Spring semester programming for Writers@Grinnell will feature readings by Randa Jarrar, Verlyn Klinkenborg, Natasha Trethewey, Katha Pollitt, Andrew Sean Greer and Madeleine Thien. All events will take place on Thursdays in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center with roundtable discussions in Room 209 at 4:15 p.m. and readings at 8 p.m. in Room 101, unless otherwise noted.
"We're very excited to host such a diverse group of writers as we kick off a very busy spring of readings," said Dean Bakopoulos, assistant professor of English and director of the Writers@Grinnell program. "These writers are imaginative, witty, and sometimes fiercely provocative, and all of them share a keen interest in the issues of the day such as environmental sustainability and social justice. These artists demonstrate the importance of forceful, creative voices in pressing global conversations."
The spring series will begin Thursday, Feb. 28, with a reading and roundtable discussion led by author Randa Jarrar. Jarrar, author of the critically acclaimed novel A Map of Home, will lead an informal roundtable discussion about the craft of writing, the writing process, and her path to literary success. That same evening Jarrar will read from her work and take questions from the audience. A Map of Home was published in half a dozen languages and won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American Book Award, and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes & Noble Review. Jarrar has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Hedgebrook, Caravansarai, and Eastern Frontier, and was chosen to take part in Beirut39, which celebrates the 39 most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40.
Iowa-raised author, Guggenheim fellow, and New York Times editorial board member Verlyn Klinkenborg will return to Iowa for a reading and roundtable discussion on Thursday, March 7. Klinkenborg regularly contributes well-loved essays on rural life to The New York Times. He will discuss his newest book, Several Short Sentences About Writing, a provocative and innovative approach to learning, and unlearning, the craft of writing. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies.
U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, the daughter of a professor-poet and a social worker, will participate in a roundtable discussion and reading from her own work on Thursday, April 4. The recipient of a Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, Trethewey was named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the state of Mississippi and the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. At Grinnell, she will read from her poetry, including selections from her latest book, Thrall.
On Wednesday, April 10, Katha Pollitt, writer of the award-winning column "Subject to Debate" for The Nation, will lead the Scholars' Convocation in Room 101 of the JRC at noon. She will also meet Grinnell students for a reception and book signing after her talk. She is the author of two books of poetry and several collections of essays. This event is co-sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights.
On Thursday, April 18, Andrew Sean Greer will read from his much-anticipated new novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, a rapturously romantic story of a woman who finds herself transported to the "other lives" she might have lived. Greer is the author of the bestseller The Story of a Marriage, which The New York Times has called an "inspired, lyrical novel." A member of the faculty of the famed Iowa Writers Workshop, Greer is teaching a short course at Grinnell this semester.
Madeleine Thien, a Canadian short story writer and novelist, will join Greer to lead a roundtable discussion on April 18. Thien will also read from her work, including her newest novel, Dogs at the Perimeter, which has been published in dozens of countries. This reading will be held at the college's Faulconer Gallery at 8 p.m. In 2010, Thien received the Ovid Festival Prize, awarded each year to an international writer of promise.
Students of the Grinnell Review will round off the spring semester readings on Thursday, May 9, with readings from the campus's literary journal, which is edited and designed entirely by Grinnell students.
The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center is located at 1115 8th Avenue on the Grinnell College campus. Faulconer Gallery is located in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts at 1108 Park Street, also on the college's campus. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.