Colson Whitehead, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and novelist and short-story writer T.C. Boyle will be among the headliners in Butler University’s Fall 2017 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

The series begins with poet Ross Gay (September 7), followed by Whitehead (September 21), poet and essayist Ocean Vuong (October 2), bestselling author Yaa Gyasi (October 16), poet Monica Youn (November 2), and Boyle (November 14).

All events begin at 7:30 PM. All are free and open to the public, but the Whitehead and Gyasi events require tickets. Tickets can be obtained beginning August 25 for Whitehead and September 15 for Gyasi at or the Clowes Memorial Hall box office.

The locations of each event are below.

For more information, call 317-940-9861.

More about each speaker follows.

Ross Gay
Thursday, September 7
Schrott Center for the Arts

Gay is the author of three books: Against Which (2006); Bringing the Shovel Down (2011); and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Ohioana Book Award, the Balcones Poetry Prize, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Gay is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook “River.” He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, and also serves as an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.

He is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. Gay has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University.

Colson Whitehead
Thursday, September 21
Schrott Center for the Arts

In addition to winning the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, Whitehead’s latest novel, The Underground Railroad, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and named best book of 2016 by nearly a dozen publications. He is also the author of The Intuitionist (1999), John Henry Days (2001), The Colossus of New York (2003), Apex Hides the Hurt (2006), Sag Harbor (2009), Zone One (2011), and The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Death (2014).

Whitehead’s reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s, and Granta. His list of awards also includes the National Book Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, A Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He has taught at the University of Houston, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, New York University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, and been a Writer-in-Residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond, and the University of Wyoming.

Ocean Vuong
Monday, October 2
Schrott Center for the Arts

Vuong is the author of the best-selling Night Sky with Exit Wounds, which won the Whiting Award, was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery award, and was a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, he has received honors from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize.

Vuong’s writings have been featured in The Atlantic, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets.  Foreign Policy magazine selected Vuong  as one of its 2016 100 Leading Global Thinkers, alongside Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon, and Warsan Shire, and he was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers.”

Yaa Gyasi
Monday, October 16
Schrott Center for the Arts

Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship.

Her New York Times bestseller, Homegoing, traces the lives of two half-sisters—one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver—and the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history.

Homegoing won the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book and the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” honors for 2016.

Monica Youn
Thursday, November 2
Robertson Hall, Johnson Room

Youn is the author of Blackacre (2016), Barter (2003), and Ignatz, which was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and The New York Times Magazine, and she has been awarded fellowships from the Library of Congress and Stanford University, among other honors. A former attorney, she now teaches poetry at Princeton University.



T.C. Boyle
Tuesday, November 14
Schrott Center for the Arts

T. Coraghessan Boyle is the author of 26 books of fiction, including After the Plague (2001), Drop City (2003), The Inner Circle (2004), Tooth and Claw (2005), The Human Fly (2005), Talk Talk (2006), The Women (2009), Wild Child (2010), When the Killing’s Done (2011), San Miguel (2012), T.C. Boyle Stories II (2013), The Harder They Come (2015) and The Terranauts (2016).

He received a Ph.D. degree in Nineteenth-Century British Literature from the University of Iowa in 1977, his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1974, and his B.A. in English and History from SUNY Potsdam in 1968. He has been a member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978, where he is Distinguished Professor of English.

His work has been translated into more than two dozen languages, and his stories have appeared in most of the major American magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, The Paris Review, GQ, Antaeus, Granta and McSweeney’s. His awards include the PEN/Faulkner Award for best novel of the year (World’s End, 1988); the PEN/Malamud Prize in the short story (T.C. Boyle Stories, 1999); and the Prix Médicis Étranger for best foreign novel in France (The Tortilla Curtain, 1997).


Media contact:
Marc Allan