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.

Please enjoy our back catalogue of speaker videos here.

Lit Fest 2023 Speakers

February 23: Mary O'Donoghue

7 PM, The President's Lounge

Mary O'Donoghue is a short story writer, novelist, poet, and translator of Irish-language poetry. She is the author of the novel Before the House Burns (The Lilliput Press, 2010) and the poetry collections Among These Winters (Dedalus Press, 2007) and Tulle (Salmon Poetry, 2001). Her fiction has appeared in many US and European publications: Subtropics, The Common, Granta, Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Irish Times, Sunday Times UK, Stinging Fly, Dublin Review, and elsewhere. Her translations are published in Leabhar na hAthghabhála/ Poems of Repossession (Bloodaxe Books/Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2016) and Seán Ó Ríordáin Selected Poems (Yale University Press, 2014). She is Fiction Editor at the literary journal AGNI.

The writer Mary O'Donoghue looking to camera

March 16: Tsering Lama

7 PM, Falvey Speakers' Corner

Tsering Yangzom Lama’s debut novel, We Measure the Earth with our Bodies, is a New York Times Summer Reads Pick and a finalist for The Scotiabank Giller Prize, and longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and The Toronto Book Award. She holds an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and a BA in Creative Writing and International Relations from the University of British Columbia. Tsering’s writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Malahat Review, Grain, Kenyon Review, Vela, LaLit, and Himal SouthAsian, as well as the anthologies Old Demons New Deities: 21 Short Stories from Tibet; House of Snow: An Anthology of the Greatest Writing About Nepal; and Brave New Play Rites.

The writer Tsering Lama backed by full bookshelves

March 30: Donika Kelly

7 PM, Falvey Speakers' Corner

Donika Kelly is the author of The Renunciations (Graywolf), winner of the Anisfield-Wolf book award in poetry, and Bestiary (Graywolf), the winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Kelly’s poetry has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Publishing Triangle Awards, the Lambda Literary Awards, and longlisted for the National Book Award.  A Cave Canem graduate fellow and member of the collective Poets at the End of the World, she has also received a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a summer workshop fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center. She earned an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University. Her poems have been published in The New YorkerThe AtlanticThe Paris Review, and elsewhere.

Poet Donika Kelly looking at camera

April 18:  Steph Cha

7 PM, Falvey Speakers' Corner

Steph Cha is the author of Your House Will Pay, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the California Book Award, and the Juniper Song crime trilogy. She’s a critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she served as noir editor, and is the current series editor of the Best American Mystery & Suspense anthology. A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her family.

The author Steph Cha looking to camera

Villanova University
Department of English
St. Augustine Center
Room 402

Department Chair
Professor Heather Hicks