A.K. Smith Visiting Scholars Series Begins September 25 with Beth Barton Schweiger

Trinity College English Department Also Hosting Allan K. Smith Reading Series

Hartford, Connecticut, September 25, 2017 – The Trinity College English Department will open its A.K. Smith Visiting Scholars Series on Monday, September 25, with Beth Barton Schweiger. The talk, titled “A Literate South: Why Readers Mattered Before Emancipation,” will be held in the Smith House’s Reese Room at 4:30 p.m. A light reception will follow the lecture.

Schweiger is a social and cultural historian of nineteenth-century America. She has written on the history of religion, literacy, and the history of the book, and has recently completed A Literate South: Reading and Ordinary Culture Before Emancipation. Schweiger’s work has been support-ed by many institutions, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, Yale University, Cambridge University, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Huntington Library. She lives in greater Seattle, where she is a scholar and consultant.

The A.K. Smith Visiting Scholars Series will continue on November 9 with Randall Horton, who is an assistant professor of English at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and the au-thor of The Definition of Place (2006) and The Lingua Franca of Ninth Street (2009). He is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award, and a Na-tional Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship. 

The Allan K. Smith Reading Series begins on Thursday, October 5, with Tiphanie Yanique. The readings in this series take place at 4.30 p.m. in the Smith House’s Reese Room. All readings are free and open to the public. A reception and book-signing will follow each event.

Yanique is the author of the poetry collection Wife, the novel Land of Love and Drowning, and a collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony. Yanique’s awards include the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for poetry, the Forward/Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection of poetry, the Phillis Wheatley Award for Pan-African Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award. Originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Yanique is an associate professor in the English Department at Wesleyan Univer-sity, where she also directs the Creative Writing Program.

The reading series will continue with novelist Roxana Robinson on Thursday, October 19. Robin-son is the author of nine books: five novels, including Cost; three collections of short stories; and the biography Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bookforum, The Best American Short Stories, Tin House, and elsewhere. She teaches in the Hunter College M.F.A. Program and divides her time between New York, Connecticut, and Maine. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation and is president of the Authors Guild.

Poet Phillis Levin will be welcomed on Tuesday, November 14. Levin is the author of the poetry collections Mr. Memory & Other Poems, Temples and Fields, The Afterimage, Mercury, and May Day. She is also the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English. Her honors include the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar Award to Slovenia, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a Bogliasco Fellowship, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a professor of English and the poet-in-residence at Hofstra University.

The series will conclude with poet Afaa Michael Weaver on Thursday, December 7. Weaver’s poetry collections include Water Song, The Ten Lights of God, The Government of Nature, and City of Eternal Spring. His honors include a Fulbright Scholar Award to Taiwan, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Foundation, and the Kingsley Tufts Po-etry Award. He was the first “elder” of the Cave Canem organization and was given the name “Afaa,” which means “oracle,” by Nigerian playwright Tess Onwueme. A lifelong student of Chinese culture, Weaver received the Gold Friendship Medal in 2005 from the Chinese Writers Association for his work with Chinese poets.