Visiting Writers

A pair of fine endowments--Coal Royalty and the Bankhead Foundation--enables us to bring visiting writers of national and international reputation as well as up-and-comers to UA. The diversity of the visiting population adds immeasurably to the stimulation and criticism student writers receive.

Coal Royalty Chairholders

Every semester, writers of national reputation are in residence for several days. Chairholders give readings, lead master classes, give craft talks, and interact with students at meals, receptions, and conferences.

The Bankhead Visiting Writers Series

Nationally known poets and prose writers have been coming to Tuscaloosa to read from their work since 1972. Each year, the Bankhead Visiting Writers Series brings writers to campus for readings and generative workshops. 

John Estes and L. Lamar Wilson (Bankhead New Faculty Reading)

Reading: Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Sella-Granata Gallery at University of Alabama

John Estes joined the faculty in 2016 and directs the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program. He studied poetics and ecological literature at the University of Missouri, and is author of three books of poetry—Kingdom Come (C&R Press, 2011), Stop Motion Still Life (Wordfarm, forthcoming) and Sure Extinction (forthcoming), which won the 2015 Antivenom Award from Elixir Press—as well as two chapbooks: Breakfast with Blake at the Laocoön (Finishing Line Press, 2007) and Swerve, which won a 2008 National Chapbook Fellowship from the Poetry Society of America. Works-in-progress include a collection of short fictions, a book-length poem, and at least one overdue essay.

L. Lamar Wilson’s first collection, Sacrilegion, was the 2012 selection for the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series, a 2013 Independent Publisher Group bronze medalist, and a 2013 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry finalist. In 2014, he co-authored Prime: Poetry and Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press) with the Phantastique Five, which was heralded twice by The Poetry Foundation. Wilson's scholarly research focuses on moments of sexual and gender transgression fashioned by black writers in canonical and lesser-known African American elegiac texts from the mid-eighteenth century to the dawn of the Black Arts Movement, when androcentrism shifted the focus of African American literary historiography. The Florida A&M University alumnus also holds an MFA from Virginia Tech and is completing a doctorate in African American and multiethnic American poetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 


The Conversation (Bankhead Visiting Writers Series)

Open Lecture: Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 7 p.m. 

Morgan Hall 301 at University of Alabama

Reading: Wednesday, October 19 @ 7 p.m. 

Smith Hall, Room 205

Post-reading Reception: Band of Brothers Brewery 

1605 23rd Avenue, Tuscaloosa AL 35401


T Cooper (Bankhead Visiting Writers Series)

Reading: Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Greensboro Room inside The Bama Theatre

600 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa, AL

T Cooper is the author of eight books, including the bestselling historical novel Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes (Penguin). His most recent solo book is Real Man Adventures (McSweeney's), which is a mostly nonfiction but actually multi-genre meditation on the subject of masculinity. Cooper is currently writing and directing a feature-length documentary entitled Man Made, and also writes for television (The Get Down from Netflix, and Copper on BBC America).


Helen MacDonald (Coal Royalty Chairholder)

Reading: Thursday, January 26, 2017, 7 p.m.

Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center

620 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa, AL

Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator, historian, and naturalist, and an affiliated research scholar at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. H Is for Hawk won The Samuel Johnson Prize in 2014 and the overall Costa Prize in 2015 having won in its category. It will be published in over twenty countries and has been a number one bestseller in the UK and the US.


Molly Gaudry (Bankhead Visiting Writer)

Reading: Friday, February 24, 2017, 7 p.m. 

The Historic Drish House

2300 17th Street, Tuscaloosa, AL

Molly Gaudry is the author of We Take Me Apart, which was shortlisted for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil and named 2nd finalist for the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. She teaches at the Yale Writers' Conference and is the founder of Lit Pub. 


Jess Row (Coal Royalty Chairholder)

Reading: Monday, February 27, 2017, 7 p.m.

Paul R. Jones Gallery

2308 Sixth St.

Jess Row is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Your Face in Mine and two collections of short stories, The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. He's received a Whiting Writers Award, a PEN/O. Henry Award, an NEA fellowship, and a Guggenheim fellowship for 2016. His current projects are a new novel and a book of essays about race and American fiction, White Flights.


Ross Gay (Coal Royalty Chairholder)

Reading: Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 7 p.m.

The Bama Theater, Greensboro Room

600 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa, AL

Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude is currently a nominee for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award.  Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Balcones Poetry Prize, and it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.  Ross teaches at Indiana University.  


Joyelle McSweeney (Bankhead Visiting Writer)

Reading: Thursday, April 6, 2017, 7 p.m.

Gorgas Library, Room 205

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Joyelle McSweeney is the author of more than eight books of poetry, prose, plays, and criticism. Her most recent volumes are The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults a work of goth ecopoetics published by the University of Michigan Poets on Poetry series in 2015, and Dead Youth, or, the Leaks, which won the inaugural Leslie Scalapino Prize for Innovative Women Performance Artists (Litmus, 2014). With Johannes Göransson and a rotating cast of student editorial assistants she edits the international press Action Books. She teaches at the University of Notre Dame.


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Past Coal Royalty and Bankhead Visitors

Videos of past Bankhead Visiting Writers Series readings on YouTube

Audio podcasts of past Bankhead Visiting Writers Series readings on iTunes U

Semester to year-long residents have included: Claudia Keelan, Rikki Ducornet, Patricia Henley, Jean Valentine, Bei Dao, Lynn Emanuel, Donald Revell, Mary Ruefle, Bill Knott, Joel Brouwer, Charlie Smith, Cris Mazza, Tomaz Salamun, Karen Volkman, Don Belton, Wilton Barnhart, Mary Swander, John Keeble, Beverly Lowry, David Wojahn, Craig Nova, Andrew Hudgins, Lyn Hejinian, Kent Nelson, Deirdre McNamer, Carolyn Kizer, George Garrett, Ted Solataroff, Greg Pape, Brendan Galvin, Robert Reeves, Heather McHugh, Mark Costello, Cornelius Eady, Richard Yates, George Starbuck, Desmond Hogan, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Harper, Russell Banks, Jack Gilbert, Andre Dubus, Margaret Atwood, Gerald Stern, James Tate, Wright Morris.

Two-day to two-week visitors have included: Tamas Aczel, Charles Alexander, Aldo Alvarez, M. T. Anderson, Ralph Angel, David Antin, Rae Armantrout, Peter Balakian, Jim Barnes, Quan Barry, John Barth, Charles Baxter, Dan Beachy-Quick, Madison Smartt Bell, Aimee Bender, Pinckney Benedict, Charles Bernstein, Jake Berry, Carol Bly, Marianne Boruch, David Bottoms, Jenny Boully, Kate Braverman, Karen Brennan, Nicole Brossard, Olga Broumas, Oni Buchanan, Christopher Buckley, Janet Burroway, Robert Olen Butler, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Alan Cheuse, Tom Chiarella, Martha Collins, Ted Conover, CA Conrad, Robert Coover, Lucy Corin, Robert Creeley, Michael Cunningham, Bei Dao, Kathryn Davis, Lydia Davis, Kwame Dawes, Toi Derricotte, Susan Dodd, Timothy Donnelly, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Gerald Early, Nancy Eimers, Stanley Elkin, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Lynn Emanuel, Brian Evenson, Nuruddin Farah, Jack Foley, Adelle Foley, Patricia Foster, Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Mary Gaitskill, Roxane Gay, David Gewanter, Cecil Giscombe, Lea Graham, Philip Graham, Susan Griffin, Tony Grooms, Allen Grossman, Janet Campbell Hale, Mark Halliday, Robert Hass, Terence Hayes, Michael Heffernan, Robert Hellenga, Robin Hemley, Patricia Henley, Safiya Henderson-Holmes, Brenda Hillman, Jane Hirshfield, Lily Hoang, Susan Holbrook, Noy Holland, BJ Hollars, Yunte Huang, Major Jackson, Lisa Jarnot, Brandon Davis Jennings, Greg Johnson, Rodney Jones, Allison Joseph, Felix Jung, Janet Kauffman, Claudia Keelan, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Joanna Klink, Yusef Komunyakaa, Keetje Kuipers, Maxine Kumin, Amy Leach, Li-Young Lee, Eric LeMay, Jonathan Lethem, Philip Levine, Franz Lidz, Susan Ludvigson, Thomas Lux, Nathaniel Mackey, Sabrina Orah Mark, Peter Markus, Emily Martin, Walter McDonald, Alice McDermott, Erin McGraw, Reginald McKnight, Lynne McMahon, Charles McNair, Sandra McPherson, Valerie Miner, Rick Moody, Dinty Moore, Harryette Mullen, Susan Neville, Audrey Niffenegger, Alice Notley, Josip Novakovich, Sigrid Nunez, Tim O'Brien, Gina Ochsner, Bill Olsen, Simon Ortiz, Grace Paley, Molly Peacock, Tom Pearson, Bob Perelman, Carl Phillips, W. Glascow Phillips, Robert Pinsky, D.A. Powell, Ann Powers, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Richard Price, Lia Purpura, Jamie Quatro, Shona Ramaya, Srikanth Reddy, Donald Revell, Barbara Jane Reyes, Adrienne Rich, Michael Robbins, Jerome Rothenberg, Joanna Ruocco, David St. John, James Salter, Sofia Samatar, George Saunders, Barry Schwabsky, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Bob Shacochis, Carroll Dale Short, Richard Siken, Sue Silverman, Charles Simic, Jane Smiley, Lee Smith, R. T. Smith, W. D. Snodgrass, Gary Soto, Juliana Spahr, Darcey Steinke, Larry Sutin, Mathias Svalina, Cole Swensen, Larissa Szporluk, Henry Taylor, Shelly Taylor, Michelle Tea, Lorenzo Thomas, Melanie Rae Thon, Natasha Trethewey, JA Tyler, Elizabeth Dewberry Vaughn, Diane Wakoski, G.C. Waldrep, Alice Walker, Margaret Walker-Alexander, Lila Weaver, Kellie Wells, Richard Wilbur, Joy Williams, August Wilson, Monique Wittig, Jon Woodward, C. D. Wright, Kalamu Ya Salaam, David Young, Kevin Young