Visiting Writers Series
The Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series regularly hosts public readings and Q & A sessions with some of the most influential people in contemporary literature. During their time at Butler Univesrity, visiting authors such as Toni Morrison, Billy Collins, Kurt Vonnegut, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Atwood, Allen Ginsberg, Amy Tan, and Colson Whitehed 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 given for each writer when they visit the 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 as well as the Indianapolis community, making the Butler University Visiting Writers Series one of the largest and most comprehensive in the country.
To make special arrangements for school groups, book clubs, and community organizations, call 317-940-9861.
The Visiting Writers Series appreciates the generous support of the Vivian S. Delbrook Fund and the NEH Ayres Fund.
For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit www.butler.edu/event-accommodations/.
Spring 2018 Schedule
Author/cartoonist Lynda Barry and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück will be among the speakers this spring in Butler University’s Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.
The series begins February 1 with poet/novelist Kazim Ali and continues with novelist Ali Eteraz (February 15), Barry (March 1), poet Danez Smith (March 22), novelist/biographer Edmund White (April 3), and Glück (April 18).
All events begin at 7:30 PM and all are free and open to the public without tickets. The locations of each event are below.
For more information, call 317-940-9861
Thursday, February 1, 7:30 PM
Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall
Kazim Ali’s books include several volumes of poetry, including Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award; The Fortieth Day; All One’s Blue; and the cross-genre text Bright Felon. His novels include The Secret Room: A String Quartet, and among his books of essays is Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice.
Ali is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College. His new book of poems, Inquisition, and a new hybrid memoir, Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies, are scheduled for release in 2018.
Thursday, February 15, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room
Ali Eteraz is the author of the debut novel Native Believer, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice selection. He also is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Children of Dust, which was selected as a New Statesman Book of the Year, won the Nautilus Book Award Gold, and was featured on PBS with Tavis Smiley, NPR with Terry Gross, C-SPAN2, and numerous international outlets. O, The Oprah Magazine, called it “a picaresque journey” and the book was long-listed for the Asian American Writers Workshop Award.
Previously, he wrote the short story collection Falsipedies and Fibsiennes. Other short stories have appeared in The Adirondack Review, storySouth, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Forge Journal.
Eteraz is an accomplished essayist and has been spotlighted by Time Magazine and Pageturner, the literary blog of The New Yorker.
CANCELLED: Due to the flu, we regret that this event will need to be rescheduled.
Thursday, March 1, 7:30 PM Atherton Union, Reilly Room
Lynda Barry is the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. In 1979 while pursuing a career as a painter, she began drawing a weekly comic strip that incorporated stories considered to be incompatible with comics at the time: stories, as Barry puts it, “that had a lot of trouble in them.” Widely credited with expanding the literary, thematic, and emotional range of American comics, Barry’s ground-breaking weekly strip, Ernie Pook's Comeek, ran for 30 years. Her graphic novel, What It Is, won the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work, and in 2016 she was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame.
Barry has authored seventeen books, worked as a commentator for NPR, and had a regular monthly feature in Esquire, Mother Jones Magazine, and Mademoiselle, and on Salon.com. She created an album-length spoken word collection of stories called, The Lynda Barry Experience, and was a frequent guest on the Late Show with David Letterman.
She also adapted her novel The Good Times Are Killing Me into a long-running off-Broadway play. In 2008, her book One! Hundred! Demons! was required reading for all incoming freshmen at Stanford University. Her novel Cruddy has been translated into French, Italian, German, Catalan, and Hebrew. She is currently at work on an illustrated novel called Mr. Birdis and a documentary in comic book form about industrial scale wind farms in Wisconsin.
Thursday, March 22, 7:30 PM
Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall
Danez Smith is the author of Don't Call Us Dead (2017, Graywolf Press), finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; [insert] Boy (2014, Yes Yes Books), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; and the chapbook Black Movie (2015, Button Poetry). Their work has been featured widely on platforms such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Kinfolks, as well as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Buzzfeed.
Smith is a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, three-time Rustbelt Poetry Slam Champion, and a founding member of the Dark Noise Collective.
Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Foundation and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow.
Tuesday, April 3, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room
Edmund White is America’s preeminent gay writer. In biography, social history, travel writing, journalism, the short story, and the novel, this prolific and versatile author has chronicled the gay experience in the United States from the closeted 1950s through the AIDS crisis and beyond.
His first novel, Forgetting Elena, published in 1973, is the story of an amnesia victim, set at a stylish resort reminiscent of Fire Island. With the classic coming-of-age tale A Boy’s Own Story, White cemented a place for himself—and for gay fiction—in the cultural consciousness. His celebrated fiction also includes Nocturnes for the King of Naples, Caracole, The Beautiful Room Is Empty (winner of the 1988 Lambda Literary Award), The Farewell Symphony, The Married Man, Fanny: A Fiction, Hotel de Dream, and Jack Holmes and His Friend. His latest is Our Young Man.
White has been involved in the gay rights movement since the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969 and has acted as one of its canniest observers. His pioneering The Joy of Gay Sex: An Intimate Guide for Gay Men to the Pleasures of a Gay Lifestyle was published in 1977 and served as a national coming-out announcement for the entire gay community.
White has also made his mark as a highly accomplished biographer. Genet: A Biography is recognized as a definitive work on writer and playwright Jean Genet, and in 1993 it won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lambda Literary Award. He also authored the well-received Marcel Proust and Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel. His memoir Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris recounts the fifteen years he spent living there—one of the most productive and creative phases in his career.
White is a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Book Review, and Vanity Fair, and is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
ANNOUNCING: Billy Collins to replace Louise Glück (Glück cancelled due to illness)
Wednesday, April 18, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room
Billy Collins is an American phenomenon. No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The NewYorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar. His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. The typical Collins poem opens on a clear and hospitable note but soon takes an unexpected turn; poems that begin in irony may end in a moment of lyric surprise. No wonder Collins sees his poetry as “a form of travel writing” and considers humor “a door into the serious.”
Billy Collins has published twelve collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems, Ballistics, Horoscopes for the Dead, and Picnic, Lightning. His book Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems 2003 – 2013 was a New York Times bestseller as is his most recent book of poetry, The Rain in Portugal.
Included among the honors Billy Collins has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hopkins Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize — all awarded by Poetry magazine. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry.
Billy Collins served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003 and was the New York State Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006. He is a former Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York. In 2016 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters.
“Luring his readers into the poem with humor, Mr. Collins leads them unwittingly into deeper, more serious places, a kind of journey from the familiar to quirky to unexpected territory, sometimes tender, often profound.”
— The New York Times