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Fall Literary Festival 2017 -- Lydia Millet arrives November 9!

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, Program Room


Please join us for the University of South Carolina's Fall Literary Festival 2017.  All events are free and open to the public.





National Book Award-winning poet and MacArthur Genius Award recipient Terrance Hayes returns to his hometown in October as the first author in this year's Fall Literary Festival. His visit will be followed by visits from two more outstanding, award-winning writers: poet and children’s book author Richard Michelson, and novelist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet. While on campus, they will read from their work, talk with audience members, and be available to sign copies of their books. Each writer will also work with students in a master class.

The Fall Literary Festival, now in its eighteenth season, is sponsored by the University Libraries and the Department of English. The program brings three major authors to campus over the course of a few weeks. Recent visiting authors include Junot Diaz, Eliza Griswold, Susan Orlean, Ron Rash, and Colson Whitehead.

The festival is sponsored by a generous anonymous donor, allowing each program to be free and open to the public. All readings begin at 6 p.m. and are held in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, which is entered through Thomas Cooper Library.


Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes, a Columbia native, will read Thursday, October 26.

The author of five books of poetry, Hayes is one of the most original and compelling voices in American poetry today. His work explores identity, race, experience, and spirituality. Lighthead, his fourth collection, was described as a “dazzling mixture of wisdom and lyric innovation” in its National Book Award in Poetry 2010 citation. His Wind in a Box won a Pushcart Prize; Hip Logic was a winner of the National Poetry Series; and Muscular Music, won both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.

Hayes is the recipient of many other honors and awards, including a 2014 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, eight Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines, including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, and Poetry.

In early 2017, Hayes was named the new poetry editor at The New York Times Magazine. He is a professor and co-director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.


Richard Michelson

Richard Michelson will read Tuesday, October 31.

A multi-faceted author of books for children, teens, and adults, Michelson is the only writer ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals in a single year (2009) from the Association of Jewish Librarians. His books for children include As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March toward Freedom, and A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet. His most recent children’s publications include The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew (2017) and Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy (2016). Both have won Junior Library Guild Gold Medals.

Michelson’s poetry for adults explores the boundaries between the personal and the political, and the connections between history and memory. Those collections include More Money than God, Battles & Lullabies, and Tap Dancing for Relatives.

Michelson is also widely recognized as a captivating presenter and storyteller. He has traveled the world talking to children and teachers about his love of poetry and social justice. He is the owner of R. Michelson Galleries, the largest commercial art gallery in Western Massachusetts, and the host of Northampton Poetry Radio.


Lydia Millet
(Photo: Ivory Orchid Photography)

Lydia Millet will read Thursday, November 9.

A conservationist with a master’s degree in environmental policy, Millet is known for her dark sense of humor, her political bent, and her observations of modern climate and technological challenges. Her work ranges from the philosophical to the satirical, on subjects that include the discovery of mermaids in a coral reef, atom bomb inventors who time travel, and the crisis of climate change. Her first short story collection, Love in Infant Monkeys, centers on the interactions between celebrities and animals. It was one of three finalists for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize.

A prolific novelist, Millet’s 11 novels include Magnificence, How the Dead Dream, and Mermaids in Paradise. Her third, My Happy Life (2002), won the 2003 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction. Her latest is Sweet Lamb of Heaven (2016), a thriller that is equal parts political and metaphysical. She has also written novels for middle readers in the 8- to 12-year-old age group.

In 2012, Millet won a Guggenheim Fellowship in support of her fiction writing. She works as a writer and editor at the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit in Tucson, Arizona, devoted to protecting endangered species.


Hollings Library is entered through Thomas Cooper Library at 1322 Greene St., Columbia 29208. Driving and parking directions are available here.