Three authors. Three Thursdays. All free.
Three internationally celebrated writers are coming to campus for this year’s Fall Literary Festival. Poet Solmaz Sharif, nonfiction writer Kerry Egan and graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang will read from their work, talk with audience members and be available to sign copies of their books. They will also work with students in a master class.
The Fall Literary Festival, now in its nineteenth season, is sponsored by the University Libraries and the Department of English. The program brings three major authors to campus over the course of a few weeks. Recent visiting authors include Terrance Hayes, Ron Rash, Lydia Millet, Susan Orlean and Colson Whitehead.
The festival is sponsored by a generous anonymous donor, allowing each program to be free and open to the public. All readings begin at 6 p.m. and are held in the Program Room in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, which is entered through Thomas Cooper Library.
Sharif will read Thursday, Nov. 1.
Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif writes about the ongoing costs of terrorism and war, the aftermath of warfare, and using speech to address the unspeakable. Her work is always inventive in its use of form. Her first poetry collection, LOOK, published by Graywolf Press in 2016, was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. She received a 2016 Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University.
Sharif’s work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Granta and others. Her work has been recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and an NEA fellowship.
Sharif holds degrees from the University of California Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. She is the former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ workshop and a former Stegner Fellow. She is currently a lecturer at Stanford University.
Egan will read Thursday, Nov. 8.
Egan became a contributor to the international conversation about grief and dying after her book, On Living, was published in 2016. A hospice chaplain, Egan is in a unique position to share the life lessons she learns from those preparing to die. She has been featured on PBS and CNN, and her essays have appeared in Parents, American Baby, Reader’s Digest and CNN.com.
Egan grew up in Long Island, New York, and received her B.A. from Washington and Lee University and a Master of Divinity from Harvard University Divinity School. While at Harvard she worked as a nursing-home ombudsman, a chaplain intern at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and a research assistant at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions.
Egan now lives in Columbia, South Carolina.
Yang will read on Thursday, Nov. 15.
Graphic novelist and cartoonist Gene Luen Yang began creating comics and graphic novels more than 15 years ago. In 2006, his acclaimed graphic novel American Born Chinese won several awards, including an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album, one of the highest honors in the industry. It was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award, which recognizes excellence in young adult literature. In 2013, Boxers & Saints, his two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion, was nominated for a National Book Award and won the L.A. Times’ Book Prize.
His other work includes The Shadow Hero; The Eternal Smile, another Eisner award winner, and the continuation of the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. Secret Coders, a graphic novel series for computer nerds ages 8 - 12, combines logic puzzles and basic coding instructions.
In 2016, Yang was named a MacArthur Fellow, and the U.S. Library of Congress named him to a two-year term as Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. He teaches creative writing through Hamline University’s MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.