, Social Media, and Donald Trump.

Writers@Grinnell roundtable with Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson, moderated by Dean Bakopoulos, Grinnell College writer-in-residence, and Diane Alters ’71, journalism lecturer, Colorado College.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

4:15 p.m. Rosenfield Center, Room 101

The First Annual Armando Montaño '12 Memorial Lecture: Reflections by Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Dale Maharidge & photographer Michael Williamson

This newly endowed lecture honors the memory and spirit of journalist Mando Montaño ’12.

Maharidge and Williamson

Michael Williamson image

Dale Maharidge imageMaharidge and Williamson are longstanding friends of Mando's parents, Diane Alters ’71 and Mario Montaño; Michael is Mando's godfather. Mando grew up inspired by these two journalists, and sought their advice as he prepared to be a reporter himself.

Maharidge and Williamson collaborated on And Their Children After Them: The Legacy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans, and the Rise and Fall of Cotton in the South (Pantheon) and other books and specialize in covering poverty and other social issues. Maharidge is the author of ten books, most recently Bringing Mulligan Home: The Other Side of the Good War (PublicAffairs 2013). He is on the faculty of the Columbia University Journalism School. 

Williamson is a staff photographer at The Washington Post and shared a second Pulitzer in 2000 with two Post colleagues for their coverage of Kosovo. Both Maharidge and Williamson have been busy, of late, covering the policies of the Trump White House, especially the effects these policies have on marginalized communities.

Writers@Grinnell: Nichelle Tramble Spellman

Nichelle Tramble Spellman, award winning crime novelist, will read from her work and Nichelle Tramble Spellman photodiscuss writing on Thursday, March 2, as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College.  The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center (JRC) Room 101.

In addition, Nichelle Tramble will lead a roundtable discussion titled, "Writing for Prime Time Television" at 4:15 p.m. March 2nd in JRC 209.

Nichelle Tramble Spellman, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, is a crime novelist with two published books, The Dying Ground and The Last King (Random House/Ballantine). The Dying Ground, a Best Book of 2001 by both the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle, was also shortlisted for the prestigious Zora Neale Hurston / Richard Wright Foundation’s Legacy Award. Nichelle has also been an Edward J. Albee Writer-in-Residence, and a Writing Fellow at the Ucross Foundation. Nichelle has developed television and feature film projects with HBO, F/X, Dreamworks and Warner Bros.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The College welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child’s safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases the College expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child’s safety and sees that the child complies with directions of College personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Novelist Junot Diaz Visits Campus

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Diaz will read from his work at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. Diaz also will lead a roundtable discussion about writing fiction at 4 p.m. in Rosenfield Center Room 209. Both events are free and open to the public.

Diaz is fiction editor of the Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Diaz's work, which often focuses on immigration and feelings of displacement, is particularly salient amidst current debates around immigration. Former President Obama said in an interview with The New York Times that his work speaks "to a very particular contemporary immigration experience," with stories of people who are "steeped with this sense of being an outsider, longing to get in, not sure what you're giving up." 

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Diaz writes prolific stories of the Caribbean diaspora, American assimilation, and negotiation of identity. His novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, tells the story of three generations of a family living in the Dominican Republic and the United States. It won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Diaz also is the author of critically acclaimed Drown and most recently, the short story collection This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious MacArthur “Genius" Fellowship. He has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others.

Sponsoring this event are the Student Organization of Latinxs; the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights; the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; Intercultural Student Affairs; Writers@Grinnell; Student Activities; and the Student Government Association.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Rooms 101 and 209 are equipped with induction hearing loop systems, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The College welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child’s safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases the College expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child’s safety and sees that the child complies with directions of college personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Writers@Grinnell: Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Award winning author Gabrielle Calvocoressi will read from her work and discuss writing onGabrielle Calvocoressi Image Thursday, Nov. 17, as part of Writers@Grinnell. The event, which is free and open to the public will start at 8 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

In addition, Calvocoressi will lead a roundtable discussion, which is free and open to the public, at 4:15 p.m. Nov. 17 in Rosenfield Center, Room 209.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart and Apocalyptic Swing, which was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A recipient of awards and fellowships from, among others, The Rona Jaffe Foundation, The Paris Review, Civitella di Ranieri, and The Lannan Foundation, she teaches in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and UNC Chapel Hill. She is Senior Curator at the Voluble, a new online maker's space for artists and critics and an editor at large at Los Angeles Review of Books. Her third book of poems, Rocket Fantastic, is forthcoming in 2017. She is at work on a memoir entitled, The Year I Didn't Kill Myself. She is an LGBTQ human living in the state of North Carolina.

Writers@Grinnell: Kirstin Valdez Quade and Lydia Conklin

Award winning artists Kirstin Valdez Quade and Lydia Conklin will read from their work and discuss writing on Thursday, Nov. 10, as part of Writers@Grinnell.  The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

In addition, Valdez Quade will lead a roundtable discussion, which is free and open to the public, at 4:15 p.m., Nov. 10, in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 209.

Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of Night at the Fiestas, which won the John Leonard Kirstin Valdez Quade ImagePrize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. It was a New York Times Notable Book, and was named a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association. Kirstin is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and the 2013 Narrative Prize. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerThe Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she also taught as a Jones Lecturer. She’s been on the faculty in the M.F.A. programs at University of Michigan and Warren Wilson, and is an Assistant Professor at Princeton.

Lydia Conklin ImageLydia Conklin is the 2015-2017 Creative Writing Fellow in fiction at Emory University. She has received a Pushcart Prize, work-study scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, the James Merrill House, the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Millay, Jentel, Lighthouse Works, Brush Creek, the Santa Fe Art Institute, Caldera, the Sitka Center, and Harvard University, among others, and grants and awards from the Astraea Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Alliance of Artists Communities, and the Council for Wisconsin Writers. Her fiction has appeared in The Southern Review, Narrative Magazine, New Letters, The New Orleans Review, The Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. She has drawn graphic fiction for Gulf Coast, Drunken Boat, The Florida Review, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. She holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This event is co-sponsored by Writers@Grinnell and Artists@Grinnell.