Acclaimed authors Bernice L. McFadden and Tyehimba Jess to read at SMU’s 2016 Kimbilio Litfest Thursday, Oct. 13

David Haynes

Acclaimed authors Bernice L. McFadden and Tyehimba Jess to read at SMU’s 2016 Kimbilio Litfest Thursday, Oct. 13

Kimbilio Fiction logoLiterature fans and aspiring authors at SMU and throughout North Texas have an opportunity to meet and read with acclaimed writers Bernice L. McFadden and Tyehimba Jess at SMU’s second annual Kimbilio Litfest.

The group will meet Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. A reception will be held at 6 p.m., with readings scheduled from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Professor of English and Creative Writing Director David Haynes started the Kimbilio project in 2012 as a writers’ retreat at SMU-in-Taos. Kimbilio, which means “safe haven” in Swahili, is “a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora and their stories,” according to its mission statement.

> Learn more about Kimbilio at kimbiliofiction.com

This year’s guest authors:

Bernice L. McFaddenBernice L. McFadden is the author of nine critically acclaimed novels including Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters (a New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of the 100 Notable Books of 2012), and Glorious, which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a three-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of three awards from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). She lives in Brooklyn, New York. McFadden will read from hter latest novel, The Book of Harlan.

Visit Bernice L. McFadden’s personal homepage: bernicemcfadden.com

Tyehimba JessTyehimba Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU alumnus, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and was a 2004-05 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. His first book of poetry, leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” His other honors include a 2000-01 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. Olio, his second collection, was published by Wave Books in April 2016.

Visit Tyehimba Jess’ personal homepage: tyehimbajess.net

> Visit SMU’s Department of English online: smu.edu/english

October 13, 2016|Calendar Highlights, Faculty in the News, News|

2015 Kimbilio Litfest will introduce African-American fiction writers’ organization to SMU Thursday, Oct. 15

Kimbilio Fiction logoLiterature fans and aspiring authors in SMU’s Dallas neighborhood have an opportunity to get acquainted with an African-American fiction writer’s group, founded by a University faculty member, that hosts an annual retreat at SMU-in-Taos.

The inaugural Kimbilio Litfest tour stops on the main campus from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in 131 Dedman Life Sciences Building. The event is sponsored by the SMU Department of English.

2015 Kimbilio Litfest banner

“This is our first opportunity to introduce Kimbilio to Texas,” says Professor of English and Creative Writing Director David Haynes, who started Kimbilio in 2012. “These are some really extraordinary writers and readers, and we’re really excited to present this emerging national organization to Dallas and the SMU community.”

> Learn more about Kimbilio at kimbiliofiction.com

October’s guest authors include these literary lights:

  • Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of two books and one poetry collection. Jailed at a young age, Betts spent his late teen years in solitary confinement. While in prison, he corresponded with any poet who would write him back. Once released, he earned an undergraduate degree from Maryland and then a Masters degree in writing from Warren Wilson College. He’s now in his third year at Yale Law. [More about Reginald Dwayne Betts at the Poetry Foundation]
  • Sanderia Faye is a Kimbilio Fellow and author of Mourner’s Bench (University of Arkansas Press, September 2015). Her work has appeared in various literary journals and in Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas. Faye is also a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas-Dallas. [Sanderia Faye at sanderiafaye.com]
  • Ravi Howard is the author of two novels, Driving the King (Harper, 2015) and Like Trees, Walking (Amistad, 2007), which received the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. Howard has recorded commentary for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Massachusetts Review, and Salon. [Ravi Howard on Facebook: Ravi.Howard]
  • LaToya Watkins is a Kimbilio Fellow who has has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and Kimbilio Fiction. Her stories have appeared in online and print publications including Joyland Magazine, Lunch Ticket: Antioch, Los Angeles, Kweli Journal, Ruminate Magazine and Potomac Review. Most recently, she was awarded a 2015 Pushcart Prize for short fiction. [LaToya Watkins on Twitter: @LaToyaSWatkins]
  • Rosalyn Story is a Dallas resident, Kimbilio Fellow, classical violinist, journalist and author of both fiction and nonfiction. A member of the violin section of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, she divides her time between performing and writing magazine and journal articles on the visual and performing arts. She has also penned three books – including Wading Home, which was adapted as an opera through a collaboration between SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and the cities of Dallas and New Orleans. [More about Rosalyn Story at GoodReads.com]

Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s Department of English online: smu.edu/english

October 8, 2015|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News, Save the Date|

New and notable authors to visit SMU LitFest 2015, March 19-21

SMU’s LitFest 2015 will feature an array of readings, receptions and book signings celebrating the creative work of poets, novelists and students from Thursday, March 19, through Sunday, March 21.

Pen in HandSponsored by SMU’s Department of English, most festival events will be free and open to the public.

> Find a complete SMU LitFest schedule

The annual festival “has an excellent record of bringing in rising literary stars,” says Dallas Morning News books editor Michael Merschel in a March 5 story about the popular event, which since the 1980s has featured such notable writers as John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Walker, Norman Mailer and Jill McCorkle.

“I’m particularly excited this year that, first, we’re expanding our offerings to include writers of creative nonfiction and also that this year our guests include so many writers who are working on multiple genres,” SMU Creative Writing Director David Haynes told Merschel. “It’s a genuinely versatile group of writers. And a quite diverse one, too.”

Visiting authors include:

Jeffrey Renard Allen: Author of two collections of poetry and two works of fiction including the celebrated novel,Rails Under My Back, winner of The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction.

Jericho Brown: His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New Republic and The Best American Poetry. He is an assistant professor of poetry at Emory University.

Liam Callanan: Author of two critically acclaimed novels, All Saints and The Cloud Atlas, his new book, Listen & Other Stories, will be released in April. Callanan teaches in the English department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Elizabeth T. Gray Jr.: Her poetry has appeared in such publications as Harvard Review, Poetry International andBest New Poets of 2012. Gray also translates classical and contemporary Persian poetry.

Joe Milazzo: Author of the novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie and a forthcoming volume of poetry, The Habiliments, his writings have appeared in Black Clock, Black Warrior Review and The Collagist. He is editor of the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing].

R. Flowers Rivera: Her work has been published in such journals as African American Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Columbia and Feminist Studies. Her short story “The Iron Bars” has received numerous accolades.

Alan Shapiro: Author of 12 books of poetry (including the National Book Award finalist Night of the Republic), four books of prose, and two translations with Oxford University Press. His many awards include The Kingsley Tufts Award, LA Times Book Prize and a Guggenheim.

Peter Turchi: Author of five books of fiction and nonfiction and co-editor of three writing anthologies, Turchi has been called by The Houston Chronicle, “one of the foremost thinkers on the art of writing.”

Written by Ariel Monticure and Denise Gee

March 19, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News|

Prize-winning authors visit for 2012 SMU LitFest

The SMU Literary Festival, an annual event celebrating good writing, will feature readings by prize-winning authors, as well as receptions, student conferences and book signings. Sponsored by the Department of English in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, LitFest 2012 author readings will take place Thursday, March 22 through Saturday, March 24. All events are free and open to the public.

“We are beyond pleased at the level of talent in our lineup this year,” said David Haynes, head of the University’s Creative Writing Program. “This is an incredible opportunity for our students and the extended SMU community.”

Author readings will be held in the Texana Room of SMU’s DeGolyer Library. For more information and the schedule of events, visit the SMU LitFest website.

A look at this year’s featured writers:

  • Dean Bakopoulos is the author of two novels, Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon (2005) and My American Unhappiness (2011), both published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts award, and is currently a visiting professor of fiction at Grinnell College in Iowa.
  • Shannon Cain’s debut story collection, The Necessity of Certain Behaviors, is the winner of the 2011 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Her stories have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, the O. Henry Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Eduardo Corral‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Black Warrior Review, Huizache, Indiana Review, The Journal, Jubilat, New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Post Road, Quarterly West, Salt Hill and Witness. His work has been honored with a “Discovery”/The Nation award and a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarship,
  • Amina Gautier is the winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for her short story collection At-Risk (University of Georgia Press). Seventy of Gautier’s stories have been published, appearing in Best African American Fiction, Callaloo, Chattahoochee Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, North American Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Review.
  • Tyehimba Jess’ first book of poetry, leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” He received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and was a 2004-5 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.
  • Krys Lee is the author of recently published Drifting House. Her short stories and articles have been published or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, Narrative MagazineCalifornia QuarterlyAsia Weekly and Conde Nast, UK.
  • Corey Marks, editor of American Literary Review, is author of Renunciation, a National Poetry Series selection, and The Radio Tree, a Green Rose Prize winner. His poems have appeared in New England Review, Ploughshares, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, and The Virginia Quarterly Review.
  • Martha Rhodes is the author of four poetry collections: At the GatePerfect Disappearance (winner of the Green Rose Prize), Mother Quiet, and The Beds. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

> Visit the SMU LitFest homepage

March 22, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Students, authors gather at SMU’s 2009 LitFest

Five authors will share their work and their perspectives on the writing process with the SMU community during the University’s 2009 Literary Festival, scheduled for April 16-17 in Dallas Hall and DeGolyer Library.

This year’s guests were chosen by Creative Writing Director David Haynes and Visiting Assistant Professor Jennifer Key, both of the Department of English in Dedman College. They include:

Scott BlackwoodScott Blackwood (top right), author of We Agreed to Meet Just Here, which won the 2007 AWP Award for the Novel. His award-winning collection of stories, In the Shadow of Our House, was published by SMU Press in 2001.

Melissa Kirsch (middle right), author of The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything (Workman, 2007), now in its 4th printing. She writes for such publications as New York, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic Traveler, Scientific American and The Huffington Post, as well as her own website.

Melissa KirschMichael Narducci, whose short fiction has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Gadfly Magazine, Meridian and The Texas Review. He also works as a television and film writer and has written for the science fiction series “The 4400” as well as the NBC drama “Medium.”

April Wilder, Vice-Presidential Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Utah, whose fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, McSweeney’s, Guernica and other publications. Currently, she is working on a novel, I Think About You All The Time, Starting Tomorrow.

Tracy WinnTracy Winn (bottom right), whose short stories have appeared in journals such as the Alaska Quarterly Review, The New Orleans Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. Mrs. Somebody Somebody is her debut collection of stories, published by SMU Press in April 2009.

The 2009 LitFest is organized around events that will provide plenty of opportunity for students and authors to interact, says LitFest coordinator Ben Painter, a senior English major and political science minor in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Three LitFest authors – Kirsch, Narducci and Wilder – will meet one-on-one with students throughout the festival.

“The authors have given us a great deal of their time outside of the festival’s scheduled events,” says Painter. “Students already are signing up for these meetings and e-mailing stories to get the writers’ input.”

Painter is also co-founder of the student organization SMU Writers’ Group. In addition to providing support for the University’s student writing community, “one of our main goals is to re-establish LitFest at SMU as one of the premier literary festivals in the nation,” he says.

The SMU Literary Festival is free and open to University students, faculty and staff. For a complete schedule, visit the SMU LitFest homepage.

April 14, 2009|Calendar Highlights, News|
Load More Posts