Novelists Jonathan Franzen, Kaui Hart Hemmings and Zadie Smith, and Screenwriters David Levien and Brian Koppelman, are among the headliners for Butler University’s fall 2014 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Tracy K. Smith opens the series on September 17. She will be followed by Hemmings (September 30), Poet Carl Phillips (October 7), Levien and Koppelman (October 21), Franzen (October 28), Poet Mary Szybist (November 5), and Smith (November 11).

Admission to all events in the series is free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

More information about each speaker follows.

Tracy K Smith photo at speaker's podiumTracy K. Smith
September 17, 7:30 p.m.
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

Smith is the author of three books of poetry: The Body’s Question (2003), which won the Cave Canem prize for the best first book by an African-American poet; Duende (2007), winner of the James Laughlin Award and the Essense Literary Award; and Life on Mars (2011), which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She earned her BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. From 1997 to 1999, she held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Smith teaches creative writing at Princeton University.

Kaui Hart Hemmings at podiumKaui Hart Hemmings
September 30, 7:30 p.m.
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

Hemmings is the Author of The Descendants, which was made into a movie starring George Clooney, and The Possibilities, which is currently being adapted for film by Ivan Reitman. She also wrote the collection of stories House of Thieves. She has degrees from Colorado College and Sarah Lawrence College. A former Wallace Stegner fellow, she now lives in Hawaii.

Carl Phillips at mikeCarl Phillips
October 7, 7:30 p.m.
Robertson Hall, Johnson Board Room

Carl Phillips’s books of poetry include Silverchest (2013), Double Shadow (2012), Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems 1986-2006 (2007), and Riding Westward (2006). His 2004 collection, The Rest of Love, won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

His work has been anthologized in The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (2003), Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology (2002), Contemporary American Poetry (2001), The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (2000), and Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time (1988).

Phillips is Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also teaches in the Creative Writing Program.

Levien and Koppelman head shots with backgroundDavid Levien and Brian Koppelman
October 21, 7:30 p.m.
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

Screenwriters David Levien and Brian Koppelman wrote the screenplays for Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), Runaway Jury (2003), and Rounders (1998). As a novelist, Levien has published the Frank Behr novels City of the Sun, Where the Dead Lay, and 13 Million Dollar Pop. He studied at the University of Michigan. Koppelman, son of producer and media executive Charles Koppelman, was an artist and repertoire representative from 1988-1997 for such companies as Elektra Records, Giant Records, SBK Records and EMI Records, during which time he discovered singer songwriter Tracy Chapman and executive-produced her first album.

Jonathan-Franzen-head shotJonathan Franzen
October 28, 7:30 p.m.
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University

In 2010, Jonathan Franzen was the first author since Stephen King to appear on the cover of Time magazine, where he was called the “Great American Novelist.”  He is the author of four novels (Freedom, The Corrections, Strong Motion, and The Twenty-Seventh City), two collections of essays (Farther Away, How to Be Alone), a personal history (The Discomfort Zone), and a translation of Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening.  He has won the National Book Award for Fiction, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  His essays on literature have appeared in Harper’s and the New Yorker.

Mary Szybist podiumMary Szybist
November 5, 7:30 p.m.
Robertson Hall, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall

Mary Szybist’s first collection of poetry, Granted (2003), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Associations New Writers Award.  Her second book, Incarnadine (2013), won the National Book Award for Poetry. She is also the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Pushcart Prize in 2012. She is an Associate Professor of English at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon, and is a member of the faculty at the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.

Zadie-Smith at microphoneZadie Smith
November 11, 7:30 p.m.
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

British writer Zadie Smith has published four critically acclaimed novels, NW (2012), On Beauty (2005), The Autograph Man (2002), and White Teeth (2000), as well as the 2013 novella The Embassy of Cambodia. In 2003 and again in 2013, she was included on Granta’s list of 20 best young authors. Smith won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2006, and White Teeth was on TIME magazine’s list of 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. She teaches in New York University’s Creative Writing Program.


Media contact:
Marc Allan