LitFest 2013 welcomes established and student writers March 20-23

AStock photo of stacked library booksStudent writers from the Greenhill School, Hockaday, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Yavneh Academy, and Texans CAN Academy will read their works to open SMU’s 2013 Literary Festival on Wednesday, March 20.

The Wordspace Student Readings, culminating in the 2013 Tale of One City Awards for outstanding high school writers, will begin at 6:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

The Department of English in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences presents the annual celebration of writing and writers, which runs through Saturday, March 23. The four-day festival includes author readings, receptions, student conferences and book signings. All events are free and open to the public.

Since the early eighties, LitFest has featured writers such as John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Walker, Norman Mailer, Robert Pinsky and Jill McCorkle. For 2013, the line-up includes:

  • Camille Dungy is author of the poetry collections Smith Blue (winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize), Suck on the Marrow and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison.
  • Vievee Francis has been published in CallalooMargieCrab Orchard Review and Detroit’s Metro Times. She is the author of Blue-Tail Fly, a Callaloo Workshop participant and Cave Canem Fellow.
  • Alix Ohlin is the author of InsideSigns and WondersThe Missing Person and Babylon and Other Stories. Her work has appeared in Best American Short StoriesBest New American Voices, and on public radio’s Selected Shorts.
  • Matt Olzmann’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon ReviewNew England ReviewSalt HillMargie and other journals. He is a Kundiman Fellow and a writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Literary Arts Project.
  • Alan Michael Parker has received awards and fellowships including three Pushcart Prizes, the Fineline Prize from the Mid-American Review, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His novel, Whale Man, was a finalist for the 2011 ForeWord Reviews’s “Book of the Year Award” in the category of Literary Fiction.
  • Natalie Serber, recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, Tobias Wolff Award, and H.E. Francis Award, has been short-listed in Best American Short Stories. Her latest book is Shout Her Lovely Name, a collection of stories about the relationships between mothers and daughters.
  • Tatjana Soli’s first and second novels, The Lotus Eaters and The Forgetting Tree, have won awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, New York Times Notable Book 2010, ALA 2011 Notable Book, LA Times Book Award Finalist, Kirkus Reviews Top Debut Fiction, and Bookmarks Magazine Best Literary Fiction.
  • Debra Spark, author of the novels Coconuts for the Saint, The Ghost of Bridgetown and Good for the Jews, edited the best-selling anthology Twenty Under Thirty: Best Stories by America’s New Young Writers. Her newest book is The Pretty Girl, a collection of stories about art and deception.

For more information and the schedule of events, visit the official SMU LitFest blog at