23rd Annual Villanova University Literary Festival Features National Book Award Winner Robin Coste-Lewis
Every year, award-winning poets, novelists, and playwrights present lectures and readings to the community as part of the annual Villanova Literary Festival. This year, the festival will be held online and will feature Brenda Shaughnessy, Bryan Washington, Hannah Khalil and Robin Coste-Lewis.
February 11: Brenda Shaughnessy
7 p.m. Zoom
Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, including The Octopus Museum (March 2019, Knopf); So Much Synth (2016, Copper Canyon Press); and Our Andromeda (2012, Copper Canyon Press), 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 Poetry, Harpers, The New York Times, The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere.
Feb 25: Bryan Washington
7 p.m., Zoom
Bryan Washington is a writer from Houston. His fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times Style Magazine, BuzzFeed, the BBC, Vulture, The 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 is also a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 winner, and the recipient of an O. Henry Award.
March 25-28: Hannah Khalil
5 p.m., Zoom
Palestinian Irish writer and playwright Hannah Khalil holds the Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies for Spring 2021 at Villanova University. Khalil’s current work includes a new play for the students of Central School of Speech and Drama called The Censor or How to Put on a Political Play without being arrested. Khalil’s theatre work includes A Museum in Baghdad, which opened at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre in 2019; Interference for The National Theatre of Scotland; The Scar Test for London’s Soho Theatre; and Scenes from 68* Years for London’s Arcola Theatre. Along with her theater work, Khalil has written numerous radio plays, including The Unwelcome, Last of the Pearl Fishers and The Deportation Room, all for BBC Radio 4. Her television work includes multiple episodes of the BBC Channel 4 drama Hollyoaks.
April 8: Robin Coste-Lewis
7 p.m., Zoom
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’ 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.
The Villanova Literary Festival is a highly anticipated tradition that occurs each spring. Sponsored by the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the event reflects the English Department’s commitment to celebrating and cultivating the ongoing role of literature in American life.
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 challenging 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.