Visiting Writers Series - Current Schedule

For over thirty years, The Center for Writers in the Department of English has brought internationally acclaimed authors of poetry and fiction to Hattiesburg and the USM community for public readings, workshops, and individual conferences with Center graduate students.

Over a long history, and with the generous support of the university, the College of Arts and Letters, private donors, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Visiting Writers Series has brought to campus Lee K. Abbott, Toni Cade Bambara, Russell Banks, John Barth, Frank Bidart, Robert Olen Butler, Raymond Carver, Angela Carter, Robert Coover, John Dufresne, Richard Ford, Tess Gallagher, William Gass, Barry Hannah, John Hawkes, Lynda Hull, Hugh Kenner, Galway Kinnell, Kenneth Koch, Larry McMurtry, W.S. Merwin, Edna O’Brien, Charles Simic, W.D. Snodgrass, Gerald Stern, Mark Strand, Derek Walcott, Joy Williams, Charles Wright, and more than seventy other writers.

In the last decade of the series, visitors have included Ellen Bryant Voigt, Percival Everett, Stuart Dischell, Stephen Dobyns, Lucie Brock-Broido, Francine Prose, Tim O’Brien, Amy Hempel, Padgett Powell, Dana Gioia, Rick Moody, Mary Gaitskill, Kelly Cherry, Bobbie Ann Mason, Diane Williams, Ann Beattie, and Dara Wier.

Our disposition has always been toward a mix of well-established and interesting writers and new on scene and interesting writers, with the idea that each serves the students in a unique way and that exposure to different aesthetics and styles is vital to learning the art.


All readings are free and open to the public.




A Poetry Reading by L. Lamar Wilson
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
7:30 PM
LAB 108, Gonzales Auditorium 

Lamar Wilson is the author of Sacrilegion (2013), which was selected by Lee Ann Brown as the 2012 winner of the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series and also was a finalist for the Thom Gunn Poetry Award, and Prime (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014), a collection of poems and interviews with the Phantastique Five. Wilson's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals and anthologies as Callaloo, jubilat, The Los Angeles Review, Rattle, The 100 Best African American Poems, and Please excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation.Wilson, a Pushcart Prize nominee, Callaloo fellow, and Cave Canem graduate fellow, is completing a doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in African American and multi-ethnic American poetics.





A Fiction Reading by Lauren Groff
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 
7:30 PM
LAB 108, Gonzales Auditorium 

Lauren Groff is the author of two bestselling and critically acclaimed novels, The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia, as well as the story collection Delicate Edible Birds (NY: Hyperion, 2008, 2012, and 2009, respectively), which have appeared on numerous year-end and best-of lists. Her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, and The Atlantic Monthly, and been included in Best American Short Stories (2007, 2010), The Pushcart Prize XXXII, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.











A Poetry Reading by Catherine Pierce
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
7:30 PM
LAB 108, Gonzales Auditorium 


Catherine Pierce is the author of two books of poems: The Girls of Peculiar (Saturnalia 2012), winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for poetry, and Famous Last Words (Saturnalia 2008), winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, Slate, Boston Review, Ploughshares, FIELD, Blackbird, and elsewhere. She is an associate professor at Mississippi State University, where she co-directs the creative writing program.