Kenyon Review Reading Series 2019-20

All events sponsored in whole or in part by the Kenyon Review, the Kenyon College English Department, GLCA New Writers Award, Ohio Arts Council, and the KR Associates Program.

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Spring 2020

Due to the emergence of COVID-19, many of this spring’s Kenyon Review Reading Series events are now VIRTUAL. See below for links to our scheduled events, and purchase books written by our virtual reading series authors in our KR Bookshop. We hope you’ll join us.

Although these readings are free and open to the public, we hope you will consider making a donation. With your support, we’ll continue to provide programming that celebrates the most exciting voices in literature from ever more diverse, ever more talented communities of authors.

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Previous Readings

Fall 2019

September 4th

“Writers for Migrant Justice” Reading featuring Kenyon College’s new creative writing faculty: Molly McCully Brown, Keija Parssinen, Ira Sukrungruang, & Orchid Tierney
4:30 p.m., Brandi Recital Hall, Storer Hall

In connection with the national “Writers for Migrant Justice” fundraising events to support the work of Immigrant Families Together (IFT), the Kenyon Review and the Kenyon College English Department are hosting a reading with our new creative writing faculty members Molly McCully Brown, Keija Parssinen, Ira Sukrungruang and Orchid Tierney.

Immigrant Families Together (IFT) was founded in June 2018 in response to the immigration policy separating families at the U.S./Mexico border. They pay bonds for parents in detention and work to reunite them with their children. Additionally, they support over 100 reunited families as they recover from their detention trauma and adjust to life in the U.S. while their asylum cases are adjudicated. All of the IFT volunteers are working pro-bono. Thus, ALL of your funds will go directly to rapid response needs.

About the writers:
Raised in rural Virginia, Molly McCully Brown is the author of the poetry collection The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize and was named a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2017, and the forthcoming essay collection Places I’ve Taken my Body (Persea Books, 2020). With Susannah Nevison, she is also the coauthor of the poetry collection In The Field Between Us (forthcoming from Persea Books, 2020). Brown has been the recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, a United States Artists Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship and the Jeff Baskin Writers Fellowship from the Oxford American magazine. Her poems and essays have appeared in Tin House, Crazyhorse, The New York Times, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. She is the currently Kenyon Review Fellow in Poetry.

Keija Parssinen was born and raised in in Saudi Arabia and then moved with her family to Austin, Texas. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in World Literature Today, Slate, The Brooklyn Quarterly, Slice Magazine, and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by fellowships and residencies from places such as the Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, where she was a My Time Fellow. She won a Michener-Copernicus award for her debut novel, The Ruins of Us, which was long-listed for the Chautauqua Prize. Her second novel, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, won an Alex Award from the American Library Association and was selected as a Best Book of the Year by the Kansas City Star, Lone Star Literary Life, Missouri Life, and Brazos Bookstore.

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season, and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection, and taught in the MFA program at University of South Florida.

Orchid Tierney is a poet and scholar from Aotearoa-New Zealand. Her chapbooks include Brachiation (Dunedin: Gumtree Press, 2012), The World in Small Parts (Chicago: Dancing Girl Press, 2012), Gallipoli Diaries (Gausspdf, 2017), and the full length sound translation of Margery Kemp, Earsay (Trollthread, 2016). Her first collection, A Year of Misreading the Wildcats, is due out from The Operating System in 2019. Tierney teaches American and Anglophone poetry with a specific focus on the literatures of the Pacific region. Her wide ranging scholarly interests include environmental humanities, sound studies and the digital humanities. Her current book project investigates the systems and representations of waste and waste management in contemporary poetry and film.

October 19th

Photo of Caitlin FlanaganFamily Weekend: Caitlin Flanagan
10:00 a.m., Cheever Room, Finn House

In celebration of Kenyon’s 50th year of coeducation, the Kenyon Review welcomes Caitlin Flanagan, staff writer at the Atlantic, who will look at five women who shaped the American midcentury: Marilyn Monroe, Joan Didion, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, Patty Hearst and Barbara Walters. For the past twenty years, Flanagan’s Atlantic essays have been questioning the prevailing notions of midcentury American women. She has taken on the most famous women of the time and read them not as victims of history but as people who helped shape it. More than anything she has asked the question: what yearning existed in “ordinary” American women that made these famous ones so essential to the story of the time?

Caitlin Flanagan is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a winner and many time finalist of the National Magazine Award. She is the author of To Hell with All That and Girl Land. Her essays have been widely anthologized, including in Best American Essays, Best American Magazine Writing and Best American Travel Writing. Her recent essay, “They Had it Coming,” about the college admission scandal, is being adapted for television by Blumhouse Productions.

October 25th

Analicia SoteloAnalicia Sotelo
4:30 p.m., Cheever Room, Finn House

In collaboration with Hanif Abdurraqib’s “From the Language of Ash” series in Columbus, Ohio, the Kenyon Review welcome Analicia Sotelo to campus for an afternoon reading and book signing. Sotelo is the author of Virgin, the inaugural winner of the Jake Adam York Prize, selected by Ross Gay for Milkweed Editions, 2018. She is also the author of the chapbook, Nonstop Godhead, selected by Rigoberto González for a 2016 Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship. Her poem “I’m Trying to Write a Poem About a Virgin and It’s Awful” was selected for Best New Poets 2015 by Tracy K. Smith. Poems have also appeared in the New Yorker, Boston Review, FIELD, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and The Antioch Review. She is the recipient of the 2016 DISQUIET International Literary Prize, a Canto Mundo fellowship, and scholarships from the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Image Text Ithaca Symposium. Analicia holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston and works at The Black Sheep Agency. She served as an Adroit Journal Summer Mentor, a committee member of the Poison Pen Reading Series, and on the City of Houston’s Millennial Advisory Board.

November 5th

Ruth Awad
4:30 p.m., Cheever Room, Finn House

Ruth Awad is an award-winning Lebanese-American poet whose debut poetry collection Set to Music a Wildfire won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She is the recipient of a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY, The New Republic, The Rumpus, Crab Orchard Review, Southern Indiana Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. Her work has also been anthologized in numerous collections, including New Moons: Contemporary Writing by North American Muslims, Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by and for Refugees, and The Hundred Years’ War: Modern War Poems. She writes and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her band of Pomeranians.

November 7th

GLCA Reading: Dawn Davies
4:30 p.m., Cheever Room, Finn House

Dawn Davies has a BA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and an MFA from Florida International University. She has won several awards such as the Kentucky Women Writers’ Betty Gabehart Prize for Creative Nonfiction, the Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize in Creative Nonfiction, a Pushcart Special Mention, and the 2019 Florida Book Award Gold Medal for General Nonfiction. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies as well as journals such as The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, Fourth Genre, and Arts & Letters. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she does everything from work construction to teach college writing. Mothers of Sparta is her debut.

November 8th

The Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture: An Evening with T.C. Boyle
8:00 p.m., Brandi Recital Hall, Storer Hall

Photo of T.C. BoyleT.C. Boyle is the author of twenty-eight books of fiction, including Drop City, Tooth and Claw, Talk Talk, Wild Child, The Harder They Come, The Relive Box and Outside Looking In. His work has been translated into more than two dozen foreign languages and his stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, GQ, and McSweeney’s, among others. Boyle has been the recipient of a number of literary awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Prise for best novel of the year (World’s End, 1988); the PEN/Malamud Prize in the short story (T.C. Boyle Stories, 1999); and the Prix Médicis Étranger for best foreign novel in France (The Tortilla Curtain, 1997). A member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978, Boyle currently lives near Santa Barbara with his wife and three children.

Spring 2020

January 23rd

Former Fellows Reading: Natalie Shapero
4:30 p.m., Cheever Room, Finn House

Photo of Natalie ShaperoPoet Natalie Shapero is the Professor of the Practice of Poetry at Tufts University. Her most recent poetry collection is Hard Child (Copper Canyon, 2017), which was shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Her previous collection, No Object (Saturnalia, 2013), received the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award. Natalie’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, and elsewhere, and she is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and a Kenyon Review Fellowship.


January 28th

Michael Croley
4:30 p.m., Cheever Room, Finn House

Michael Croley is a recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature in 2016. He is the author of Any Other Place: Stories. His stories and essays have appeared in VQR, The Paris Review Daily, Kenyon Review Online, LitHub, Narrative, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing at Denison University.


January 28th

Gramercy Book Club Discussion
7:00 p.m., Gramercy Bookstore, Bexley, OH

Dutch House
Kenyon Review Editor and author David Lynn facilitates January’s Gramercy Book Club discussion about Ann Patchett’s novel The Dutch House, a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Kenyon Review is a Community Partner for this event.


February 11th

“50 Years of Women at Kenyon” Reading: Caitlin Horrocks ’02 & Allison Joseph ’88
4:30 p.m., Brandi Hall, Storer Hall

In this semi-centennial celebration of women at Kenyon College, the English Department and Kenyon Review have invited back two alumni authors who have made significant contributions in the literary landscape of American Letters–Allison Joseph and Caitlin Horrocks. Joseph and Horrocks are part of Kenyon College’s rich literary tradition, but moreover, they exemplify the core values of what it means to be literary citizens: to give back, to guide and mentor, and to create and foster diverse writing communities.

Caitlin Horrocks is author of the novel The Vexations (Little, Brown, 2019). Her story collection This Is Not Your City was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Another story collection, Life Among the Terranauts, is forthcoming from Little, Brown in 2021. Her stories and essays appear in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, The Pushcart Prize, The Paris Review, Tin House, and One Story, as well as other journals and anthologies. Her awards include the Plimpton Prize and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the MacDowell Colony. She is on the advisory board of the Kenyon Review, where she recently served as fiction editor. She teaches at Grand Valley State University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Born in London, England to parents of Caribbean heritage, Allison Joseph grew up in Toronto, Canada, and the Bronx, New York and now lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where she directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University. She serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review, the publisher of No Chair Press, and the director of Writers In Common, a writing conference for writers of all ages and experience levels. Her books and chapbooks include What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand Press), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press), Worldly Pleasures (Word Tech Communications), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon UP), Voice: Poems (Mayapple Press), My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe Books), Trace Particles (Backbone Press), Little Epiphanies (NightBallet Press), Mercurial (Mayapple Press), Mortal Rewards (White Violet Press), Multitudes (Word Poetry),The Purpose of Hands (Glass Lyre Press), Double Identity (Singing Bone Press) Corporal Muse (Sibling Rivalry Press) and What Once You Loved (Barefoot Muse Press). Her latest full-length book of poetry, Confessions of a Barefaced Woman, was published by Red Hen Press and is a 2019 nominee in the poetry category of the NAACP Image Awards and a 2019 finalist for both the Montaigne Medal and the Da Vinci Eye Book Award.

February 19th

Novels vs. Television: Live Podcast Event
7:00 p.m. Community Foundation Theater in Gund Gallery

NovelsTVAppointment Television, a podcast about the TV you want to make time for, and Overdue, a podcast about the books you’ve been meaning to read, will combine forces to debate this important issue during a live podcast event. Hosted by four Kenyon alumni, this show will be grounded in a discussion of Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity and its Hulu adaptation starring Zoe Kravitz. After the recording, stick around for Q&A with the hosts on all things podcasting and pop culture.

Margaret Willison ‘07, Kathryn Van Arendonk ‘07 and Andrew Cunningham ‘08 are the hosts of the podcast Appointment Television. Andrew Cunningham also co-hosts Overdue with Craig Getting ’08. The Career Development Office and Department of English are excited to welcome all four of them back to the Hill with generous support from the Center for Innovative Pedagogy and the Kenyon Review.

April 7th

VIRTUAL READING, Q&A with Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
4:30 p.m. EST

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate. He is the author of Cenzontle, which was chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the 2017 A. Poulin, Jr. Prize published by BOA editions in 2018, as well as the winner of the GLCA New Writer Award for poetry, the 2019 Golden Poppy Award from the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, and the Bronze in the FOREWORD INDIE best book of the year. Cenzontle is also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the California Book Award, the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, and the Northern California Book Award. Cenzontle was listed among one of NPR’s and the New York Public Library top picks of 2018. His first chapbook DULCE won the Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize published by Northwestern University press. His memoir Children of the Land is forthcoming from Harper Collins in 2020. His work has been adopted to opera through collaboration with the composer Reinaldo Moya and has appeared or been featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Academy of American Poets, PBS Newshour, Fusion TV, Buzzfeed, Gulf Coast, New England Review, People Magazine, and Indiana Review, among others.

He was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated to the California central valley. He is a founding member of the Undocupoets campaign which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first poetry book prizes in the country and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers award. He has helped to establish The Undocupoet Fellowship which provides funding to help curb the cost of submissions to journals and contests for undocumented writers. A graduate of the Canto Mundo Latinx Poetry fellowship, he has also received fellowships to attend the Vermont Studio Center and the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. He teaches at the Ashland Low-Res MFA Program and teaches poetry workshops for incarcerated youth in Northern California.

April 14th

VIRTUAL READING, Q&A with Kyle Swenson ’07
4:30 p.m. EST

Join via Zoom

Kyle Swenson is a reporter with The Washington Post. Prior to joining The Post in 2017, he covered South Florida for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach. His reporting on the criminal justice system and features have won several national awards, including the Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2015 he was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. His first book, “Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America’s Rust Belt” was published by Picador USA in February 2019.

April 20th

VIRTUAL READING, Q&A with Molly McCully Brown & Susannah Nevison
4:30 p.m. EST

Join via Zoom

Photo of Molly McCully BrownKenyon Review Fellow Molly McCully Brown is the author of the poetry collection The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize and was named a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2017, and the forthcoming essay collection Places I’ve Taken my Body (Persea Books, 2020). With Susannah Nevison, she is also the coauthor of the poetry collection In The Field Between Us (forthcoming from Persea Books, 2020).

Brown has been the recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, a United States Artists Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship and the Jeff Baskin Writers Fellowship from the Oxford American magazine. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Paris Review, Tin House, Crazyhorse, The New York Times, Pleiades, The Yale Review, Blackbird, and elsewhere.

Susannah Nevison is the author of Lethal Theater (The Ohio State University Press, 2019), the recipient of the Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize from OSU/The Journal, and Teratology (Persea Books, 2015), the recipient of the 2014 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. She is also the author of In the Field Between Us, a collaborative collection with Molly McCully Brown (forthcoming from Persea Books).

Her honors include the 2014 Patricia Aakhus Prize from Southern Indiana Review, the 2013 American Literary Review Poetry Prize, an Academy of American Poets / Larry Levis Prize, and recent Pushcart Prize nominations in both poetry and nonfiction. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Crazyhorse, Pleiades, The National Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She holds degrees from the University of Southern California, Columbia University, and the University of Utah. She is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Sweet Briar College. She hails from Massachusetts.

April 21st

VIRTUAL READING, Q&A with Oliver de la Paz
4:30 p.m. EST

Join via Zoom

Oliver de la Paz is the author of five collections of poetry, Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby (SIU Press 2001, 2007), and Requiem for the Orchard (U. of Akron Press 2010), winner of the Akron Prize for poetry chosen by Martìn Espada, Post Subject: A Fable (U. of Akron Press 2014), and the forthcoming book The Boy in the Labyrinth (U. of Akron Press 2019). He is the co-editor with Stacey Lynn Brown of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (U. of Akron Press 2012). He co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian American Poetry and is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

A recipient of a NYFA Fellowship Award and a GAP Grant from Artist Trust, his work has appeared in journals like Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Tin House, Poetry, and in anthologies such as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University.


Past KR Reading Series Schedules

Kenyon Review Reading Series 2018-19

Kenyon Review Reading Series 2017-18

Kenyon Review Reading Series 2016-17

Kenyon Review Reading Series 2015-16