Writers Series

2023-2024 Writers Series 2023-2024 Writers Series

Sweet Briar College has hosted a Writers Series for more than thirty years, welcoming distinguished authors from across the country — and throughout the world — to our campus. Students interact with these writers at readings, in small group discussions, and at informal dinners.

Among the writers who have visited the SBC campus through the years are Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, including Maya Angelou, Salman Rushdie, Natasha Trethewey, Ha Jin, Derek Walcott, Alice Walker, Naomi Shihab Nye, Nuruddin Farah, Rebecca Skloot, Hanna al-Shaykh, Philip Levine, Donald Justice, and Yiyiun Li.

A reading by Kristina R. Gaddy, author of Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo’s Hidden History and Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis. She is a Baltimore-based writer and fiddler and has received the Parsons Award from the Library of Congress, Logan Nonfiction Fellowship and a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Rubys artist award. She holds an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Goucher College and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Baltimore Magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore Sun, Narratively, Proximity, Atlas Obscura, OZY, Shore Monthly and other smaller history and music publications.

An evening with writer Leslie Jamison. Leslie Jamison is the author of the essay collections “The Empathy Exams,” a New York Times bestseller, and “Make It Scream, Make it Burn,” the memoir “The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath,” and the novel “The Gin Closet,” a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and the Oxford American, among other publications; she is a columnist for the New York Times Book Review and teaches at Columbia University, where she directs the nonfiction concentration.

Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan

A reading by poet Edgar Kunz.

Edgar Kunz is the author of the poetry collections Fixer (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2023) and Tap Out (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2019), a New York Times New & Noteworthy pick. He has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, a Teaching Fellow at Vanderbilt University, and a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. New poems appear in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, POETRY, American Poetry Review, and Oxford American. He lives in Baltimore and teaches at Goucher College.

Chloé Cooper Jones is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. In 2020, Chloé was a
Pulitzer Prize finalist in Feature Writing for ”Fearing for His Life,” a profile of Ramsey Orta, the man
who filmed the killing of Eric Garner. She was the recipient of the 2020 Whiting Creative Nonfiction
Grantand the 2021 Howard Foundation Grant from Brown University. Both grants are in support of her
forthcoming book Easy Beauty, a memoir which finds the author—after unexpectedly becoming a
mother—embarking on a journey across the globe to reclaim the spaces, both physical and emotional, that
she’d been denied and denied herself. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

A reading by poet and novelist Lisa Russ Spaar.

Lisa Russ Spaar is the author of a novel, Paradise Close (Persea, 2022); six acclaimed collections of poetry, including Madrigalia: New & Selected Poems (Persea, 2021), Orexia (Persea, 2017), Vanitas, Rough (Persea, 2013), Satin Cash (Persea, 2008), Blue Venus (Persea, 2004), and Glass Town (Red Hen Press, 1999); and two poetry chapbooks, Blind Boy on Skates (1986) and Cellar (1983).She is also the author of The Hide-and-Seek Muse: Annotations of Contemporary Poetry (Drunken Boat Media, 2013), a collection of poetry history and criticism, and she was a 2014 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. She has edited four poetry anthologies, including More Truly and More Strange: 100 Contemporary American Self-Portrait Poems (Persea, 2020), Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poets on Jefferson (University of Virginia Press, 2016), All That Might Heart: London Poems (University of Virginia Press, 2008), and Acquainted with the Night: Insomnia Poems (Columbia University Press, 1999). Spaar has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Library of Virginia Award for Poetry, and a Rona Jaffe Award, among other honors and awards. She is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, where for many years she directed the MFA program.