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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Raymond Carver Reading Series

The Raymond Carver Reading Series features twelve to fourteen prominent writers yearly as part of a large undergraduate class taught by TAs from the Creative Writing Program. The readings have an extended question-and-answer session along with a reading. Recent authors include Chanelle Benz, Bryan Washington, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Sigrid Nunez, Yiyun Li, and Robert Lopez.

Due to the generous support of Leonard and Elise Elman two distinguished authors each year spend two-day residencies at SU: the Richard Elman Visiting Writer and the Leonard and Elise Elman Visiting Writer. Learn more about Leonard in his interview with Rob Enslin.

Past readings have been recorded and are in the process of being made available online by Bird Library at SUrface.

Normally these readings take place in Gifford Auditorium on Syracuse University’s main campus and are open to the public, but because of the global-health situation the Spring 2021 Reading Series will be conducted virtually. If you are interested in a Zoom invitation to a particular reading, please contact Sarah Harwell at

All readings begin at 5:00 p.m. and are preceded by a question-and-answer session that begins at 4:00 p.m.

Spring 2021 Writers

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Kirstin Valdez Quade

February 24, 2021

Photo by Maggie Shipstead

Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of Night at the Fiestas, which won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. It was a New York Times Notable Book and was named a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association. She is the recipient of the John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Her first novel, The Five Wounds, will be published in April 2021. Before joining the faculty at Princeton, she taught at Stanford University and the University of Michigan.

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Valeria Luiselli

March 10, 2021

Photo by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (used with permission)

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa, and India. The recipient of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship, she is the author of the novels Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth, and Lost Children Archive, and the books of essays Sidewalks and Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, and an American Book Award, and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, the Booker Prize, and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She has taught at Bard College since 2019 and lives in New York City.

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Ilya Kaminsky, the Elise and Leonard Elman Visiting Writer

March 24, 2021

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. He is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press) and Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press). He has also co-edited and co-translated many other books, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins) and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (Alice James Books). His awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, Lannan Foundation's Fellowship and the NEA Fellowship. Dancing In Odessa was named the Best Book of the Year by Foreword magazine. Deaf Republic was a finalist for 2019 National Book Award, Forward Prize (UK) and T.S. Eliot Prize (UK). Currently, he holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry at Georgia Institute of Technology and lives in Atlanta.

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Percival Everett, the Richard Elman Visiting Writer

April 7, 2021

Percival Everett is the author of more than thirty novels and story collections, including Telephone, So Much Blue, Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, and Erasure. Everett has won the Dos Passos Prize, the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction, the 2010 Believer Book Award, the Premio Gregor von Rezzori, a Creative Capital Award, and the Academy Award in Literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. The recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship, Everett is currently a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

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Nicole Sealey

April 28, 2021

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast, finalist for the PEN Open Book and Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Nam ed, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her honors include a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, and a Poetry International Prize, as well as fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, Cave Canem, MacDowell, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2018, The New Yorker, the Paris Review and elsewhere. Formerly the executive director at Cave Canem Foundation, she is the 2020–21 Distinguished Visiting Poet in Syracuse University’s M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing.

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Brooks Haxton

May 12, 2021

Brooks Haxton has published eight books of original poems, one book of creative nonfiction, and four books of translations from French, German, and Classical Greek. Some of his most recent books are They Lift Their Wings to Cry (a collection of poems from Knopf), Fading Hearts on the River (nonfiction from Counterpoint Press) and My Blue Piano (translations of poems by Else Lasker-Schüler from Syracuse University Press). His ninth collection of poems, Mister Toebones, will be published by Knopf in March 2021. He has received awards, fellowships, and grants of support for original poetry, translation, and scriptwriting from the NEA, NEH, Guggenheim Foundation, and others. He has taught at Syracuse University since 1993.