Skip to main content
poet Cornelius Eady leans on a lectern and speaks to a crowd of students and faculty seated in a lecture hall

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 2020-2021

Note: This semester’s reading series will be virtual and conducted via Zoom.  All events are free and open to the public. Online registration is required for attendance.

Destiny Birdsong book cover


March 25th  Destiny Birdsong   |   Poetry

Learn More  or  Register




  SPRING 2021

February 4: Timothy Donnelly, poetry

February 10-11: LATS Spring Symposium Testimonio: Telling to Live

The Gertrude and Harold S. Vanderbilt Visiting Writer Series is partnered with Latina and Latino Studies (LATS) at Vanderbilt University to present the 2021 Spring Symposium: Writing to Live, featuring the following events:

February 25: Dana Johnson, fiction

March 4: Major Jackson, poetry

March 25: Destiny Birdsong, poetry

March 26: Simon Han & Lee Conell, Fiction

April 8: Edward Hirsch, poetry


Previous Visiting Writers

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

Fall 2020

  • Poets: Monica Youn, Toi Derricote
  • Fiction writers: Lorraine Lopez, Odie Lindsey, Luis Alberto Urrea, Alexander Chee

AY 2019-2020

  • Poets: Major Jackson, Cara Dees, Michelle Penaloza, Tarfia Faizullah, Beth Bachmann, Kate Daniels, Nicole Sealey, Chad Abushanab, Melissa Range. 
  • Fiction writers: Lysley Tenorio, Yiyun Li, Claire Jimenez, Deb Olin Unferth, 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