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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. During their time at Butler University, 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. Towards this end, 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. 

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.

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For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit

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

Driving directions from your location to Shelton Auditorium.

Map of South Campus with Shelton Auditorium and Parking Lot

All events start at 7:30 PM and are free and open to the public without tickets.

We will continue to closely monitor the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Please continue to check back here or on our Facebook page for specific event information.

Fall 2021 VWS


Kevin PruferKevin Prufer

Professor of Creative Writing, University of Houston; and prize-winning poet

Date: Monday, October 18, 2021, 7:30 PM

Shelton Auditorium

Kevin Prufer is a professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston and the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University. He is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Art of Fiction (2021), How He Loved Them (long-listed for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Julie Suk Award), Churches (named one of the New York Times' best books of 2014), In a Beautiful Country (finalist for the 2012 Rilke Prize), and National Anthem (named by Publishers Weekly as one of the five best poetry books of 2008). He's also co-edited several volumes of poetry, including New European Poets (Graywolf Press, 2008), Literary Publishing in the 21st Century (Milkweed Editions, 2016), and Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries (Graywolf Press, 2017). 

Prufer directs the Unsung Masters Series, a book series devoted to bringing great but little-known authors of the past to new generations of readers. 

Among Prufer's awards and honors are four Pushcart prizes and several Best American Poetry selections, numerous awards from the Poetry Society of America, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation.


G. Willow WilsonG. Willow Wilson

Hugo and American Book Award-winning graphic novelist and journalist

Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 7:30 PM

Shelton Auditorium

G. Willow Wilson is an American comics writer, prose author, essayist, and journalist. Her first graphic novel Cairo, with art by M.K. Perker, was named one of the best graphic novels of 2007 by Publishers Weekly, The Edmonton Journal/CanWest New, and Comics Worth Reading. The paperback edition of Cairo was named one of Best Graphic Novels for High School Students in 2008 by School Library Journal and one of 2009's Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens by the American Library Association.

Wilson, who first encountered comics when she read an anti-smoking pamphlet featuring the X-Men in the fifth grade, is also well known as the co-creator of the Hugo and American Book Award-winning relaunch of the Ms. Marvel title (2013-2018) for Marvel Comics starring a 16-year-old Muslim superhero named Kamala Khan who takes up the mantle after the previous Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers, becomes Captain Marvel. In addition, Wilson has written for some of the world’s best-known superhero comic book series, including The X-Men, Superman, and Wonder Woman. In 2015, she won the Graphic Literature Innovator Prize at the PEN America Literary Awards.

In 2010 Wilson released a memoir titled The Butterfly Mosque about life in Egypt during the Mubarak regime, which was named Seattle Times Best Book that year. Her debut novel, Alif the Unseen (2012), was an NPR and Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and it established her as a vital American Muslim literary voice. The following year it won the (2013) World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, was a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and was long-listed for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Wilson’s most recent novel, The Bird King (2019), is an epic journey set during the reign of the last sultan in the Iberian peninsula at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. It tells the story of Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Neil Gaiman (Good Omens, American Gods) praised her saying, “G. Willow Wilson has a deft hand with myth and with magic, and the kind of smart, honest writing mind that knits together and bridges cultures and people. You should read what she writes.”  Wilson’s work has been translated into over a dozen languages. She lives in Seattle.


Hanif AbdurraqibHanif Abdurraqib

New York Times best-selling poet, essayist, and cultural critic

Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021, 7:30 PM

Shelton Auditorium

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. 

His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He released Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest with University of Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times Bestseller, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second collection of poems, A Fortune For Your Disaster, was released in 2019 by Tin House, and won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Prize. In 2021, he released the book A Little Devil In America with Random House, in which he chronicles Black performances over specific moments in time and how they have woven through the years into American culture. 

Hanif is a graduate of Beechcroft High School.