Tyeimba Jess performs a poetry reading at Villanova University.

A highly anticipated annual tradition, the Villanova Literary Festival takes place each spring. The festival hosts major poets and fiction writers on campus to give readings and meet with students.

Visiting fiction writers have included Jonathan Franzen, Michael Cunningham, Colson Whitehead, Chang-Rae Lee, Junot Diaz, Lydia Davis, and Diana Abu-Jaber. Poets have included Marilyn Chin, Robert Creeley, Mark Doty, and Harryette Mullen.

Sponsored by the English Department, this event reflects our commitment to celebrating and cultivating the ongoing role of literature in American life.


Villanova Literary Festival 2021

The 23rd Annual Villanova Literary Festival will take place in the spring of 2021.

In the meantime, please enjoy our back catalogue of speaker videos here.

Lit Fest 2020 Speakers

January 30: Brenda Shaughnessy

Falvey Speakers' Corner

Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, including The Octopus Museum (coming in March 2019 from Knopf); So Much Synth (2016, Copper Canyon Press); Our Andromeda (2012), which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, The International Griffin Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award.  Her work has appeared in Best American PoetryHarpers, The New York Times, The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere.

Brenda Shaughnessy

February 20:  Dinaw Mengestu

Connolly Center, Radnor/St David

Dinaw Mengestu is the award-winning author of two previous novels, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007) and How to Read the Air (2010). He is a graduate of Georgetown University and of Columbia University’s M.F.A. program in fiction and the recipient of a 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation and a 20 Under 40 award from The New Yorker. His journalism and fiction have appeared in such publications as Harper’s Magazine, Granta, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. He is a recipient of a 2012 MacArthur Foundation genius grant and currently lives in New York City.

Dinaw Mengestu

March 24: Bryan Washington

Falvey Speakers' Corner

Bryan Washington is a writer from Houston. His fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times MagazineThe New Yorker, The New York Times Style Magazine, BuzzFeed, the BBCVultureThe Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, MUNCHIES, American Short Fiction, GQ, FADER, The Awl, Hazlitt, and Catapult, where he wrote a column called “Bayou Diaries”. He’s also a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 winner, and the the recipient of an O. Henry Award.

Bryan Washington

April 21: Robin Coste-Lewis

Falvey Speakers' Corner

Robin Coste-Lewis is the poet laureate of Los Angeles. In 2015, her debut poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus (Knopf) won the National Book Award in poetry––the first time a poetry debut by an African-American had ever won the prize in the National Book Foundation’s history, and the first time any debut had won the award since 1974. Lewis’s writing has appeared in various journals and anthologies, such as Time Magazine, The New Yorker, the New York Times, The Paris Review, Transition, and Best American Poetry.

Robin Coste-Lewis

Villanova University
Department of English
St. Augustine Center
Room 402

Department Chair
Professor Heather Hicks