Skip to main content
150 Years of Impact

Syracuse Announces Fall Carver Reading Series

Mary Karr, Tom Sleigh, Elissa Schappell among guest readers

Aug 25, 2015 — Article by: Rob Enslin

Photo of Steve Kuusisto

Stephen Kuusisto

The Department of English in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce the Fall 2015 Raymond Carver Reading Series.

The series, which brings 12-14 prominent writers to campus each year, is presented by the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing, in conjunction with the “Living Writers” undergraduate course (ETS 107). The series takes place on Wednesdays in Gifford Auditorium of Huntington Beard Crouse Hall, starting with a Q&A at 3:45 p.m., followed by an author reading at 5:30 p.m.  All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Sarah Harwell G’05, associate director of the M.F.A. program, at

The fall lineup is as follows: poet and memoirist Stephen Kuusisto, Sept. 16; poet Tom Sleigh, Sept. 30; novelist Daniel Torday G’07, Oct. 14; poet and memoirist Mary Karr H’15, Nov. 4; novelist Dinaw Mengestu, Nov. 18; and novelist Elissa Schappell, Dec. 9.

“The fall series has something for everybody—readings by two highly distinguished Syracuse professors, a successful alumnus, and three other luminaries in the field,” Harwell says. “Having the opportunity to hear from and interact with them, particularly in such an intimate setting, is not to be missed.”

The Carver Series is named for the legendary poet and short-story writer who taught in the M.F.A. program, prior to his death in 1988.

Stephen Kuusisto
Wednesday, Sept. 16

Kuusisto holds multiple appointments at Syracuse, including director of The Renée Crown University Honors Program and professor of disability studies in the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies in the School of Education. He is an accomplished speaker and writer, as evidenced by his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline, and National Public Radio, and his publications in The New York Times and Harper’s magazines. Blind since birth, Kuusisto is the author of Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening (W.W. Norton & Co., 2006); the poetry collection Only Bread, Only Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2000); and Planet of the Blind (Delta, 1998), a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year.” He is currently working on another poetry collection, titled Morning with Borges.

Photo of Tom Sleigh

Tom Sleigh

Tom Sleigh: The Leonard and Elise Elman Visiting Writer
Wednesday, Sept. 30

Sleigh is the author of eight books of poetry, including Army Cats (Graywolf Press, 2011) and Space Walk (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007), winners of the prestigious John Updike and Kingsley Tufts awards, respectively. His prose and poetry are widely anthologized, and appear in numerous mainstream publications, including The New Yorker and The Atlantic. He is the director and senior poet of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at Hunter College of The City University of New York.
Photo of Daniel Torday

Daniel Torday G'07

Daniel Torday G’07
Wednesday, Oct. 14

Torday is the author of the novels The Last Flight of Poxl West (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) and The Sensualist (Nouvella Books, 2012), the latter of which is winner of the National Jewish Book Award for “Outstanding Debut Fiction.” His stories and essays have appeared in such major outlets as The New York Times, Esquire, and Paris Review Daily. A former Esquire editor, he is an editor at the Kenyon Review, and is director of the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College, near Philadelphia.
Photo of Mary Karr

Mary Karr H'15

Mary Karr H’15
Wednesday, Nov. 4

Karr is the Jesse Truesdell Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse, where she delivered the 2015 Commencement Address in May. She is the author of three best-selling memoirs, Lit (Harper, 2009), Cherry (Viking, 2000), and The Liars’ Club (Viking, 1995), and four critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including Sinners Welcome (Harper, 2006). Her latest book is The Art of Memoir (Harper, 2015). Karr has served as the weekly poetry editor of The Washington Post’s “Book World,” and has released Kin: Songs by Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell (Vanguard, 2012).

Photo of Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu: The Donald MacNaughton Distinguished Author
Wednesday, Nov. 18

Mengestu is the author of the critically acclaimed novels All Our Names (Knopf, 2014), How to Read the Air (Riverhead Books, 2010), and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead Books, 2007). The Ethiopian-born writer is also a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and Harper’s Magazine. Mengestu teaches English at Brooklyn College and Georgetown University, where, at the latter, he has held the Lannan Foundation Chair of Poetics. He has received major awards from the MacArthur Foundation, National Book Foundation, and The New Yorker.

Photo of Elissa Schappell

Elissa Schappell

Elissa Schappell
Wednesday, Dec. 9

Schappell is the author of two award-winning novels: Blueprints for Building Better Girls (Simon & Schuster, 2011) and Use Me (William Morrow & Co., 2000), the latter of which was a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year” and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction. She is a longtime columnist and contributing editor for Vanity Fair, a former senior editor of The Paris Review, and co-founder and editor-at-large of Tin House magazine. Her fiction, nonfiction, and criticism have appeared in various publications, including The New York Times Book Review and Spin. She teaches creative writing at Columbia University and Queens University of Charlotte (N.C.).
Contact Information

Rob Enslin