4 episodes

Building on a long tradition of inviting distinguished writers to campus to read their works, teach, and talk with students, the Writers’ Festival began in the spring of 1972 with May Sarton as the headliner. A statewide writing contest for colleges and universities in poetry and fiction was the centerpiece of the event: the finalists’ works were published in the festival magazine, and the visiting writers selected the prizewinners in each genre. Readings and workshops with the visiting writers rounded out the program, which was open to the public as well as to the campus community.

Today, the festival maintains these founding traditions along with some new features: creative nonfiction and dramatic writing were added to the contest in the 1990s, an alumna writer is on the program almost every year, and starting in 2010, one of the visiting writers comes to campus for a week or two preceding the festival to teach a course for Agnes Scott creative writers.

From Eudora Welty, Reynolds Price, Richard Wilbur, and Margaret Atwood in the early days, to Rita Dove, Jane Smiley, Tim O’Brien, John Updike, Anita Desai, and Junot Diaz in more recent times, the festival has brought great writers to the college to inspire and challenge our students and our audiences. A link on the left of this page will take you to a complete list of festival guests.

42nd Annual Writers' Festival Agnes Scott College

    • Arts

Building on a long tradition of inviting distinguished writers to campus to read their works, teach, and talk with students, the Writers’ Festival began in the spring of 1972 with May Sarton as the headliner. A statewide writing contest for colleges and universities in poetry and fiction was the centerpiece of the event: the finalists’ works were published in the festival magazine, and the visiting writers selected the prizewinners in each genre. Readings and workshops with the visiting writers rounded out the program, which was open to the public as well as to the campus community.

Today, the festival maintains these founding traditions along with some new features: creative nonfiction and dramatic writing were added to the contest in the 1990s, an alumna writer is on the program almost every year, and starting in 2010, one of the visiting writers comes to campus for a week or two preceding the festival to teach a course for Agnes Scott creative writers.

From Eudora Welty, Reynolds Price, Richard Wilbur, and Margaret Atwood in the early days, to Rita Dove, Jane Smiley, Tim O’Brien, John Updike, Anita Desai, and Junot Diaz in more recent times, the festival has brought great writers to the college to inspire and challenge our students and our audiences. A link on the left of this page will take you to a complete list of festival guests.

    • video
    Writers' Festival 2013 - Q & A Panel with Guest Authors

    Writers' Festival 2013 - Q & A Panel with Guest Authors

    Three distinguished authors will be on campus April 4-5, 2013 for Agnes Scott College’s 42nd Annual Writers’ Festival, the oldest continuous literary event in Georgia. The 2013 visiting authors are Gish Jen, award-winning novelist; Cristina Garcia, a Cuban-American novelist and poet and National Book Award finalist; and Agnes Scott alumna Anjail Ahmad, a poet, teacher and activist.

    • 54 min
    • video
    Cristina Garcia

    Cristina Garcia

    García is the author of five novels: Dreaming in Cuban, The Agüero Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck and The Lady Matador’s Hotel. García has edited two anthologies, Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature and Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature. Two works for young readers, The Dog Who Loved the Moon and I Wanna Be Your Shoebox were published in 2008. A collection of poetry, The Lesser Tragedy of Death, was published in 2010. Her recent young adult novel, Dreams of Significant Girls, is set in a Swiss boarding school in the 1970s.
    Garcia’s forthcoming novel, to be published in May 2013, is King of Cuba, a darkly comic novel featuring a fictionalized Fidel Castro, an octogenarian Miami exile and a rabble of Cuban voices.
    García’s work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA grant, among others. Recently, Garcia was a Visiting Professor at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin and teaches at Texas Tech University most spring semesters. This past fall, Garcia was a Visiting Professor at the University of Miami and is currently University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos.

    • 53 min
    • video
    Gish Jen

    Gish Jen

    Chinese-American novelist Gish Jen is the author of numerous award-winning books, including the novels World and Town, Mona In the Promised Land, The Love Wife and Typical American, and the collection of stories, Who's Irish?. World and Town (2011), which follows themes as ambitious as globalization, fundamentalism, immigration, and America in the aftermath of Sept. 11, won the Massachusetts Book Award, was a NY Times Editors’ Choice, and was a finalist for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Typical American was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Tiger Writing: Art, Culture and the Interdependent Self, a collection of her Massey Lectures at Harvard, will be published by Harvard University Press in 2013.

    Jen has become an authority on themes of identity in fiction. Her novels often portray individuals, families, and entire communities struggling with questions of race, religion, and upbringing—asking us, in short, what it means to identify as American. Her second novel, Mona in the Promised Land (Vintage, 1997), features a Chinese-American who converts to Judaism, while The Love Wife (2005) portrays an interracial Asian-American family with both biological and adopted children. "As soon as you ask yourself the question, 'What does it mean to be Irish-American, Iranian-American, Greek-American,' you are American," she has said.
    A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jen is also the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim foundation, Radcliffe Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was awarded a Lannan Literary Award in Fiction in 1999 as well as the Mildred and Harold Strauss Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    • video
    Anjail Rashida Ahmad '92

    Anjail Rashida Ahmad '92

    Ahmad is associate professor of English and director of creative writing at North Carolina A & T University. She graduated from Agnes Scott in English and Creative Writing in 1992 and received an MFA from New York University in 1994 and a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri- Columbia in 2003.

    Her publications include two volumes of poetry, necessary kindling (2001) and the color of memory (1997). Her poems have also appeared in The Black Scholar, African American Review, All That Jazz, Ikon, Midlands, O'Henry Magazine, PLUCK, Obsidian III, Estuary Journal and other journals. Her current work includes two new volumes, when i was your angel (poetry and prose) and at the edge of the dusky world: poems of witness, which explores poetry, music, and blindness. She has won the Margaret Walker Alexander Award for Poetry of the College Language Association and has been awarded residencies at the Headland Center for the Arts and Wildacres Retreat.

    • 1 hr 32 min

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