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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.

1/29 Tiphanie Yanique
2/19 Dawn Lundy Martin
3/12 J. Robert Lennon & Valzhyna Mort
4/23 Stephen Yenser

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

Spring 2015 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE and open to the public.

January 29th Reading

Tiphanie Yanique
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Tiphanie Yanique, Fiction Writer
  • YaniqueTiphanie Yanique, who grew up in the Virgin Islands, is the author of the short story collection How to Escape from a Leper Colony, the picture book I Am the Virgin Islands, and the novel Land of Love and Drowning. BookPage listed her as one of the 14 women to watch out for in 2014. Her writing has won the 2011 BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Fiction, a Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Pushcart Prize, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. She has been listed by the Boston Globe as one of the sixteen cultural figures to watch out for and by the National Book Foundation as one of the “5 Under 35.” Her writing has been published in Best African American Fiction, The Wall Street Journal, and American Short Fiction. A Fulbright scholarship recipient, Yanique is now an Assistant Professor in the MFA and Riggio Honors programs at the New School in New York City.

February 19th Reading

Dawn Lundy Martin
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Dawn Lundy Martin, Poet and Essayist
  • MrtinDawn Lundy Martin is the author of several collections of poetry, including A Matter of Gathering/A Gathering of Matter, selected for the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and Discipline, winner of the 2011 Nightboat Books Poetry Prize. She is also the author of two chapbooks, The Undress and The Morning Hour, which was selected for the 2003 Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship.

    A recipient of two poetry grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Martin was also awarded the 2008 Academy of American Arts and Sciences May Sarton Prize for Poetry. She is a member of the Black Took Collective, an experimental performance art/poetry group of three, and HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, a global artists collective. An Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, Martin is currently at work on a memoir.

March 12th The Richard Cleaveland Memorial Reading

J. Robert Lennon and Valzhyna Mort
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • J. Robert Lennon, Fiction Writer
  • LennonJ. Robert Lennon is the author of two story collections, Pieces For The Left Hand and See You in Paradise, and seven novels, including Mailman, Familiar, and Happyland. His short fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Playboy, Granta, The Paris Review, Electric Literature, and elsewhere, and anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. Lennon’s story “The Rememberer” inspired the CBS detective series Unforgettable, and his book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and The London Review of Books. An Associate Professor of English at Cornell, Lennon also co-hosts the podcast “Lunch Box,” with poet Ed Skoog.

  • Valzhyna Mort, Poet
  • MortValzhyna Mort is the author of two collections of poetry, Factory of Tears and Collected Body, and an editor of two anthologies, Something Indecent: European Poetry Recommended by Eastern European Poets and Gossip and Metaphysics: Prose and Poetry of Russian Modernist Poets. Praised as a “risen star of the international poetry world” (Irish Times), Mort received the 2008 Burda Prize for Eastern European authors, the 2009 Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, and the 2010 Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry Magazine, as well as a number of European awards and residencies. Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Cornell, Mort has recently been awarded the Spring 2016 Amy Clampitt Residency in Lenox, Massachusetts.

  • The Richard Cleaveland Memorial Reading was created in 2002 by family and friends of Richard Cleaveland, Cornell Class of ’74, to honor his memory.

April 23rd

Stephen Yenser
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Stephen Yenser, Poet and Critic
  • YenserStephen Yenser is Distinguished Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at UCLA. His volumes of poems are Stone Fruit (forthcoming), Blue Guide, and The Fire in All Things, which received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Other awards include the B. F. Connors Prize from the Paris Review, an Ingram Merrill Fellowship, three appearances in the Best American Poetry series, and Fulbright Fellowships to France and Greece. His critical books are A Boundless Field: American Poetry at Large, Circle to Circle: The Poetry of Robert Lowell, and The Consuming Myth: The Work of James Merrill. Co-editor of five books by Merrill, he is currently at work on Merrill’s Selected Letters.

» For more information about the Spring 2014 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series, contact or call (607) 255-7847.