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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 Reading Series

Department of English / Cornell University

Fall 2014 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series

9/11 Valerie Borchardt, John Hennessy, Ethan Nosowsky
9/25 Luis Urrea
10/16 Kwame Dawes
10/23 NoViolet Bulwayo, Mukoma Wa Ngugi
11/06 Jesse Graves
ALL EVENTS ARE FREE and open to the public.

September 11th Shop Talk

With Valerie Borchardt, John Hennessy, and Ethan Nosowsky
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall

Learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry with literary agent Valerie Borchardt and editors John Hennessy and Ethan Nosowsky. These experts will share their experience and will talk about the kind of writing that grabs their attention. Bring your questions.

  • Valerie Borchardt, Literary Agent, Georges Borchardt, Inc.
  • BorchardtValerie Borchardt joined Georges Borchardt, Inc in 1999. She is foreign rights director and a vice president of the agency. She represents a wide range of clients including commercial fiction writers, experimental fiction writers, historians, memoirists and a fermentation guru. Several of her clients have appeared on The New York Times bestseller list. She has a BA from Wesleyan University and a Masters in Slavic Language and Literature from Columbia University.

  • John Hennessy, Poet and Editor
  • HennessyJohn Hennessy is the author of two collections, Coney Island Pilgrims and Bridge and Tunnel, and his poems appear in The Believer, Best American Poetry 2013, The New Republic, Poetry, The Yale Review, and other journals and anthologies. A former Amy Clampitt Fellow (and now a Clampitt House board member), Hennessy teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and serves as poetry editor for The Common.

  • Ethan Nosowsky, Editorial Director, Graywolf Press
  • NosowskyEthan Nosowsky is Editorial Director at Graywolf Press. He began his career at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and was most recently Editorial Director at McSweeney’s. He has edited books by Jeffery Renard Allen, Hilton Als, Deborah Baker, David Byrne, Geoff Dyer, Dave Eggers, J. Robert Lennon, and Jenny Offill among many others. He has taught in the Creative Writing program at Columbia University and has contributed to Bookforum, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer, and Threepenny Review.

September 25th Reading

Luis Urrea
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Luis Urrea, Poet, Fiction, and Non-Fiction Writer
  • UrreaLuis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and award-winning writer known for using his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss, and triumph. He is the author of fourteen books, including the historical novels The Hummingbirdl’s Daughter and Queen of America, which together tell the story of Mexican folk hero and healer Teresita Urrea. Awards Urrea has received include an Edgar Award (“Amapola”) and the Lannan Literary Award (The Devil’s Highway). More than thirty different cities and colleges across the country have chosen Urrea’s work in various genres for One Book community read programs.

    Urrea is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago and has also taught at Harvard, the University of Colorado and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

October 16th Reading

Kwame Dawes
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Kwame Dawes, Poet, Writer, Editor
  • DawesGhanaian-born Jamaican poet, Kwame Dawes is the award-winning author of seventeen books of poetry (most recently Duppy Conqueror) and numerous books of fiction, non-fiction, criticism and drama. He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, Associate Poetry Editor for Peepal Tree Press in the UK, and has edited nine anthologies.

    Dawes is a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, teaches in the Pacific MFA Writing Program in Oregon, and is a faculty member of Cave Canem. He is also the programming director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. In 2009, Dawes won an Emmy for, an interactive site based on his Pulitzer Center project, HOPE: Living and Loving with AIDS in Jamaica.

October 23rd Reading

NoViolet Bulawayo & Mukoma Wa Ngugi
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • NoViolet Bulawayo, Fiction Writer
  • BulawayoNoViolet Bulawayo is the author of We Need New Names, which won the LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Pen/Hemingway Award, and the Etisalat Prize for Literature. The novel was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and listed among the New York Times Notable Books of 2013, Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers list, and NPR’s Great Reads of 2013. Her story “Hitting Budapest” won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.

    NoViolet, who has been named to the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” list, grew up in Zimbabwe, received her MFA at Cornell University, and is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.

  • Mukoma Wa Ngugi, Writer and Scholar
  • NgugiMukoma Wa Ngugi, an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University, is the author of Black Star Nairobi, Nairobi Heat, Hurling Words at Consciousness (poetry) and the forthcoming Mrs. Shaw (novel) and Hunting Words with My Father (poetry). His short stories have been published in African Writing and Kenyon Review, his poems in New York Quarterly and Kwani, and his commentary has appeared in The Guardian and International Herald Tribune. Wa Ngugi is a columnist for the BBC Focus on Africa Magazine and was named one of the 100 most influential Africans in 2013 by New African Magazine.

November 6th

Jesse Graves
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Jesse Graves, Poet and Editor
  • GravesJesse Graves teaches poetry, writing, and American literature at East Tennessee State University, where he was given the 2012 New Faculty Award from the College of Arts & Sciences. His first poetry collection, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, won the 2012 Weatherford Award in Poetry from Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, and the Book of the Year Award in Poetry from the Appalachian Writers’ Association. He was also awarded the 2013 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award from Morehead State University. Texas Review Press released his second book of poems, Basin Ghosts, in spring 2014. Graves earned his MFA in poetry from Cornell University in 2000 and a PhD in English from the University of Tennessee in 2008.

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