More Info

External Links

What we do might be done in solitude and with great desperation, but it tends to produce exactly the opposite. It tends to produce community and in many people hope and joy.Junot Díaz, MFA 1995

The Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series

Each academic year, the Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series brings poets, fiction writers, essayists, and industry professionals to campus for readings and talks.

9/1 James McConkey with Diane Ackerman, Gilbert Allen, and A. Manette Ansay
9/15 Joy Harjo
9/29 H.G. Carrillo, Sally Wen Mao, Adam O’Fallon Price, and Emily Rosko
10/13 David Madden
11/3 Chris Abani

The Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series features readings from both emerging and established writers. In recent years it has hosted Toni Morrison, Billy Collins, Margaret Atwood, Charles Simic, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Seamus Heaney, and Jonathan Franzen, among others. The Series has also brought back former Cornell students of note, such as Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz and best-selling authors Melissa Bank, Lorrie Moore, Stewart O’Nan, and Téa Obreht. All events are free and open to the public.

To be added to the email list for announcements of upcoming readings, please send an email to

Fall 2016 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE and open to the public.

September 1st James McConkey: Courting Memory

A 95th Birthday Celebration featuring James McConkey with Diane Ackerman, Gilbert Allen, and A. Manette Ansay
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall
  • James McConkey, Fiction and Nonfiction Writer
  • McConkeyJames McConkey joined the Department of English as Assistant Professor in 1956. He wrote fiction until the early 1960s and retired in 1992 as Goldwin Smith Professor of English Literature Emeritus. Known for his meditative nonfiction narratives, McConkey is the author or editor of fourteen books, including Court of Memory, To a Distant Island, and The Anatomy of Memory, as well as critical essays such as his study of E.M. Forster. His awards include a Guggenheim fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts essay award, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters award in literature. McConkey’s most recent book, The Complete Court of Memory, includes narratives published in magazines but previously uncollected. In honor of McConkey, three of his award-winning former students will read from their own works.

  • Diane Ackerman ‘78, Poet and Essayist
  • AckermanDiane Ackerman is the author of twenty-four books, including the New York Times bestsellers A Natural History of the Senses, Orion Book Award winner (and movie), The Zookeeper’s Wife, and The Human Age, which received the PEN Thoreau Award. She’s a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

  • Gilbert Allen ‘77, Poet and Fiction Writer
  • AllenGilbert Allen’s newest books are Catma and The Final Days of Great American Shopping. A member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors and the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Award from The Southern Review, he is the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature Emeritus at Furman University.

  • A. Manette Ansay ‘91, Fiction Writer and Memoirist
  • AnsayA. Manette Ansay is the author of a story collection, a memoir, and six novels, including Vinegar Hill, an Oprah Winfrey Book Club Selection, and Midnight Champagne, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Ansay is Professor of English at the University of Miami.

September 15th Reading

Joy Harjo
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Joy Harjo, Poet and Memoirist
  • HarjoJoy Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. A renowned musician, Harjo performs solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning albums including Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She is Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

September 29th Alumni Reading

H.G. Carrillo, Sally Wen Mao, Adam O’Fallon Price, and Emily Rosko
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall
  • H.G. Carrillo ‘07, Fiction Writer
  • CarrilloH.G. Carrillo is the author of Loosing My Espanish, a novel (2005). His short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, The Iowa Review, Glimmer Train, Ninth Letter, Slice and other journals and publications. Carrillo sits on the executive board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, and lives in the Washington, DC area, where he is currently at work on a novel.

  • Sally Wen Mao ‘12, Poet
  • WenSally Wen Mao is the author of Mad Honey Symposium. She is the recipient of a 2017 Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman, Hedgebrook, Bread Loaf, and the National University of Singapore. Her work is published in Poetry, A Public Space, Tin House, and Best American Poetry 2013, among others. She is a 2016-2017 fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

  • Adam O’Fallon Price ‘14, Fiction Writer
  • PriceAdam O’Fallon Price is the author of The Grand Tour, a novel. His fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Epoch, The Iowa Review, Narrative Magazine, Glimmer Train, The Antioch Review, and elsewhere. He has taught at the University of Iowa and Cornell University, where he earned an MFA in 2014.

  • Emily Rosko ‘03, Poet
  • RoskoEmily Rosko is the author of Prop Rockery (2012) and Raw Goods Inventory (2006). She is the editor of A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line and poetry editor for Crazyhorse. She teaches at the College of Charleston.

October 13th Reading

David Madden
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • David Madden, Fiction and Nonfiction Writer
  • MaddenDavid Madden has published extensively in all genres. Among his many novels are Bijou, Sharpshooter, The Suicide’s Wife, Abducted by Circumstance, and London Bridge in Plague and Fire. His most recent book of short stories, The Last Bizarre Tale, was published in 2014 and his forthcoming collection of novellas, Marble Goddesses and Mortal Flesh, will appear this coming spring of 2017. Madden has also just finished a memoir, My Intellectual Life in the Army. Among his awards are a Rockefeller Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts prize, a National Council on the Arts Award, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination for The Suicide’s Wife.

    A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Madden studied at the Yale School of Drama. He has taught at Kenyon College, Ohio University, LSU, and has been a visiting writer at numerous colleges, including UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as on the staff of writers’ conferences such as Bread Loaf. Robert Penn Warren Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emeritus at LSU, Madden lives now in Black Mountain, NC with his wife, Robbie, who is working for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

November 3rd Reading

Chris Abani
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall
  • Chris Abani, Poet and Writer
  • AbaniChris Abani’s books of fiction include The Secret History of Las Vegas, Song for Night: A Novella, The Virgin of Flames, Becoming Abigail, Graceland, and Masters of the Board. His poetry collections are Sanctificum, There Are No Names For Red, Feed Me the Sun: Collected Long Poems, Hands Washing Water, Dog Woman, Daphne’s Lot, and Kalakuta Republic. Among his many honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian, and Serbian.

» For more information about the Fall 2016 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series, contact or call (607) 255-7847.