Writer’s Block Festival featuring Maggie Smith, Spalding Festival of Contemporary Writing on tap

Spalding University staff

Poet Maggie Smith will be the keynote speaker at Louisville Literary Arts’ Writer’s Block Festival at Spalding University on Saturday, Nov. 10, and Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing – the state’s largest fall-spring reading series – will continue on after that through Friday, Nov. 16.

The Festival of Contemporary Writing features daily readings from the faculty and alumni of Spalding’s nationally ranked low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.

Both the Writer’s Block and the Festival of Contemporary Writing are free, public events.

Spalding’s MFA program is proud to sponsor and host the Writer’s Block Festival at the College Street Building, 812 South Second St. Smith is presenting there as the Anne & William Axton Keynote Speaker, sponsored by the University of Louisville.

Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), winner of the 2012 Dorset prize and a 2016 Independent Publisher Book Award; and Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award. Smith’s poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally in 2016.

Various Festival of Contemporary Writing events will be held at Spalding’s Egan Leadership Center as well as the Brown Hotel, as noted below. Plenty of free parking is available for the campus readings. All readings and events are free, ticketless and open to the public.

Here are details of Smith’s presentation, as well as the entire schedule of the Festival of Contemporary Writing:

5:00-6:30 p.m. Saturday, November 10. (College Street Building, 812 South Second St.)

– Maggie Smith, 2018 Writer’s Block Festival Anne & William Axton Keynote Speaker

– Q&A and book signing will follow the keynote reading

5:00-6:00 p.m. Sunday, November 11. Faculty reading. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

– John Pipkin (fiction), The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter

– Edith M. Hemingway (writing for children & young adults), Road to Tater Hill

– Douglas Manuel (poetry), Testify

– Nancy McCabe (creative nonfiction & fiction), From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood; Following Disasters

–  Charlie Schulman (dramatic writing), Goldstein

5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday, November 12. Faculty reading. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

– Rachel Harper (fiction), This Side of Providence

– Sam Zalutsky (screenwriting), Seaside

– Cathleen Medwick (creative nonfiction), Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul

– Kirby Gann (fiction, creative nonfiction), Ghosting; John Knowles’ A Separate Peace: Bookmarked

– Lynnell Edwards (poetry), Covet

5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 13. Selected readings by MFA alumni. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

– Lora Hilty (’12)

– Lynn Hoffman (’15)

– Angie Mimms (’15)

– Ashley Cook (’14)

– Genissa Leder (’13), A Dark Eternity (publishing as Nissa Leder)

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

–  Maria Steinmetz (’14)

5:30-6:45 p.m. Thursday, November 15. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Faculty. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Follett Bookstore. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)

– Elaine Neil Orr (fiction, creative nonfiction), Swimming Between Worlds, Gods of Noonday: A White Girl’s African Life

– Fenton Johnson (creative nonfiction, fiction), Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays; The Man Who Loved Birds

– Debra Kang Dean (poetry), Totem: America

– Neela Vaswani (writing for children, fiction, creative nonfiction), This Is My Eye: A New York Story; Where the Long Grass Bends; You Have Given Me a Country

– Silas House (fiction), Southernmost

5:45-6:45 p.m. Friday, November 16. Faculty Reading. (Brown Hotel, 1st fl., Citation Room, 335 W. Broadway)

– Larry Brenner (screenwriting, playwriting), Bethlehem; Saving Throw Versus Love

– Robin Lippincott (fiction, creative nonfiction), Our Arcadia; Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Art of Joan Mitchell

– Dianne Aprile (creative nonfiction), A Landscape and Its Legacy: The Parklands of Floyds Fork

– Kira Obolensky (playwriting), Why We Laugh: A Terezin Cabaret

– Kathleen Driskell (poetry), Blue Etiquette

The reading schedule may change without notice. Check Facebook for updated information: For more information, call 502-873-4400 or email [email protected].

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. Students may customize the location, season, and pace of their studies. See for more information, or find us on Twitter @Spalding_MFA.