Visiting Writers

Literature is a living contemporary art, and the Roanoke College English and Communication Studies Department brings to campus and into its classrooms some of the finest writers and scholars now working.  Students have had the opportunity to hear from and talk to the U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winners, best-selling authors, eminent scholars, and prominent journalists.  These visitors meet with students in their classes, participate in informal discussions, and give public presentations of their work.  The impressive list of visitors has included:  

U.S. Poets Laureate winners

  • Robert Hass (1997)
  • Ted Kooser (2006)
  • Natasha Trethewey (2006)

Best-selling novelists and nonfiction writers

  • Ernest Gaines (1998)
  • Jane Hamilton (2010)
  • Sharyn McCrumb (2008)
  • Robert Morgan (2008)
  • Sister Helen Prejean (2009)
  • DJ, Ralph, and Emily Savarese (2011)
  • Tim O'Brien (2000)

Prize-winning poets

  • Albert Goldbarth (2006)
  • Bob Hicok (2010)
  • Dorianne Laux (2009)
  • Erika Meitner (2012)
  • Gregory Orr (2002)
  • Stanley Plumly (2005)
  • Alberto Rios (1994)
  • Dave Smith (1996)
  • Rosanna Warren (2003)
  • Thorpe Moekel (2010)
  • Yusef Komanyakaa (2002)
  • Lisa Russ Sparr (2005)
  • Richard Dillard (2002)
  • Cathryn Hankla (2012)

And nationally and internationally respected critics, scholars, and journalists

  • Alan Cheuse (2007)
  • Edward Said (2002)
  • David Wyatt (2005)
  • Alan Baragona (2011)

2017-2018

The English and Communication Studies Department sponsored or co-sponsored events this year featuring guest speakers from various professional fields who spoke on an array of subjects pertinent to our majors. They include:

  • Communication Studies Alumni Panel – Jenny Boone, Joe Boucher, Hannah Cline, and MacKenzie Tyree.
  • Emma Howes (RC ’05)—literacy studies, feminist theory and pedagogy, and archival research methods and methodologies.
  • Scott Segerstrom (RC ’02)—non-profit work as executive director of Colorado Youth Corps Association
  • Maurice Ferguson—In addition to being a poet, he is the literary editor of Artemis Journal and has published in Roanoke Review, Piedmont Literary Review, Inlet, Metamorphoses and Artemis Journal. He sponsored a poetry contest for the Virginia Department of Corrections and co-edited and printed an anthology of prison poetry with Janet Lembke titled "Context Crumble.”
  • Robert Schultz—Poet, artist, and scholar, Robert Schultz had a poetry reading and art exhibit in Olin Gallery.

2018-2019

The English and Communication Studies Department sponsored or co-sponsored events this year featuring guest speakers from various professional fields who spoke on an array of subjects pertinent to our majors. They include:

  • Beth Macy—organized by Dr. Shannon Anderson (Sociology). CRWR student Q&A session with Beth Macy in the Fintel Collaborative Space.
  • Mandy Len Catron (’03)—a scholar and author of “How to Fall in Love with Anyone”. Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.
  • Joan Wages—sponsored by the Peace and Justice Studies concentration. Joan wages is an activist in ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons).
  • Clodagh Beresford Dunne—Irish poet skyped into Dr. Melanie Almeder’s Advanced Poetry class.
  • Scott Cunningham—skyped into Dr. Melanie Almeder’s fiction course to discuss his book, “Ya Te Veo.”
  • Liz Cross—poet who uses her poetry to lead creativity seminars in the nonprofit and corporate sectors. Professor Mary Hill organized her visit in spring 2019.