Three distinguished authors will be on campus April 4-5,
2013 for Agnes Scott College’s 42nd Annual Writers’ Festival, the oldest
continuous literary event in Georgia. The 2013 visiting authors are Gish Jen, award-winning
novelist; Cristina Garcia, a Cuban-American novelist and poet and National Book
Award finalist; and Agnes Scott alumna Anjail Ahmad, a poet, teacher and
Held annually since 1972, Agnes Scott’s Writers’ Festival
brings nationally acclaimed writers to campus in an atmosphere of community
with student writers from the colleges and universities of Georgia. Past
visiting writers to the festival include Eudora Welty, Julia Alvarez, Anita
Desai, Junot Diaz, Suzan-Lori Parks, Percival Everett, Paul Muldoon, Joyce
Carol Oates, Richard Wilbur, Michael S. Harper and Marsha Norman ’69x, H’05.
While on campus,
distinguished authors give public readings, award prizes in the festival’s
statewide literary competition and conduct workshops for finalists in the
competition. Each year, student writers from Georgia colleges and universities
submit their fiction, poetry, personal essays and one-act plays to the Writers’
Festival contest. The college received a record breaking 523 entries last year
from about 150 students and also received entries from students representing a
record number of colleges (21). The deadline for entries for the 2013 Writers’
Festival contest is Dec. 3. For more info, visit http://www.agnesscott.edu/about/events/writers-festival/creative-writing-competition.html.
Chinese-American novelist Gish Jen is the author of numerous
award-winning books, including the novels World
and Town, Mona In the Promised Land,
The Love Wife and Typical American, and the collection of
stories, Who's Irish?. World and Town (2011), which follows
themes as ambitious as globalization, fundamentalism, immigration, and America
in the aftermath of Sept. 11, won the Massachusetts Book Award, was a NY Times Editors’ Choice, and was a
finalist for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Typical
American was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Tiger
Writing: Art, Culture and the Interdependent Self, a collection of her Massey
Lectures at Harvard, will be published by Harvard University Press in 2013.
Jen has become an authority on themes of identity in
fiction. Her novels often portray individuals, families, and entire communities
struggling with questions of race, religion, and upbringing—asking us, in
short, what it means to identify as American. Her second novel, Mona in the Promised Land (Vintage,
1997), features a Chinese-American who converts to Judaism, while The Love Wife (2005) portrays an
interracial Asian-American family with both biological and adopted children.
"As soon as you ask yourself the question, 'What does it mean to be
Irish-American, Iranian-American, Greek-American,' you are American," she
A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jen
is also the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim foundation, Radcliffe
Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was awarded a Lannan
Literary Award in Fiction in 1999 as well as the Mildred and Harold Strauss
Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has appeared in
the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and Best American Short Stories of the Century,
edited by John Updike.
García is the author of five novels: Dreaming in Cuban, The Agüero
Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck and The Lady Matador’s Hotel. García has
edited two anthologies, Cubanísimo: The
Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature and Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a
Literature. Two works for young readers, The Dog Who Loved the Moon and I Wanna Be Your Shoebox were published in 2008. A collection of
poetry, The Lesser Tragedy of Death,
was published in 2010. Her recent young adult novel, Dreams of Significant Girls, is set in a Swiss boarding school in
Garcia’s forthcoming novel, to be published in May 2013, is King of Cuba, a darkly comic novel
featuring a fictionalized Fidel Castro, an octogenarian Miami exile and a
rabble of Cuban voices.
García’s work has been nominated for a National Book Award
and translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim
Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton
University, and an NEA grant, among others. Recently, Garcia was a Visiting
Professor at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin
and teaches at Texas Tech University most spring semesters. This past fall,
Garcia was a Visiting Professor at the University of Miami and is currently
University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos.
Ahmad is associate professor of English and director of
creative writing at North Carolina A & T University. She graduated from
Agnes Scott in English and Creative Writing in 1992 and received an MFA from
New York University in 1994 and a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from
the University of Missouri- Columbia in 2003.
Her publications include two volumes of poetry, necessary kindling (2001) and the color of memory (1997). Her poems have also appeared in The Black Scholar, African American Review, All
That Jazz, Ikon, Midlands, O'Henry Magazine, PLUCK, Obsidian III, Estuary Journal and other journals. Her current work includes two
new volumes, when i was your angel
(poetry and prose) and at the edge of the
dusky world: poems of witness, which explores poetry, music, and blindness.
She has won the Margaret Walker Alexander Award for Poetry of the College
Language Association and has been awarded residencies at the Headland Center
for the Arts and Wildacres Retreat.
Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location – offering myriad cultural and experiential learning opportunities. A diverse and growing residential community of scholars, this highly selective liberal arts and sciences college is known for its dynamic and challenging intellectual community. Encouraging students to engage the wider world through study abroad and presenting its curriculum with international context, Agnes Scott College delivers on its promise: The World. For Women.