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Literary Arts

The English Department annually sponsors and co-sponsors significant contemporary writers and scholars, often winners of Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur "genius grants," National Book Awards and various other honors. All writers brought to campus work with students personally; all public presentations are free. For more information, please email Kathy Barton at or call 704-894-2254.

Key: 900 Room = C. Shaw Smith 900 Room, Alvarez College Union; BT = Barber Theatre, Cunningham Fine Arts Center; CI = Carolina Inn; DFPH = Duke Family Performance Hall, Knobloch Campus Center; TTH = Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center

Upcoming Events 2017-18

Headshot of Kazim Ali

A Staged Reading of The Secret Room: A String Quartet by Kazim Ali

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 • 7 p.m. • BT

Kazim Ali, 2017 McGee Professor of Creative Writing, is the author of four books of poetry, including Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, the cross-genre text Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities, two books of essays, translations from the Arabic and French, and two novels, including Quinn's Passage. Ryan Rotella '17 is an English and Theatre major from Knoxville, Tennessee. Ryan is thrilled to be a part of this staged literary production, as it is the marriage of two great Davidson loves: his invaluable English major and passion for Theatre. Sponsored by the English Department and the Theatre Department.

Free and open to the public.

Headshot of Dr. Laurence Senelick

A Dragon for All Seasons: On Evgeny Shvarts's The Dragon, Dr. Laurence Senelick

Thursday, September 28, 2017 • 7 p.m. • TTH

Laurence Senelick is Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University. An expert in Russian theatre and drama, he has published more than twenty-five books and translated numerous plays, including Evgeny Shvarts's The Dragon, which will be staged by the Davidson College Theatre department this October. His many grants and awards include being honored by the American Society of Theatre Research, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Sponsored by the Dean Rusk International Studies Program/Bank of America Lecture Series.

Free and open to the public.

Headshots of Andrea Applebee and Sarah Perry

Davidson Reads: Andrea Applebee and Sarah Perry

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 • 5 p.m. • CI

Andrea Applebee '06 is a poet, editor and art critic based in Athens, Greece. She received an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. Her first book of poetry, Aletheia, is forthcoming from Black Square Editions. Sarah Perry '04 holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction from Columbia University, where she served as publisher of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. A recipient of a Writers' Fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and a Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, she has attended residencies at Norton Island in Maine and PLAYA in Oregon. Her memoir, After the Eclipse, will be published in September. Sponsored by the English Department.

Free and open to the public.

George Saunders at a table

Conarroe Lecture: George Saunders

Monday, February 12, 2018 • 8 p.m.  DFPH 

George Saunders is the recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship ("Genius" Award), George Saunders is the author of four collections of short stories, a novella, a book of essays, and an award-winning children's book. His most recent collection is Tenth of December (Random House, 2013), finalist for the National Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Story Prize for short fiction and the 2014 Folio Prize, which celebrates the best fiction of our time.

Free, but tickets are required and will be available soon.

Author Photo: Bestselling Author Colson Whitehead

Reynolds Lecture: "Revisiting the Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 • 7 p.m. • DFPH

Colson Whitehead is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the recipient of both a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Colson Whitehead's latest novel, The Underground Railroad, is the winner of both the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Sponsored by The Public Lectures Committee.

Free, but tickets are required and will be available soon.

Headshot of Clint Smith

Reading: Poetry Reading by Clint Smith

Thursday, April 5, 2018 • 7:30 p.m. • 900 Room

Clint Smith '10 is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and the National Science Foundation. He is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion and his writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the New Republic, the American Poetry Review and elsewhere. He is the author of Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He was born and raised in New Orleans.

Free and open to the public.

Past Events 2017-18

Painting Lenin After Lenin, Molly Brunson

Molly Brunson is an associate professor in Slavic Languages and Literatures and History of Art at Yale University. The lecture was organized in conjunction with the Lenin Lives exhibition at the Van Every/Smith Galleries.