Spalding’s Week-long Literary Festival Begins Saturday

A series of readings by authors affiliated with Spalding University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program begins Saturday. The university’s bi-annual Festival of Contemporary Writing is the state’s largest reading series and is an integral part of Spalding’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program residency, which the university hosts every spring and fall. This year’s festival runs through May 25.

(Disclosure: I am a 2004 graduate of Spalding’s MFA program.)

On Thursday, special guest Tim O’Brien will read and sign books. O’Brien is the acclaimed author of “The Things They Carried,” a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories based on his experiences in the Vietnam War. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and in 2005, The New York Times named it one of the 20 best books of the last 25 years. 

Twenty-five faculty members and 14 alumni will also read from their recently published works, including short stories, memoirs, poems, screenplays and children’s books. Faculty authors include Lesléa Newman, author of the novel in verse “October Morning: A Song for Matthew Shepard,” and Rebecca Walker, author of the memoir “Black, White, and Jewish.” On Sunday, the university celebrates new work by faculty with a panel of readings moderated by novelist and program director Sena Jeter Naslund. Included in the celebration is fiction faculty member Elaine Orr, who will read from her new book, “A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa.” A book signing follows the reading. 

Here’s a full list of authors and books in the festival: 

Saturday, May 18 

Brown Hotel, 16th floor Gallery

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

• Larry Brenner (dramatic writing), “Saving Throw Versus Love,” “Bethlehem”

• Rachel Harper (fiction), “Brass Ankle Blues”

• Roy Hoffman (creative nonfiction), “Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations”

• Shane McCrae (poetry), “Blood”

• Kirby Gann (fiction), “Ghosting”

• Charlie Schulman (dramatic writing), “The Fartiste,” “Frankenswine”

Sunday, May 19

Celebration of Recently Published Books by Faculty

Brown Hotel, 16th floor Gallery

5:15-6:30 p.m.

• Eric Schmiedl (playwriting), “The Kardiac Kid”

• Elaine Orr (fiction), “A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa

• Gabriel Dean (playwriting), “The Transition of Doodle Pequeño”

• David-Matthew Barnes (playwriting; writing for children & young adults), “Relocations,” “Wonderland”

Introductions by Sena Jeter Naslund. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore.

Monday, May 20

Spalding University, Egan Leadership Center Lectorium

901 S. Fourth St.

6:15-7:15 p.m.

• Lesléa Newman (writing for children and young adults), “A Sweet Passover”

• Rebecca Walker (creative nonfiction), “Black, White, and Jewish”

• Robin Lippincott (fiction), “In the Meantime”

• Susan Campbell Bartoletti (writing for children & young adults), “Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose, 1871”

• Kathleen Driskell (poetry), “Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem”

Wednesday, May 22

Spalding University, Egan Leadership Center Lectorium

901 S. Fourth St.

7:00-8:00 p.m.

• Sam Zalutsky (screenwriting), “You Belong to Me”

• Mary Clyde (fiction), “Survival Rates”

• K.L. Cook (fiction), “Love Songs for the Quarantined”

• Greg Pape (poetry), “Four Swans”

• Sena Jeter Naslund (fiction), “Adam & Eve”

Thursday, May 23

Brown Hotel, 16th floor Gallery

5:15-6:15 p.m.

• Leslie Daniels (fiction), “Cleaning Nabokov’s House”

• Pete Duval (fiction), “Rear View: Stories”

• Maureen Morehead (poetry), “Late August Blues: The Daylily Poems”

• John Pipkin (fiction), “Woodsburner”

• Helena Kriel (screenwriting), “Skin”

Thursday, May 23

Brown Hotel, 16th floor Gallery

6:30-7:30 p.m. 

The Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence: Tim O’Brien, author of “The Things They Carried.” Welcome and introduction by Sena Jeter Naslund. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore.

Friday, May 24

Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni

Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation

4:45-6:00 p.m.

• Chris Mattingly (’10), “Scuffletown”

• Sandi Hutcheson (’12), “Looks Great Naked” (published as Grace Adams)

• Charlotte Rains Dixon (’03), “Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior”

• David Harrity (’07), “Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand”

• Brittany K Fonte (’07), “Fighting Gravity”

• Ann Eskridge (’08), “The Raven”

• Loreen Niewenhuis (’09), “A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk”

Saturday, May 25

MFA Alumni Reading

Spalding University, Egan Leadership Center Lectorium

901 S. Fourth St.

3:00-4:00 p.m.

Alumni read from works in progress. 

• Barry George (’09), Wrecking Ball and Other Urban Haiku

• Marjetta Geerling (’11), Fancy White Trash

• Dan Nowak (’07), Of a Bed Frame

• Katerina Stoykova-Klemer (’09), The Porcupine of Mind

• Terry Price (’06), Alumni Association Director

• Ellyn Lichvar (’07), MFA staff

• Gayle Hanratty (’06), MFA staff

Comments