All speakers will begin at 7 p.m.
All events are free and open to the public.
Future Visiting Writers
An evening with Jaki Shelton Green
September 10, 2015
Inducted in 2014 into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, Jaki Shelton Green has appeared in numerous national poetry publications and her work has been widely choreographed by numerous dance companies. She is the author of Breath of the Song: New and Selected Poems (2005); singing a tree into dance (2003); Conjure Blues: Poems (1996); Swiss Time (1990); Dea d on Arrival (1983); and Mask (1981). She is the co-editor of two anthologies: Poets or Peace and Immigration, Emigration, and Diversity. A 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature (the highest award the state can bestow for significant contributions in science, literature, fine arts, and public service), Green is also a 2014 Pushcart nominee; the 2010 Fine Arts Emerald awardee; the 2009 North Carolina Piedmont Laureate; and the 2007 Sam Ragan awardee. As a community arts advocate, Jaki Shelton Green creates and facilitates programs that serve diverse audiences and populations. She is the owner of SistaWRITE, which provides retreats and travel excursions for women writers.
An evening with Jeff Hobbs
October 22, 2015
PE Monroe Auditorium
Jeff Hobbs lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. He grew up in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and attended Yale University, where he won the Meeker Prize for his writing and the Gardner Millett Award for his running. After graduating with a BA in English language and literature, he spent three years living alternately in New York City and Tanzania while working as executive director for the African Rainforest Conservancy. His first novel, The Tourists, was published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. His second book, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, is a heartfelt, riveting biography of a talented young African American man who escapes the slums of Newark for Yale only to succumb to the dangers of the streets — and of one's own nature — when he returns home. When Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale, he became fast friends with Robert Peace, the man who would be his college roommate for four years, and whose end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and unforgettable.
An evening with Chuck Klosterman
November 12, 2015
PE Monroe Auditorium
One of the most singular and exciting cultural critics of our generation, Chuck Klosterman captures what it feels like to navigate our pop-obsessed, media-saturated culture. In New York Times bestsellers like Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, he shows us why “pop” is a conversation for everyone and why it matters. He has written for GQ, Esquire, Spin, the Washington Post, and the Guardian, among others. He covers sports and popular culture for ESPN and served as “The Ethicist” for the New York Times Magazine. Of Klosterman’s several non-fiction books, including Killing Yourself to Live and Fargo Rock City, Stephen King notes, “Writing about pop culture doesn’t get any better than this, or funnier.” Other books include Chuck Klosterman IV and Eating the Dinosaur and two novels, Downtown Owl and The Visible Man. Klosterman’s latestis the essay collection I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined).
An evening with Garrison Keillor
March 31, 2016
PE Monroe Auditorium
Poet, editor, author, and radioman, Garrison Keillor’s old-time variety show A Prairie Home Companion debuted on July 6, 1974. Among guest musicians, comic skits with live sound effects, and spoof commercials for fictitious sponsors such as Ketchup and Powdermilk Biscuits, audiences have cherished the voice of Keillor in the show’s serial sketches “The Adventures of Guy Noir, Private Eye” and “The Lives of the Cowboys” — and in his daily recitations of poetry for The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Hebegan his broadcasting career with the University of Minnesota’s student radio station and graduated with a b.a. in English in 1966. His professional radio career began in 1969 with Minnesota Educational Radio, during which time The New Yorker ran his first story, “Local Family Keeps Son Happy,” on September 19, 1970. A National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and winner of a Peabody Award and National Humanities Medal, his latest books include The Keillor Reader (2014), a collection from the full range of his work, and the poetry volume O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound (2013). In 2006, Keillor opened an independent bookstore, Common Good Books, G. Keillor, Prop., in Saint Paul, for which a wrote a poem that begins “A bookstore is for people who love books and need / To touch them, open them, browse for a while, / And find some common good – that’s why we read.”
An evening with Anne Lamott
April 7, 2016
PE Monroe Auditorium
Bestselling author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life; Operating Instructions (an account of life as a single mother); and Travelling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott is “a narrator,” according to the New York Times, “who has relished and soaked up the details of her existence, equally of mirth and devastation.” With profound honesty and self-effacing humor, she writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Cancer, Depression, Faith. In her novels and non-fiction she often writes about loss — loss of loved ones, loss of personal control. Hailing from San Francisco, Lamott is a Guggenheim Fellowship awardee and California Hall of Fame inductee who has taught at UC Davis and at writing conferences across the country. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock made a documentary of Lamott’s life, Bird by Bird with Annie (1999). Her biweekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted Best of the Web by TIME magazine. Author of seven novels and several works of nonfiction, her latest books are Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair (2013), and the collection of essays, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (2014).
An evening with Paul Muldoon
April 14, 2016
Paul Muldoon — LRU’s first visiting writer — was born in 1951 in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. From 1973 to 1986, he worked in Belfast as a radio and television producer for the BBC. Living in the U.S. since 1987, he is a Princeton University professor and Lewis Center for the Arts founding chair. Between 1999 and 2004, he was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford. Since 2007 he has served as poetry editor of The New Yorker. Paul Muldoon’s most famous collections of poetry are New Weather, Mules, Quoof, Meeting The British, Madoc: A Mystery, The Annals of Chile, Poems 1968– 1998, Maggot, and One Thousand Things Worth Knowing. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was elected a member of the American Academy in arts and Letters in 2008. A few of his recent awards include the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the 2003 International Griffin Prize, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, and the 2004 Shakespeare Prize.
The Little Read with Will Osborne & Mary Pope Osborne
April 23, 2016 at noon
PE Monroe Auditorium
Internationally produced and published playwright, book author, and respected director, teacher, and actor, Will Osborne traces his interest in theater back to the very first time he saw a play performed live onstage nearly fifty years ago. The play? Look Homeward, Angel at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Will’s play Smoke & Mirrors, a comic murder mystery co-authored with Anthony Herrera, has been produced internationally. In 2007, collaborating with Randy Courts, he provided lyrics for Magic Tree House: The Musical, a full-scale, Broadway-style family musical that traveled to fifty-four U.S. cities and later throughout Germany. Will’s writing for musical theater also includes Saddle Jazz, a Western swing musical; The Wonderful O, an adaptation of the James Thurber novella; Manifest Destiny, a National Endowment for the Arts-funded extravaganza set in 1840s America; and four musical adaptations of Magic Tree House books licensed by Music Theatre International for performance by school-aged children. Will has authored more than a dozen books for children and young adults, many co-written with his wife, Mary Pope Osborne, including the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker series; two retellings of Greek mythology; A Time to Dance for the My America series; and a picture book, Sleeping Bobby, with award-winning illustrator Giselle Potter. He has also created several highly acclaimed multi-media shows for the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, two of which featured William Shatner and the late Walter Cronkite. Will is a member of the Dramatists Guild; a founder of The Writers Group in New York; a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UNC Chapel Hill; and lead vocalist and guitarist for the blues/R&B group WillPower.
Mary Pope Osborne is known for the highly imaginative and successful Magic Tree House series, which won a Lifetime Achievement Award. She has published nearly 50 books in the series, which has been translated into over 30 languages and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. She has also authored numerous young adult books, including Haunted Waters; Adaline Falling Star; and Run, Run as Fast as You Can.