The nationally renowned Visiting Writers Series at the University of Massachusetts Amherst presents emerging and established writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Celebrating its fifty-first year, VWS enriches our literary community through free programming open to students and community members.

2014 Schedule:

Mitchell S. Jackson
Venue: Commonwealth College, Room 160 East
September 18, 2014 at 8:00pm

Mitchell S. Jackson is a Portland, Oregon native who lives in Brooklyn and teaches at NYU. Jackson’s novel, The Residue Years, was a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First novel prize, the PEN / Hemingway award for first fiction, The Hurston / Wright Legacy Award for best fiction by a writer of African descent; it was long-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize for writing and the Chautauqua Prize.

Kent Wascom
Venue: Memorial Hall
October 9, 2014 at 8:00pm

A native of the Gulf south, Kent Wascom’s debut novel, The Blood of Heaven, the first volume of The Golden Circle Sextet series, was cited as a Notable Book of 2013 by the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle as well as listed among the best books of the year by Esquire NPR, and Publisher's Weekly. His second novel will be published in the summer of 2015.

Charles Wright
Venue: Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall
October 23, 2014 at 8:00pm

Appointed in mid-June as U.S. Poet Laureate, Charles Wright is the author of twenty-four collections of poetry. Wright’s honors include many of the most prestigious awards in the field of poetry: a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award both for Black Zodiac; the National Book Award for Country Music: Selected Early Poems; the Bollingen Prize for Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems; and the International Griffin Poetry Prize for Scar Tissue.

Ben Lerner
Venue: Memorial Hall
December 4, 2014 at 8:00pm

Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry: The Lichtenberg FiguresAngle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path, all published by Copper Canyon Press. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, a Howard Foundation Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow. His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station won The Believer Book Award; his second novel, 10:04, will be published Faber/FSG this fall.

The Visiting Writers Series is sponsored by the MFA for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Initiative, and made possible by support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the University of Massachusetts Arts Council, the College of Humanities & Fine Arts, and the English Department.

For more information about the Visiting Writers Series, please email, and include Visiting Writers in the subject line.