The Spalding University Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program is pleased to announce that award-winning author Leah Henderson has joined the faculty in the area of Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Henderson’s novel One Shadow on the Wall was an Africana Children’s Book Award notable book and a Bank Street Best Book of 2017, starred for outstanding merit. Her short story “Warning: Color May Fade” appears in the YA anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Her forthcoming picture books include Mamie on the Mound, A Day for Rememberin’, and Together We March.

MORE| Full information on Spalding’s MFA in Writing program

A teen mentor and avid traveler, Henderson’s volunteer work has its roots in Mali, West Africa. She attended Callaloo Writing Workshop at Oxford University, is a faculty member of the Highlights Foundation, and volunteers with Kweli Journal and We Need Diverse Books. She holds the MFA in Writing from Spalding University and lives in Washington, D.C.

“Leah Henderson is a rising star among writers for children and young adults and with good reason,” MFA Program Director Kathleen Driskell said. “She’s a marvelous writer— and as a teacher she’s just the sort of faculty member we value at Spalding. She has an adventurous intellect and a deep well of knowledge to draw from, and she is a supportive, generous member of the literary community. She’ll be an engaged and challenging mentor for our students, and I’m elated she’s joined our faculty.”

RELATED | MFA program’s blog introduces Leah Henderson
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RELATED | Leah Henderson’s website

One privilege of being a student in Spalding’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program  is that I can attend some of the lectures of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program during its residencies. During the MFA fall residency, which took place Nov. 10-18, I attended two lectures.

The first was titled, “1798: Poetry’s Punk Moment: Lyrical Ballads With A Few Other Poems,” and was given by MFA program director Kathleen Driskell, who is an award-winning poet. The lecture was very relevant to me at the time because I was taking a Romanticism class during which we studied many of the poems that were mentioned in Driskell’s lecture. It was exciting for me to hear the information I learned as a BFA creative writing student being applied in an MFA lecture. Attending the lecture made me appreciate my BFA class even more because I could see the value of what I was learning. The “punk” aspect of the lecture was taken from a quote by a Guardian book reviewer and referred to the influential and liberal language used by poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge during the age of Romanticism. Wordsworth and Coleridge were essentially hippies or punks because of the way they looked at the world differently.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s BFA in Creative Writing program

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s MFA in Creative Writing program

The second lecture I attended was, “What Happened to My Essay? How to Survive Writing for Magazines,” by Cathy Medwick. Medwick is former senior editor at Vogue and Vanity Fair, so she really knew what she was talking about. This lecture was very informative — I took a full page of notes. Even though I am fairly new to creative nonfiction and have not written very many essays that could be published, I found it valuable to hear how to deal with editors and the process of submission.

ALSO FROM ALLISON CAMPBELL  | Why transferring to Spalding was the right choice for me

Being able to participate in the MFA residency was a great way to learn new information while being exposed to what an MFA program is really like. The experience made me want to go to grad school even more to further my education. I am always looking for ways to improve my writing, so I really appreciated this awesome opportunity.

Allison Campbell is a senior in Spalding’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. 

 

Poet and author Lesléa Newman, a faculty member in the Spalding University Master of Fine Arts in Writing program, recently received the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s Making a Difference Award for her writing and work involving the LGBTQ community.

Watch and listen to Newman’s entire acceptance speech in the player below or by clicking here. It came during the foundation’s Bear to Make a Difference Gala in Denver.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation advocates for the LGBTQ community while seeking “to erase hate by replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance,” according to its website. The organization was started by the parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who died after being brutally attacked in 1998.

Newman is the creator of 70 books, including many children’s books that feature LGBTQ characters. In 2012, she published October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, which explores the impact of Shepard’s murder through many poetic voices.

“It is up to each of us to make a difference in the memory of Matt Shepard, a young man who I never had the chance to meet but to whom I owe so much because I have been telling Matt’s story for the past 20 years,” Newman said during her speech. “I have met literally thousands of people. I have met high school students and college students. I have met teachers and librarians. I have met actors and activists. I have met parents and poets. And I have yet to meet a single person who has not been moved by hearing Matt’s story.”

 

LEXINGTON, KY — Six premier Kentucky authors, all with ties to Spalding University’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program, will be honored at a free public event on Saturday morning, Oct. 27, at 21c Museum Hotel, 167 W. Main Street, Lexington.

The event includes a walking tour, reading and reception celebrating each author’s inclusion in the public art exhibit Book Benches: A Tribute to Kentucky Authors. The event is free, ticketless and open to the public.

The honored authors include Spalding MFA program director Kathleen Driskell, faculty members Silas House and Fenton Johnson, founding program director Sena Jeter Naslund, and alumni Frank X Walker and Crystal Wilkinson. Driskell, House, Naslund, Walker and Wilkinson will attend the event and read from their work. Johnson will be represented by Sara Beth Lowe, his former student in the Spalding MFA program, who will read a passage of Johnson’s work.

Each featured author was honored in Lexington’s book bench project, a public art exhibit in which different Kentucky artists designed colorful, creative and functional benches representing books by 37 authors with ties to the Commonwealth. The benches commemorate the author’s contribution to Kentucky literature.

The event takes place as follows:

10:30 a.m. – Weather permitting, a walking tour leaves from 21c Museum Hotel Lexington to showcase several nearby benches.

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – A reading and reception takes place at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, rain or shine.

About the Honorees

Kathleen Driskell Spalding MFA in Writer director
Kathleen Driskell / Photo by John Nation

* Kathleen Driskell has published four full-length collections of poetry, including Seed Across Snow, which was listed as a national bestseller by the Poetry Foundation, and Blue Etiquette. Driskell’s collection Next Door to the Dead earned her Transylvania University’s 2018 Judy Gaines Young Book Award. She is program director of Spalding’s MFA in Writing program.

* Silas House is the author of newly released Southernmost as well as Same Sun Here, Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, The Coal Tattoo, and Eli the Good. Southernmost was recently longlisted for the 2019 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. He teaches fiction at Spalding and is also a Spalding MFA alum who in 2015 won the university’s Caritas Medal as alumnus of the year.

* Fenton Johnson is the author of three novels, most recently The Man Who Loved Birds, and several works of creative nonfiction, including Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays. His work frequently appears in Harper’s. He is on the faculty of Spalding’s MFA program.

* Sena Jeter Naslund is co-founder of the Spalding MFA program, where she edits The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press. Naslund is the best-selling author of Ahab’s Wife, Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette and Four Spirits, among others.

* Frank X Walker is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets and editor of America! What’s My Name? His poetry collections include Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate this Ride. A Spalding MFA alum, Walker was Poet Laureate of Kentucky in 2013-2014 and currently teaches at the University of Kentucky.

* Crystal Wilkinson is author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street, and Blackberries, Blackberries. She received her MFA from Spalding and teaches at UK.

About the Spalding MFA Program

Spalding’s nationally distinguished low-residency MFA in Writing program is committed to excellence in a noncompetitive atmosphere. The program offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, screenwriting, and playwriting. Students begin the semester in the spring, summer, or fall with a residency in Louisville or abroad; then, faculty and students return to their homes for an independent study focusing on the student’s creative writing. Cross-genre exploration and the profession of writing are emphasized. Students may customize the residency location, season, and pace of their studies. See spalding.edu/mfa for more information.

About Book Benches: A Tribute to Kentucky Authors

The Book Benches Project is a collaborative public art exhibit among Arts Connect, LexArts, and the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning. Modeled after Horsemania, 37 book-shaped functional benches, each illustrated and themed around different works by Kentucky authors, were placed throughout Lexington during 2018 to celebrate Kentucky’s literary heritage, encourage reading, and provide a place for rest.

Two authors who are faculty members of the Spalding University Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing program have received new accolades.

Silas House, who is a member of the Spalding MFA program’s fiction faculty as well as a Spalding MFA alumnus, had his new novel, Southernmost, placed on the 25-member longlist of candidates for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Meanwhile, Lesléa Newman, a Spalding MFA faculty member in the concentration of writing for children and young adults, has been named a winner of the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s Making a Difference Award for her writing and work involving the LGBTQ community.

The Carnegie Medal for which House has been longlisted recognizes the best fiction book for adult readers published in the United States in the previous year while serving as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. The award is presented by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the American Library Association’s Booklist publication and the Reference and User Services Association.

The short list of three finalists will be announced on Oct. 24, and the winner of the Carnegie Medal for fiction will be announced on Jan. 27.

House, who won Spalding’s 2015 Caritas Medal as the university’s alumnus of the year, is teaching a community writing workshop next month at Spalding in conjunction with the program’s fall residency.  He is also the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College.

Lesléa Newman MFA faculty headshot
Lesléa Newman

Newman’s award comes from the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which advocates for the LGBTQ community while seeking “to erase hate by replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance,” according to its website. The organization was started by the parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who died after being brutally attacked in 1998.

Newman is the creator of 70 books, including many children’s books that feature LGBTQ characters. In 2012, she published October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, which explores the impact of Shepard’s murder through many poetic voices. Her newest children’s book, Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story, based on her own family history of immigration, will be published in February 2019.

Olympic figure skater and bronze medalist Adam Rippon is the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s other 2018 Making a Difference Award honoree.

RELATED: Read bios on all Spalding MFA in Writing faculty members

The “Spalding at 21c: Voice and Vision” reading series will hold its third session of the season from 6-7:15 p.m. Thursday, July 19 at 21c Museum Hotel, 700 W. Main St. The free, public event is sponsored by Spalding’s nationally ranked Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing program and the hotel.

The July lineup showcases a mix of prominent and award-winning local and regional poets and prose writers – Adam Day, Erin Keane, Will Lavender, Kayla Rae Whitaker, Philip White and Lisa Williams.

The evening begins with open-mic presentations of one- to two-minute readings of works in progress. Individuals may sign up for an open-mic presentation on a first-come, first-served basis just before the program begins.

The “Spalding at 21c: Voice and Vision” series runs the third Thursday of every month from May to August. Writers from all area universities, community writers’ groups, Spalding alumni and independent writers are welcome to participate. If interested in taking part in a future reading, inquire with series coordinator Amy Foos Kapoor at akapoor@spalding.edu. Spalding MFA founding program director Sena Jeter Naslund and associate director Katy Yocom emcee the series. Spalding MFA associate program director Lynnell Edwards will emcee the July reading.

Free street parking is available. Proof on Main welcomes those who would like to enjoy the culinary arts, further discussion, and literary connection at the end of the evening. For more information and reservations, visit www.proofonmain.com or call 502-217-6360.

About the Readers

Adam Day is the author of the forthcoming collection of poetry Left-Handed Wolf (LSU Press) as well as Model of a City in Civil War (Sarabande) and Badger, Apocrypha (PSA). Spalding MFA in Writing alumna Erin Keane is a poet, critic and journalist who serves as an executive editor at Salon. The author of three collections of poetry, Keane also serves on the board of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. Will Lavender is the New York Times bestselling author of the psychological thrillers Obedience (Crown) and Dominance (Simon & Schuster). Kayla Rae Whitaker’s work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed, Literary Hub, Lenny Letter and others. Her debut novel, The Animators (Random House Trade), was named one of the best debut novels of 2017 by Entertainment Weekly and NPR. Philip White has won a Pushcart Prize in poetry and a Willis Barnstone prize in poetry translation. His book of poems, The Clearing (Texas Tech), won the Walt McDonald award. Lisa Williams has published three books of poems: The Hammered Dulcimer (winner of the May Swenson Poetry Award), Woman Reading to the Sea (winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize) and Gazelle in the House (New Issues Press).

About the Spalding MFA in Writing program

Spalding’s nationally distinguished low-residency MFA in Writing program is committed to excellence in a noncompetitive atmosphere. The program offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, screenwriting and playwriting. Students begin the semester in the spring, summer or fall with a residency in Louisville or abroad; then, faculty and students return to their homes for an independent study focusing on the student’s creative writing. Cross-genre exploration is emphasized. Students may customize the residency location, season, and pace of their studies. See spalding.edu/mfa for more information.

About 21c Museum Hotel Louisville

A multi-venue museum, 21c was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists who are committed to bringing works of art to the public through innovative exhibitions and programs that integrate contemporary art into daily life. 21c Museum presents a range of arts programming curated by Museum Director and Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites, including thought-provoking solo and group exhibitions that reflect the global nature of art today; site-specific, commissioned installations; as well as a variety of cultural events. The organization collaborates on arts initiatives with artists and cultural organizations worldwide, including The North Carolina Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, The Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Barnes Foundation, The National Gallery of Ontario, The Creative Capital Foundation, and others. Since opening in Louisville in 2006, 21c Museum has presented more than 85 exhibitions, including Cuba Now!; Alter Ego: A Decade of Work by Anthony Goicolea; Blue: Matter, Mood, and Melancholy; Aftermath: Witnessing War, Countenancing Compassion; Seeing Now; Wild Card: The Art of Michael Combs, a Fifteen-Year Survey; Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity; Albano Afonso: Self-Portrait as Light; and Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art.

The “Spalding at 21c: Voice and Vision” reading series – sponsored by Spalding’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program – will have its second session of the season from 6-7:15 tonight (Thursday, June 21) at 21c Museum Hotel, 700 W. Main St. The event is free and open to the public.

The lineup showcases award-winning local poets and fiction writers: Annette Allen, Sherry Chandler, Millard Dunn, Rick Neumayer, Nana Lampton and Mary Lou Northern.

The evening begins with a few open-mic readings, 1-2 minutes in duration and featuring works in progress. Individuals may sign up for an open-mic presentation on a first-come, first-served basis just before the program begins.

The series runs the third Thursday of every month through August. Writers from all area universities, community writers’ groups, Spalding alumni and independent writers are welcome to participate. If interested in taking part in a future reading, inquire with series coordinator Amy Foos Kapoor at akapoor@spalding.edu. Spalding MFA founding program director Sena Jeter Naslund and associate director Katy Yocom emcee and host the series.

Free street parking is available. Proof on Main welcomes those who would like to enjoy the culinary arts and further discussion and literary connection at the end of the evening. For more information and reservations, visit www.proofonmain.com or call 502-217-6360.

About the Readers

Award-winning poet Annette Allen is a Professor of Humanities at the University of Louisville and author of poetry collections Country of Light and What Vanishes. Sherry Chandler is anticipating the release of her third novel, Talking Burley; her poems have appeared in The Louisville Review, The Cortland Review (with audio), and Rain Taxi. Millard Dunn is a poet whose collections include award-winning Engraved on Air and Places We Could Never Find Alone; his poetry has appeared in Arable, The Concho River Review, Film and History, Hard Scuffle Folio and many more. Nana Lampton, Rick Neumayer and Mary Lou Northern are alumni of Spalding’s MFA Program. Neumayer’s short fiction has been published in numerous journals including The Louisville Review, Deep South and Tulane Review. Northern’s fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in dozens of publications, including Redbook and Orion. Lampton is also a poet, and her books include Wash the Dust from My Eyes, The Moon with the Sun in Her Eye, Snowy Owl Gathers in Her Trove and Bloom on a Split Board.

About the Spalding MFA program

Spalding’s nationally distinguished low-residency MFA in Writing program is committed to excellence in a noncompetitive atmosphere. The program offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, screenwriting and playwriting. Students begin the semester in the spring, summer or fall with a residency in Louisville or abroad; then, faculty and students return to their homes for an independent study focusing on the student’s creative writing. Cross-genre exploration is emphasized. Students may customize the residency location, season and pace of their studies. See spalding.edu/mfa for more information.

About 21c Museum Hotel Louisville

A multi-venue museum, 21c was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists who are committed to bringing works of art to the public through innovative exhibitions and programs that integrate contemporary art into daily life. 21c Museum presents a range of arts programming curated by Museum Director and Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites, including thought-provoking solo and group exhibitions that reflect the global nature of art today; site-specific, commissioned installations; as well as a variety of cultural events. The organization collaborates on arts initiatives with artists and cultural organizations worldwide, including The North Carolina Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, The Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Barnes Foundation, The National Gallery of Ontario, The Creative Capital Foundation, and others. Since opening in Louisville in 2006, 21c Museum has presented more than 85 exhibitions, including Cuba Now!; Alter Ego: A Decade of Work by Anthony Goicolea; Blue: Matter, Mood, and Melancholy; Aftermath: Witnessing War, Countenancing Compassion; Seeing Now; Wild Card: The Art of Michael Combs, a Fifteen-Year Survey; Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity; Albano Afonso: Self-Portrait as Light; and Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art.

“Spalding at 21c: Voice and Vision” kicks off its fifth annual reading series with seven local undergraduate students who are standouts in their literary endeavors. The reading takes place 6-7:15 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at 21c Museum Hotel, 700 W. Main St., and is free and open to the public.

These budding writers were nominated by their professors for this special reading based on their outstanding creative work. The up-and-coming readers are Levi Dunn (IU Southeast), Vanessa Fuller (UofL), Hannah James Gribbins (IU Southeast), Clare C. Hagan (Bellarmine), Christian Loriel Lucas (UofL), Iva Moore (UofL) and Katie Shamblin (UofL).

This season’s series runs the third Thursday of every month through August. Writers from all area universities, community writers’ groups, Spalding alumni and independent writers are welcome to participate. If interested in taking part in a future reading, inquire with series coordinator Amy Foos Kapoor at akapoor@spalding.edu. Spalding MFA founding program director Sena Jeter Naslund and associate director Katy Yocom emcee and host the series.

Free street parking is available. Proof on Main welcomes those who would like to enjoy the culinary arts and further discussion and literary connection at the end of the evening. For more information and reservations, visit www.proofonmain.com or call 502-217-6360.

About the Readers

  • Levi Dunn is a fantasist studying English at IU Southeast. His recent work explores reality though his science fiction fantasy world of “Xarr,” and he wants to pursue an MFA.
  • Vanessa Fuller is an English major and creative writing minor at U of L. She plans to pursue an MFA and a career in poetry.
  • Hannah James Gribbins is studying English writing and literature at IU Southeast. She has published a short story called “Remember Me Yesterday” in The IU Southeast Review. She’s also publishing poetry in two books, “Whiskey on Vinyl” and “Arrows on Monsters,” set to release this year.
  • Clare C. Hagan is a senior at Bellarmine. Her poetry often incorporates a strong sense of place, while many of her longer works seek to examine the line between realism and the mysticism of legends.
  • Christian Loriel Lucas is a wife and mother studying English at U of L. She’s originally from Memphis, where her childhood experiences have inspired many of her stories. She hopes to publish YA novels and write for film.
  • Iva Moore is a sophomore at U of L studying English & Creative Writing. She was recently awarded the Flo Gault Poetry Prize by Sarabande Books and currently edits for Miracle Monocle.
  • Katie Shamblin is an English major at U of L. She loves self-reflective poetry and plans to pursue an MFA.

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About the Spalding MFA in Writing program: Spalding’s nationally distinguished low-residency MFA in Writing program is committed to excellence in a noncompetitive, supportive atmosphere. The program offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, screenwriting, and playwriting. Students begin the semester in the spring, summer, or fall with a residency in Louisville or abroad; then, faculty and students return to their homes for an independent study focusing on the student’s creative writing, with the mentor commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Students may customize the residency location, season, and pace of their studies. See spalding.edu/mfa for more information.

About 21c Museum Hotel Louisville: A multi-venue museum, 21c was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists who are committed to bringing works of art to the public through innovative exhibitions and programs that integrate contemporary art into daily life. 21c Museum presents a range of arts programming curated by Museum Director and Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites, including thought-provoking solo and group exhibitions that reflect the global nature of art today; site-specific, commissioned installations; as well as a variety of cultural events. The organization collaborates on arts initiatives with artists and cultural organizations worldwide, including The North Carolina Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, The Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Barnes Foundation, The National Gallery of Ontario, The Creative Capital Foundation, and others. Since opening in Louisville in 2006, 21c Museum has presented more than 85 exhibitions, including Cuba Now!; Alter Ego: A Decade of Work by Anthony Goicolea; Blue: Matter, Mood, and Melancholy; Aftermath: Witnessing War, Countenancing Compassion; Seeing Now; Wild Card: The Art of Michael Combs, a Fifteen-Year Survey; Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity; Albano Afonso: Self-Portrait as Light; and Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art. 

A presentation by British novelist Rachel Seiffert on May 30 will highlight Spalding University’s upcoming Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series. It will take place May 26-June 1 and also feature faculty and alumni of Spalding’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.

Seiffert, the MFA program’s Distinguished Visiting Writer, is one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary novelists in the United Kingdom. Her book The Dark Room, which is about the Holocaust and the Third Reich, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2001. Her 2017 novel, A Boy in Winter, which also explores the Holocaust and World War II, was among The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of last year. She’s also written Field Study, a collection of short stories published in 2004, and the novels Afterwards (2007) and The Walk Home (2014).

Festival events will be held at Spalding’s Egan Leadership Center and the Brown Hotel, as noted below. Free parking is available for the campus readings. All readings and events are free and ticketless.

4:00-4:45 p.m. Saturday, May 26. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

Robin Lippincott (fiction, creative nonfiction), In the Meantime; Blue Territory; Rufus + Syd

Larry Brenner (playwriting, screenwriting), Saving Throw vs. Love

Jody Lisberger (fiction), Remember Love

Michael Roberts (playwriting), Goldstein

4:45-5:45 p.m. Sunday, May 27. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

Dianne Aprile (creative nonfiction), The Book: A Collaboration with Photographer Julius Friedman

Charlie Schulman (playwriting, screenwriting), Goldstein

Beth Bauman (writing for children & young adults), Jersey Angel

Crystal Wilkinson (fiction), The Birds of Opulence

Kathleen Driskell (poetry), Blue Etiquette

5:30-6:45 p.m. Monday, May 28. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Faculty. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Follett Bookstore. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

Douglas Manuel (poetry), Testify

Lesléa Newman (poetry, writing for children and young adults), Lovely

Pete Duval (fiction), Strange Mercies

Kiki Petrosino (poetry), Witch Wife

5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 29. Selected readings by MFA alumni. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

Sonja de Vries (’09), The Hour of Departure

Danette Haworth (’16), A Whole Lot of Lucky

Michael Premo (’14)

Janet Harrison  (’16)

Kelly Hill (’13)

Leslie Lynch (’17), Hijacked

5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 30. Distinguished Visiting Writer presentation. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Follett Bookstore.  (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

Rachel Seiffert, The Dark Room

5:30-6:45 p.m. Friday, June 1. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Carmichael’s. (Brown Hotel, 1st fl., Citation Room, 335 W. Broadway)

Erin Chandler (’17), June Bug vs. Hurricane

Holly Gleason (’15), Woman Walk the Line: How the Women of Country Music Changed Our Lives

Gayle Hanratty (’06), Gray Hampton

R.J. Harris (’12), The Spirit Breather

Claudia Love Mair (’17), Don’t You Fall Now

Aimee Mackovic (’05), Love Junky

Barbara Sabol (’10), Solitary Spin

Sara Truitt (’15), More: A Memoir of Hungers

The reading schedule may change without notice. Check Facebook for updated information: Facebook.com/SpaldingMFA. For more information, call 502-873-4400 or email mfa@spalding.edu.

RELATED: Program Director Kathleen Driskell on winning book award, her plans for the MFA program

About Spalding’s MFA in Writing: Recognized as a top-10 program of its kind by Poets & Writers, Spalding’s four-semester, low-residency MFA in Writing program offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, screenwriting and playwriting. Students begin the semester in the spring, summer or fall with a residency in Louisville or abroad, then return home for an independent study with a faculty mentor for the rest of the semester. Students may customize the location, season and pace of their studies. A post-baccalaureate certificate in creative writing is also available. See spalding.edu/mfa for more information.

The Kentucky Arts Council will celebrate Kentucky Writers’ Day on Tuesday, April 24,  with an event at the Spalding Library, capping off a week of literary events around the state that recognize the Commonwealth’s literary tradition.

The Kentucky General Assembly established Kentucky Writers’ Day in 1990 to honor Kentucky’s strong literary tradition and to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren, the first poet laureate of the United States and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes.

Current Kentucky Poet Laureate Frederick Smock will be among the readers and panelists at the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Writers’ Day celebration, beginning 6 p.m. in the Spalding Library’s Kentucky Room, 853 Library Lane.

Maureen Morehead MFA faculty headshot
Maureen Morehead, Spalding MFA faculty member and past Kentucky poet laureate

Following poetry readings by Smock and former poets laureate Maureen Morehead (2011-2012) and Joe Survant (2003-2004), poet Lynnell Edwards, Spalding’s associate program director for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, will moderate a discussion about Kentucky’s literary tradition. Morehead is a member of the Spalding MFA faculty.

As Kentucky’s literary ambassador, Smock urges all Kentuckians to celebrate Writers’ Day, no matter where they are.

“On Kentucky Writers’ Day, turn off the phone. Log off the computer. Do not turn on the television. For a few minutes, just read a poem. Let it sink in,” Smock said. “Follow where your mind goes with it, for you are the only authority on what the poem means to you.

“As with love, the feeling of having read a good poem can induce a certain inner radiance. The poem sinks in and transforms itself from words on a page to a deep interior shift. After all, we go to poetry not to find out about the poet’s life, but to find out about our own.”