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Twelfth-Annual Villanova Literary Festival Kicks Off Feb. 1

Speakers include award-winning poet Terrence Hayes, Philadelphia author Eleanor Wilner

VILLANOVA, Pa., Jan. 21, 2011 – For the 12th year, a diverse group of renowned writers will give readings during the Villanova University Department of English’s annual Literary Festival, a semester-long celebration of literature featuring five novelists and poets from across the globe.

Guests include novelist Colum McCann, whose short film “Everything in This Country Must” was nominated for an Oscar in 2005, and Saigon-born Monique Truong, whose second novel, “Bitter in the Mouth,” was recently released by Random House. All of the authors will read from their work during the festival events, which are free and open to the public. Each of the following readings will take place at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception and book-signing:

Feb. 1:  Fiction writer Monique Truong

Feb. 17:  Poet Terrance Hayes

March 10:  Fiction writer Colum McCann

March 24:  Poet Eleanor Wilner

April 12:  Fiction writer John Haskell

Monique Truong was born in Saigon and lives in New York City. Her second novel, Bitter in the Mouth, was recently released by Random House and focuses on Linda Hammerick, a young woman with a unique secret sense – she can “taste” words. Her first novel, The Book of Salt, was a New York Times Notable Book. It won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award and the 7th Annual Asian American Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and Britain's Guardian First Book Award. She is the recipient of the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship, Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. 

Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead (Penguin, 2010), which has been short-listed for the 2010 National Book Award; Wind in a Box (2006); Hip Logic (2002), which won the 2001 National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and Muscular Music (1999), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has been a recipient of many honors and awards, including a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, three Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. Born in Columbia, S.C., Hayes received his bachelor of arts degree from Coker College in Hartsville, S.C., and an M.F.A. from the University of Pittsburgh writing program. He is a professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and lives in Pittsburgh, Pa., with his family.

Colum McCann is the author of Let the Great World Spin, which won the 2009 National Book Award for fiction. His is also the internationally bestselling author of the novels Zoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness and Songdogs, as well as two critically acclaimed story collections. He has been a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was the inaugural winner of the Ireland Fund of Monaco Literary Award in Memory of Princess Grace. Named Esquire’s “Best and Brightest Young Novelist” in 2003, McCann’s fiction has been published in 30 languages. His short film “Everything in This Country Must” was nominated for an Oscar in 2005. A contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly and The Paris Review, McCann teaches in the Hunter College MFA Creative Writing Program. He lives in New York City with his wife and their three children.

Eleanor Wilner has published six collections of poems, most recently The Girl with Bees in Her Hair (Copper Canyon, 2004); Reversing the Spell: New and Selected Poems (1998); and Otherwise (University of Chicago, 1993). Her other works include a verse translation of Euripides's Medea (Penn Greek Series, 1998); and a book on visionary imagination, Gathering the Winds (Johns Hopkins Press, 1975).  Her work has appeared in more than 30 anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1990 and The Norton Anthology of Poetry (Fourth Edition). Wilner has been the recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Juniper Prize, and two Pushcart Prizes. Former editor of The American Poetry Review, she is currently an Advisory Editor of Calyx. She has taught, most recently, at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and Smith College.  She is currently on the faculty of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and lives in Philadelphia. Born in Ohio, Wilner holds an interdepartmental Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

John Haskell is the author of Out of My Skin, American Purgatorio and the short-story collection I Am Not Jackson Pollock.  His stories have appeared in numerous publications, including, A Public Space, and n+1. A contributor to the radio program “The Next Big Thing,” Haskell lives in Brooklyn.

For more information about the Villanova Literary Festival, please contact the Department of English at (610) 519-4630.