Delbrook Visiting Writers Series

Butler University | Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series

For 30 years, the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series has regularly hosted public readings and Q&A sessions with some of the most influential people in contemporary literature. Visiting authors such as Toni Morrison, Billy Collins, Kurt Vonnegut, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Atwood, Allen Ginsberg, Sharon Olds, Amy Tan, and Colson Whitehead not only share their work with the Indianapolis community but also interact directly with undergraduate and graduate students in Butler’s English classes and MFA program.

Butler offers a 300-level English course that features the work of authors in the Visiting Writers Series. Students taking this class are invited to join English faculty in a private dinner with each writer when they visit campus, and have the opportunity to formally introduce the writers at their public readings.

The Visiting Writers Program is coordinated by the Department of English and offers 10–12 events each year, all of which are free and open to Butler students, faculty, and staff as well as the Indianapolis community, making the Butler University Visiting Writers Series one of the largest and most comprehensive in the country.

Spring 2023 Speakers

Erika MeitnerNational Jewish Book Award Winner for Poetry

Wednesday, February 1, 7:30PM

Shelton Auditorium

Erika Meitner is the winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry and author of six books of poems: Useful Junk; Holy Moly Carry Me; Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore; Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls; and Ideal Cities, which was a 2009 National Poetry series winner; and Copia. Her poetry and prose have been widely anthologized. Born and raised in Queens and Long Island, NY, Meitner is a first-generation American: her father is from Israel; her mother was born in a refugee camp in Germany, which is where her maternal grandparents settled after surviving the Holocaust. Meitner is currently a professor of English at Virginia Tech.

Paula McLainNew York Times Best-Selling Novelist

Thursday, February 16, 7:30PM

Shelton Auditorium

Paula McLain is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels, The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun, and Love and Ruin. Her latest instant bestseller is When the Stars Go Dark.

Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next fourteen years. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nurse aide in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress–before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996.

McLain’s essays have appeared in Town & Country, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, O the Oprah Magazine, Huffington Post, The Guardian, the New York Times and elsewhere. She is also the author of the memoir, Like Family: Growing up in Other People’s Houses, two collections of poetry, and the debut novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives with her family in Cleveland.

Dionne IrvingAward-Winning Author and Associate Professor of English, University of Notre Dame

Tuesday, March 14, 7:30PM

Schrott Center for the Arts

Dionne Irving is originally from Toronto, Ontario. Her newly published short story collection The Islands (Catapult Books) shares powerful stories that explore the legacy of colonialism, and issues of race, immigration, sexual discrimination, and class in the lives of Jamaican women across London, Panama, France, Jamaica, Florida and more. Set in locations and times ranging from 1950s London to 1960s Panama to modern-day New Jersey, Irving reveals the intricacies of immigration and assimilation in this debut, establishing a new and unforgettable voice in Caribbean-American literature.

Her novel Quint is available from 7.13 Books. Irving’s work has appeared in Story, Boulevard, LitHub, Missouri Review, and New Delta Review, among other journals and magazines.

Irving earned her Ph.D. in creative writing from Georgia State University. She has also received fellowships from the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation and Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program and the Initiative on Race and Resilience at the University of Notre Dame.

Natalie LimaPEN America Emerging Voices Fellow

Wednesday, March 22, 7:30PM

Shelton Auditorium

Natalie Lima is a Cuban-Puerto Rican writer, raised in Las Vegas, NV and Hialeah, FL. She is a first-generation college graduate of Northwestern University and a graduate of the MFA program in creative nonfiction writing at the University of Arizona. Her essays and fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Longreads, Guernica, Brevity, The Offing, Catapult, Sex and the Single Woman (Harper Perennial, 2022), Body Language (Catapult, 2022), and elsewhere. Lima’s writing has been honored in Best Small Fictions (2020), and noted twice in Best American Essays (2019 and 2020). Her work has received support from PEN America Emerging Voices, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Tin House, the VONA/Voices Workshop, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, and the Hedgebrook Writers’ Residency. In fall of 2022, Lima joined the creative writing faculty at Butler University as Assistant Professor in the Department of English. She is currently working on a memoir and an essay collection.

 

Kevin YoungPoetry Editor of The New Yorker and National Book Award Finalist

Thursday, April 20, 7:30PM

Shelton Auditorium

Kevin Young is the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He previously served as the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Young is the author of fifteen books of poetry and prose, including Stones, shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize; Brown; Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015, longlisted for the National Book Award; Book of Hours, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Jelly Roll: A Blues, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry; Bunk a New York Times Notable Book, longlisted for the National Book Award and named on many “best of” lists for 2017; and The Grey Album, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award, a New York Times Notable Book, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. The poetry editor of the New Yorker, where he hosts the Poetry Podcast, Young is the editor of nine other volumes, most recently the acclaimed anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Society of American Historians, and was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets 2020.

The Visiting Writers Series appreciates the generous support of the Vivian S. Delbrook Fund and the NEH Ayres Fund.

To make special arrangements for school groups, book clubs, and community organizations, call 317-940-9861.

All Visiting Writers Series events take place in Shelton Auditorium, located at 1000 West 42nd Street on Butler University’s South Campus. All events are free with free on-site surface parking available in the lots off Haughey Street and West 42nd Street.