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Gertrude & Harold S. Vanderbilt Visiting Writers Series

About the Gertrude and Harold S. Vanderbilt Visiting Writers Series

The Gertrude and Harold S. Vanderbilt Visiting Writers Series is named in honor of Vanderbilt founder Cornelius Vanderbilt’s great-grandson and his wife. Each semester, the series brings several professional writers to campus to read from their works and visit classes. This unique and extraordinary program gives English department students and faculty, the Vanderbilt community, and Nashville’s citizens a chance to meet and talk with some of the best writers of our day.

For more information about the Visiting Writers Series or to sign up for our e-mail announcement list, contact René Colehour in the Creative Writing program.

Visiting Writers 2021-2022


September 9th: Sheba Karim, Fiction 

The Marvelous Mirza Girls (Cover) by Sheba Karim

& Didi Jackson, Poetry

Moon Jar by Didi Jackson

  FALL 2021

♦September 9: Sheba Karim, fiction & Didi Jackson, Poetry | faculty reading

♦September 23: Carl Phillips, poetry

♦September 30: Deb Olin Unferth, fiction/nonfiction

♦October 7: Lydia Peelle, fiction

♦October 21: Sonia Sanchez, poetry

♦November 4: Carlina Duan, poetry

♦November 11: Tommy Orange, fiction (virtual reading)

  SPRING 2022

♦January 27: Shane McCrae, poetry

♦February 3: Kate Daniels, poetry | faculty reading

♦February 10: Brandon Taylor, fiction

♦February 17: Lisa Russ Spaar, poetry

♦February 24: Margaret Renkl, nonfiction | visiting faculty

♦March 17: Claire Jimenez, fiction

♦March 18: Cara Dees, poetry

♦March 31: Mark Jarman, poetry & Lorraine Lopez, fiction | faculty reading

♦April 7: Aimee Bender, fiction

♦April 14: Vievee Francis, poetry

Previous Visiting Writers

Please see below for a list of previous visiting writers by year and genre.


AY 2020-2021:

  • Poets: Timothy Donnelly, Major Jackson, Destiny Birdsong, Edward Hirsch, Monica Youn, Toi Derricote
  • Fiction Writers: Dana Johnson, Simon Han, Lee Conell, Lorraine Lopez, Odie Lindsey, Luis Alberto Urrea, Alexander Chee
  • Nonfiction/Memoir Writers: Fred Arroyo, Myriam Gurba, Alex Espinoza, and Daisy Hernandez

AY 2019-2020

  • Poets: Michelle Penaloza, Beth Bachmann, Kate Daniels, Nicole Sealey, Chad Abushanab, Melissa Range. 
  • Fiction writers: Lysley Tenorio, Samantha Hunt, Charles D’Ambrosio
  • Nonfiction writers: Daisy Hernandez

AY 2018-2019

  • Poets: Danez Smith, Carl Dennis, Blas Falconer, Cathy Hong, Lisa Dordal, Marie Howe, Mary Szybist, Tiana Clark, Edgar Kunz, Anders Carlson-Wee, Beth Bachmann, Kate Daniels
  • Fiction writers: Leopoldine Core, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Piyali Battacharya, Justin Quarry, Carmen Maria Machado, Nayomi Munaweera, Margot Livesey.
  • Nonfiction writer: Camille Dungy

AY 2017-2018

  • Poets Camille Dungy, Molly McCully Brown, Marilyn Kallet, Arthur Smith, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Kendra DeColo
  • Fiction writers: Kevin Brockmeier, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Daniel Alarcón, Lee Conell, Susan Choi, Danzy Senna, Amitav Ghosh, Bryn Chancellor, Amy Hempel
  • Nonfiction writer: Joy Castro.

AY 2016-2017

  • Poets: Terri Witek, Ross Gay, Ocean Vuong, and Ada Limón
  • Fiction writers: Danielle Evans, Ann Patchett, Meg Wolitzer, and Jenny Offill.

Ay 2015-2016

  • Poets: Paul Muldoon, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, T.R. Hummer, Wyatt Prunty, Nate Marshall, and Jacqueline Osherow
  • Fiction writers: Charles Baxter, Ottessa Moshfegh, Jaimy Gordon, Lan Samantha Chang, and Julian Barnes
  • Nonfiction writers: Brando Skyhorse and Daisy Hernandez.

AY 2014-2015

  • Poets: Bruce Beasley, David Kirby, A. Van Jordan, Natasha Trethewey, and Jane Hirshfield
  • Fiction writers: Kevin Wilson, Gish Jen, Stuart Dybek, Leah Stewart, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Jamie Quatro
  • Nonfiction writers: Amy Hoffman and Sarah Gorham.

AY 2013-2014

  • Poets: Kevin Young, Lynn Emanuel, David Wojahn, Julie Bruck, and Eavan Boland
  • Fiction writers: Deborah Eisenberg, Edmund White, Steve Stern, Justin Torres, Christine Schutt, and Chris Bachelder
  • Nonfiction writer: Dwight Garner.

AY 2012-2013

  • Poets: Nikky Finney, Jennifer Grotz, Robert Wrigley, Adam Zagajewski, Chase Twichell, Thomas Lux, Tracy Smith, Stephen Dobyns, Garrett Hongo, and Michael Longley
  • Fiction writers: Dan Chaon, Madison Smartt Bell, Adam Ross, Lauren Groff, and Cary Holladay
  • Nonfiction writer: Charlotte Pierce Baker.

AY 2011-2012

  • Poets: Billy Collins, Christopher Buckley, Terrance Hayes, Nick Flynn, Alicia Ostriker, Elizabeth Spires, and Don Paterson
  • Fiction writers: Jaimy Gordon, Rattawut Lapchoreonsap, Anthony Doerr, Wells Tower, Lorrie Moore, Manuel Munoz, Maile Meloy, and Bonnie Jo Campbell.

AY 2010-2011

  • Poets: Frank Bidart, Carl Phillips, Ciaran Carson, Tom Sleigh, Jericho Brown, Edward Hirsch, Molly Peacock, Mary Kinzie, and Bobby Rogers
  • Fiction writers: Bobbie Ann Mason, Tom Perrotta, Salvatore Scibona, Peter Ho Davies, Aimee Bender, Lydia Peelle, and Holly Goddard Jones.

AY 2009-2010

  • Poets: Cornelius Eady, Jean Valentine, and Rebecca Seiferle
  • Fiction writers: Randall Kenan and Jill McCorkle
  • Memoirists: Bich Minh Nguyen and Honor Moore.


Robert Penn Warren * Eudora Welty * Kingsley Amis * V.S. Pritchett * Elizabeth Spencer * Yusef Komunyakaa * Junot Diaz * Ruth Fainlight * Rose Tremain * Allan Sillitoe * Rita Dove * Agha Shahid Ali * Ellen Gilchrist * Marilyn Nelson * Garrett Hongo * Judith Ortiz Cofer * William Matthews * Diane Ackerman * Ellen Douglas * Margot Livesey * Jessica Hagedorn * Alan Shapiro * Julia Alvarez * Seamus Heaney * Charles Wright * J.M.Coetzee * Richard Ford * Maxine Kumin * Wyatt Prunty * Ellen Bryant Voigt * Robert Lowell * Pauline Kael * David Lehman * Linda Gregerson * James Wood * Stanley Elkin *  Lee Smith * Chang-rae Lee * Al Young * Wally Lamb *  Donald Justice * Philip Levine * Peter Matthiessen * Andrew Hudgins *  Medbh  McGuckian * Erin McGraw * Sydney Lea * Marita Golden * Antonya Nelson * Gerald Stern * Eileen Simpson * Karen Yamashita * Richard Bausch * Richard Tillinghast * Anne Patchett * Martín Espada * Tony Hoagland *  R. S. Gwynn *  Mary Gordon *  T. R. Hummer * Alison Lurie *  Fred Chappell * Pam Durban * Craig Arnold