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  • Sue Miller

    Miller's elegantly constructed and insightful novels resonate because they explore larger issues couched in the comfortably relatable details of everyday life. A chronicler of family, marriage and friendship, Miller is a master at describing the small and seemingly inconsequential decisions that ultimately shape the life of her characters. She has received the Guggenheim and Bunting fellowships. Miller is our current McGee Professor of Creative Writing.

    Sue Miller Head shot
  • Lorrie Moore

    Moore's literary career began at the precocious age of nineteen, when she won Seventeen's fiction award. Her remarkable ability to juggle everyday outrage and high tragedy with a hand so deft that her most poignant passages are often also the most hilarious or sardonic. "Most of the humor I'm interested in has to do with awkwardness; the makeshift theater that springs up between people at really awkward times-times of collision, emergency, surrealism, aftermath, disorientation."

    Lorrie Moore head shot

Literary Arts

The English Department annually presents 10-12 writers, often winners of Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur "genius grants," National Book Awards and various other honors. All writers brought to campus work with students personally; all public presentations are free. For more information, please email Kathryn Perez at or call 704-894-2254.


Film Screening: Tom Gilroy

Visiting McGee Professor of Writing

Tom Gilroy has written and directed three award-winning films, including the critically acclaimed feature film Spring Forward, starring Liev Schreiber, Ned Beatty, Ian Hart, and Campbell Scott. A two-time fellow of the Sundance Labs, he was commissioned by R.E.M. to create "It Happened Today," a video-work inspired by the band's final album. Gilroy frequently teaches film at Columbia University, and is the author of three books of haiku and various political columns in The Huffington Post.

Jeanne-Marie Jackson: South African Literature's Russian Soul

Jeanne-Marie Jackson is assistant professor of English at the Johns Hopkins University. Trained as a comparatist at Yale University, Jackson works in Russian, Afrikaans, and Shona. Her book, South African Literature's Russian Soul: Forms of Global Isolation, shows how Russia's nineteenth-century Golden Age of literature and ideas provides a model for South African writers during and after Apartheid.


Reggie Love, author of Power Forward: My Presidential Education, spoke about his time as personal assistant to President Barack Obama. A graduate of Providence Day School in Charlotte, Love played basketball for Duke University before going to work for then senator Obama later transitioning to the White House. After leaving the White House, Love attended the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and is now a partner and vice president of Transatlantic Holdings. Love discussed his first-hand account of life as the president's "body man" and reflected on the 2016 presidential election.

Davidson Reads: Alan Michael Parker and Karl Plank

Alan Michael Parker is the Douglas C. Houchens Professor of English, and the author of eight collections of poems, including The Ladder, and four novels, including the forthcoming Christmas in July. His honors include three Pushcart Prizes, two inclusions in Best American Poetry, the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize in 2013 and 2014, and the North Carolina Book Award.
Karl Plank is the J.W. Cannon Professor of Religion at Davidson. His recent poetry and creative work has appeared in publications such as Notre Dame Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Zone 3. He is a past winner of the Thomas Carter Prize for nonfiction and a Pushcart nominee.

Watch Out for Alison Bechdel!

Reynolds Lecture

Alison Bechdel is an internationally beloved cartoonist whose darkly humorous graphic memoirs, astute writing and evocative drawing have forged an unlikely intimacy with a wide and disparate range of readers. For 25 years Alison self-syndicated Dykes to Watch Out For; the award-winning generational chronicle has been called "one of the pre-eminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period" by Ms. Magazine, and spawned the now famous "Bechdel test," which measures gender bias in film. Her first graphic novel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, was named the Best Book of the Year by TIME, and was adapted into a Broadway musical that has won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Lorrie Moore

2017 Conarroe Lecture

Lorrie Moore is the author of seven works of fiction. Recipient of The Irish Times Prize for International Literature, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the PEN/Malamud Award, the O. Henry Award, and a Lannan fellowship, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received her B.A. from St. Lawrence, and her M.F.A. from Cornell University; she is Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor at Vanderbilt University.

Poets as Lyric Historians: Contemporary African American Poets and History: Annette Debo

Annette Debo is the author of The American H.D., editor of H.D.'s Within the Walls and What Do I Love? and co-editor of the MLA volume Approaches to Teaching H.D.'s Poetry and Prose. English professor and graduate program director at Western Carolina University, she teaches courses on modernism, African American literature and literary theory, and was a 2014 recipient of the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Poetry Reading: Ann Fisher-Wirth

Ann Fisher-Wirth, Ph.D. is the author or editor of numerous works, including The Ecopoetry Anthology (with Laura Gray-Street), and Dream Cabinet, her most recent collection of poems. Past President of ASLE and the 2006 Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year, she has been a Fulbright Scholar in Switzerland and Sweden. English professor at the University of Mississippi, she received a B.A. from Pomona College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate School.

Shakespeare in Song: Broadus Hamilton, with Cynthia Lawing & Randy Ingram

Tenor Broadus Hamilton performed a selection of Shakespeare's sonnets and songs, accompanied by the music department's Cynthia Lawing. English Professor Randy Ingram offered remarks about the contexts of the pieces, from the manuscripts of Shakespeare's time to the Valentines of 2017.

Poetry Reading: Cynthia Hogue

Cynthia Hogue, Ph.D., has published 13 books, including nine collections of poetry, most recently Revenance and the forthcoming In June the Labyrinth. She was a 2015 NEA Fellow in Translation, and holds the Marshall Chair in English at Arizona State University.

Inaugural Abbott Lecture: Marjorie Perloff

Marjorie Perloff, Ph.D., presented "Reading the Verses Backward: Poetry for the Digital Age." Perloff is the Sadie D. Patek Professor of Humanities Emerita at Stanford University and Florence Scott Professor Emerita at USC. Author of many books on 20th and 21st century poetry and poetics, including Poetics in a New Key, a collection of interviews and essays, and Edge of Irony: Modernism in the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire, she was 2006 President of the MLA, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This past April, she was the first Wittgenstein Guest Professor at Innsbruck University in Austria, where she also received an honorary degree.

Sue Miller

Visiting McGee Professor of Creative Writing

Sue Miller has written a collection of short stories, a memoir about her father and his death from Alzheimer's disease and ten novels. Her work has been widely translated and published. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Wearn Lecture: Sandra Steingraber

"Where Science Meets Human Rights: Behind the Fight to Leave Fossil Fuels in the Ground" by Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., is a biologist, author and cancer survivor who writes about the connections between the environment and human health. Her book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, has been turned into an acclaimed documentary. Steingraber's published articles and poetry provide a lyrical counterpoint to scientific reports and press releases about America's environmental crisis.

Poetry Reading: Kazim Ali

2017 Vereen Bell Memorial Awards in Creative Writing

Kazim Ali is the author of four books of poetry, including Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, the cross-genre text Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities, two books of essays, translations from the Arabic and French, and two novels, including Quinn's Passage, named one of "The Best Books of 2005" by Chronogram. Associate editor of FIELD, and founding editor of Nightboat Books, he serves as series co-editor for both Poets on Poetry and Under Discussion. Kazim Ali is an associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College.


900 Room = C. Shaw Smith 900 Room, Alvarez College Union; CI = Carolina Inn; DFPH = Duke Family Performance Hall, Knobloch Campus Center; Hance = Hance Auditorium, Chambers; Lilly = Lilly Family Gallery, Chambers; TTH = Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center