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Villanova University’s 20th Annual Literary Festival kicks off with Pulitzer Prize winner

Lineup includes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess and memoirist Ariel Levy, author of New York Times bestseller The Rules Do Not Apply


VILLANOVA, Pa. – For the past two decades, the Villanova University Literary Festival has brought award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights to campus. The semester-long event, co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Creative Writing Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, kicks off Jan. 30 with a visit from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess.

Throughout the spring 2018 semester, prominent writers will present lectures and readings to the Villanova community. All events start at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Each presentation will be followed by a reception and book signing.

The following is a full schedule of events:

Tyehimba Jess

Jan. 30: Tyehimba Jess
Connelly Center Cinema

Tyehimba Jess won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry with his collection Olio, an interactive, multi-voiced, multi-narrative chronicle of the lives of 19th century African-American artists and entertainers. His first collection, Leadbelly, an exploration of the blues musician Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter’s life, won the 2004 National Poetry Series.

Leslie Nneka Arimah

Feb. 15: Lesley Nneka Arimah
Speaker’s Corner, Falvey Library

Lesley Nneka Arimah is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, winner of the 2017 Kirkus Prize.

Collette Bryce

March 15: Colette Bryce
Presidents’ Lounge, Connelly Center

Colette Bryce is an award-winning poet from Northern Ireland and the author of four poetry collections. Her most recent collection is titled Selected Poems.

Zinzi Clemmons

April 5: Zinzi Clemmons
Speaker’s Corner, Falvey Library

A Philadelphia local, Zinzi Clemmons is the author of What We Lose, which The Atlantic calls “A striking novel about filial grief.” She is co-founder and former publisher of the journal Apogee and contributing editor to

Ariel Levy

April 24: Ariel Levy

Speaker's Corner, Falvey Library

A staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, Ariel Levy is author of the acclaimed memoir The Rules Do Not Apply, a New York Times bestseller, as well as Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:  Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world.  With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.