Returning on Sept. 20 for the fall semester is the Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series (VWS). The kickoff will begin with Hope College alumna Emily Henry (’12), who published her first novel “The Love That Split the World.” Since graduating from Hope, where she studied creative writing and dance, Henry completed a writing residency at the now closed New York Center for Art & Media Studies. As a full time writer and proofreader, Henry spends a lot of time working with her craft, which can be found in editions of “The Hair pin and The Toast.”
“We try to have a Hope alumnus most years. It’s worked out pretty well the last few years,” Pablo Peschiera, director of VWS, said.
A month later, Oct. 20, Brian Barker and Nicky Beer will be on campus. Barker is the author of “The Animal Gospels” and “The Black Ocean.” He has won the Crab Orchard Open Competition, and has been awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize and the 2009 Campbell Corner Poetry Prize. Much of his work, including reviews, interviews and poetry have appeared in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, The Writer’s Chronicle, The Washington Post, Blackbird and Pleiades.
Beer is the author of “The Octopus Game,” which won the 2016 Colorado Book Award for Poetry, and “The Diminishing House” won the 2011 Colorado Book Award for Poetry. Her other awards include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a fellowship and a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a Mary Wood Fellowship from Washington College, a Discovery/The Nation Award and a Campbell Corner Prize.
Both authors will have a Q & A session at 3:30 p.m. in Fried-Hemenway Auditorium and a reading at 7 p.m. in the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts.
This fall, the Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series will also be partnering with The Big Read to bring novelist Edwidge Danticat to campus. Danticat is the author of 15 books, with titles including “Brother, I’m Dying,” winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and National Book Award finalist, “Krik? Krak!,” a National Book Award finalist and “The Farming of Bones,” American Book Award winner. The author’s Haitian heritage shines through her literary work, making her a powerful advocate.
Danticat will be at the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts on Nov. 15, from 10-12 p.m. to give her Big Read Address to students, faculty and community members. Later, from 7-9 p.m., she will be in Dimnent Chapel to give her Big Read keynote address.
Many faculty members at Hope have incorporated Danticat into their course plans, while also encouraging their students to visit the Jack Ridl Visting Writers Series and The Big Read.