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Annual Lex Allen Literary Festival

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Annual Lex Allen Literary Festival

Saturday, April 4

Frances Niederer Auditorium, Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center

  9:30 – check-in and refreshments, second floor lobby
10:30 – reading by Patricia Spears Jones
11:30 – poetry panel discussing student-submitted work
12:45 – luncheon, Moody Dining Hall (pay at the door)
  2      – reading by Inara Verzemnieks
  3:15 – reading by ZZ Packer
  4      – reception, second floor lobby

ZZ Packer’s collection of stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was a National Book Award 5 under 35 winner and was a New York Times Notable Book of 2004. She is at work on a novel about the Reconstruction and Buffalo Soldiers entitled The Thousands, an excerpt of which appeared in The New Yorker’s decennial 20 Under 40 Fiction Issue. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Story, Ploughshares, Granta, Zoetrope All-Story, Best American Short Stories 2000, Best American Short Stories 2003, and 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, The Believer, The American Prospect, The Oxford American, The Guardian, The New York Times Book Review, Newsweek Digital Online, and The New Yorker Online

Patricia Spears Jones is author of the poetry collections Painkiller, Femme du Monde, The Weather That Kills, and A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems, which features her 2017 Pushcart Prize-winning poem, “Etta James at the Audubon Ballroom.” In 2018, her poem, “Seraphim,” was included in The New Yorker’s Year in Poems. She is the 11th winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for American poets. She was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the Paterson Prize from Passaic County Community College. She is a recipient of grants and awards from the NEA, NYFA, and a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Award in 2015. Essence.com named her one of its 40 Poets They Love in 2010. Her work is widely anthologized.

Inara Verzemnieks is the author of the memoir, Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe. The book was named one of The Times’ (of London) best history books of 2018, was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and was awarded the Anšlavs Eglitis and Veronika Janelsina Literary Prize. The memoir retraces the steps of her grandmother, a war refugee, and her great-aunt, a Siberian exile, in the wake of World War II, and recounts Verzemnieks’ own journey back to the remote Latvian village where her family broke apart. A Pushcart Prize winner and the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, as well as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing, she previously worked as a newspaper journalist for 13 years. Her essays and journalism have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Tin House, The Atlantic, The Iowa Review, and Creative Nonfiction. She is a graduate of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program.

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Annual Lex Allen Literary Festival
  • 7916 Williamson Road
  • Roanoke, VA 24019
  • to
  • Hollins University
  • Free; pay for lunch at the door