The Lenoir-Rhyne University Visiting Writers Series returns in September for its 35th season and will host an impressive and engaging variety of authors, poets, artists and more on campus this academic year.
The series, established in 1988, features readings and presentations by authors who have distinguished themselves in literature and often meet with students to discuss the stories behind their works. The series’ mission remains the promotion of literary experiences with contemporary writers meant to engage and educate young people at LR. All events, which take place on the LR campus in Hickory unless otherwise noted, are free and open to the public.
The Campus Read: "What It Is," Lynda Barry
Thursday, September 14, 2023, 7 p.m., P.E. Monroe Auditorium
Lynda Barry is a 2019 MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator and teacher and found that they are very much alike.
Barry is the inimitable creator behind the seminal comic strip that was syndicated across North America in alternative weeklies for two decades, “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” featuring the incomparable Marlys and Freddy. She is the author of “The Freddie Stories,” “One! Hundred! Demons!,” “The! Greatest! of! Marlys!,” “Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel,” “Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies!” and “The Good Times are Killing Me,” which was adapted as an off-Broadway play and won the Washington State Governor’s Award.
She has written four bestselling and acclaimed creative how-to graphic novels for “Drawn & Quarterly”: “What It Is,” which won the Eisner Award for Best Reality Based Graphic Novel and R.R. Donnelly Award for highest literary achievement by a Wisconsin author; “Picture This”; “Syllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor” and “Making Comics.”
Thursday, October 12, 2023, 7 p.m., Grace Chapel
Kaitlin Curtice is an award-winning author, poet-storyteller and public speaker. As an enrolled citizen of the Potawatomi nation, Curtice writes on the intersections of spirituality and identity and how that shifts throughout our lives. She also speaks on these topics to diverse audiences who are interested in truth-telling and healing.
As an inter-spiritual advocate, Curtice participates in conversations on topics such as colonialism in faith communities, and she has spoken at many conferences on the importance of inter-faith relationships. Besides her books, Curtice has written online for Sojourners, Religion News Service, Apartment Therapy, On Being, SELF Magazine, and more. Her work has been featured on CBS and in USA Today.
Thursday, November 9, 2023, 7 p.m., P.E. Monroe Auditorium
N.K. Jemisin is the first author in the genre’s history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugo Awards for her Broken Earth trilogy. Her work has won the Nebula and Locus Awards, and she is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow. The first book in her current Great Cities trilogy, “The City We Became,” is a New York Times bestseller.
Jemisin’s speculative works range from fantasy to science fiction to the undefinable; her themes include resistance to oppression, the inseverability of the liminal and the coolness of Stuff Blowing Up. She’s been an instructor for Clarion and Clarion West writing workshops. She also was formerly the science fiction and fantasy book reviewer at The New York Times. In her spare time, she’s a gamer and gardener, responsible for saving the world from King Ozzymandias, her dangerously intelligent ginger cat, and his destructive sidekick, the Marvelous Master Magpie.
Tuesday, February 13, 2024, 7 p.m., P.E. Monroe Auditorium
Named “the most important and impactful journalist” of 2020 by Poynter, Pulitzer Prize winner Ed Yong is a science staff writer with The Atlantic. He was awarded journalism’s top honor, the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, for his crucial coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. He anticipated the course of virus, the complex challenges that U.S. faced and the government’s disastrous failure in its response.
An accomplished speaker, Yong brings his vast scientific knowledge and engages his audiences through his insightful conversations about the pandemic, the animal kingdom, the challenges of science journalism and more.
Thursday, March 21, 2024, 7 p.m., Grace Chapel
Robert Hass is a poet of great eloquence, clarity and force, whose work is rooted in the landscapes of his native Northern California. Widely read and much honored, he has brought the kind of energy in his poetry to his work as an essayist, translator and activist on behalf of poetry, literacy and the environment.
A two-time MacArthur Genius Fellow, Hass served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995-1997 and as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001-2007. His books of poetry include “The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems” (Ecco Press, 2010); “Time and Materials” (2007), which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; “Sun Under Wood” (Ecco Press, 1996), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; “Human Wishes” (Ecco Press, 1989); “Praise” (Ecco Press, 1979), which won the William Carlos Williams Award;” and “Field Guide” (Yale University Press, 1973). Hass has also written many books of essays and has co-translated many of Polish-American poet Czesław Miłosz’s works with the author.
The Little Read: “We Are Water Protectors,” Michaela Goade
Thursday - Saturday, April 18-20, 2024, Time TBD, P.E. Monroe Auditorium
Michaela Goade is a Caldecott Medalist and #1 New York Times Bestselling illustrator of “We Are Water Protectors,” also a 2020 Kirkus Prize Finalist. Other books include the New York Times Bestselling “I Sang You Down from the Stars,” “Encounter” and “Shanyaak’utlaax: Salmon Boy,” winner of the 2018 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Picture Book.
Over the last few years, Goade’s work has focused on Indigenous KidLit. She is honored to work with Indigenous authors and tribal organizations in the creation of beautiful and much-needed books. An enrolled member of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Goude’s Tlingit name is Sheit.een and she is of the Kiks.ádi Clan (Raven/Frog) from Sheet’ká. Goade was raised in the rainforest and on the beaches of Southeast Alaska, traditional Lingít Aaní (Tlingit land). Today she lives in Sheet’ká (Sitka), Alaska, a magical island on the edge of a wide, wild sea.