The English department hosts The Visiting Writers Series. Photo courtesy of butler.edu.
ERIKA KOVACH | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Delbrook Visiting Writers Series returns to campus on Sept. 20, where authors will host public readings and Q&A sessions open to all students across campus. Featured authors during the fall semester include Jaquira Díaz, Matthew Zapruder, Dantiel Moniz, Lauren Redniss and Lydia Millet.
The series, coordinated by the English department, began on campus in 1988 and has been hosted for more than 30 years. Adriana Jones, administrative specialist of the English department and day-to-day coordinator of the events, said that the program is considered one of the longest-running of its kind.
“We’re very respected in the industry, which helps greatly when I have to reach out to agents to inquire about booking authors,” Jones said.
The Visiting Writers Series website states that they have “regularly hosted public readings and Q&A sessions with some of the most influential people in contemporary literature.” In the past, Butler has hosted notable authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Margret Atwood, Toni Morrison, John Green and Ray Bradbury.
Jones said that typically, each author will give a reading of their work, followed by a book signing and Q&A. In the past, visiting authors have also been introduced by students, as well as worked with undergraduate and graduate classes where their works have been studied.
In addition to the public readings and events, faculty members who host each author often select English students to go out to a casual dinner with the author prior to their events.
Jason Goldsmith, an English professor who was previously program manager, said that one of his favorite parts of the position was working as a faculty host.
“Eating dinner, seeing how authors interact with the students, [while] expressing genuineness in what the student is doing in the classroom, in the world … it was just really cool,” Goldsmith said.
Senior English major Madi Foley learned about the Visiting Writers Series when she first began touring Butler and has made an effort to attend many of the program’s events over her time on campus.
“As for this year, I’m looking forward to attending Jaquira Díaz’s reading [on Sept. 20],” Foley said. “I read some of her work in one of my nonfiction classes in the past, and I am excited to hear her read in person.”
Foley said that in attending the events of the Visiting Writers Series, she has also been able to interview several of the authors for Butler’s literary magazine Manuscripts.
“I wish that other people, students primarily, took advantage of these events more often,” Foley said. “I think a common misconception about the program is that the events are only worth going to if you are familiar with the author’s work or have a particular interest in writing, [but] some of the most interesting and insightful speakers have been writers that I hadn’t heard of beforehand.”
A schedule of events and authors for the fall semester can be found on the Visiting Writers Series website.