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2014-2015 Axton Reading Series

The Anne & William Axton Reading Series

The Anne and William Axton Reading Series was established in 1999 through the generosity of the late William Axton, former University of Louisville English professor, and his wife, the late Anne Axton. The Series brings highly distinguished writers from across the country to the University of Louisville for two-day visits to read from their work, and to share their knowledge and expertise with the University and Louisville community. On Belknap Campus, writers give a public reading and Q&A on the first day, and on the following morning they conduct a master class where select student work is critiqued. Both events are free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Previous seasons have included Terrance Hayes, Junot Diaz, Brian Teare, Robert Pinsky, Charles Wright, Nathaniel Mackey, Susan Minot, Mary Karr, Stephen Dobyns, Lynnell Edwards, Colson Whitehead, Robin Lippincott, Robert Hass, Silas House, Beverly Lowry, George Saunders, Louise Glück, Hannah Tinti, Clare Vaye Watkins, and Lynnell Major Edwards.


Spring Axton Series

Sayed Kashua is the author of three novels: Dancing Arabs, Let it Be Morning and Person Singular, winner of the Berstein Prize. Kashua also writes a satirical weekly column in Hebrew for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. In a humorous, tongue-in-cheek style, Kashua addresses the problems faced by Arabs in Israel, caught between two worlds. He is the writer and creator of the hit Israeli TV show Arab Labor (Avoda Aravit), now in its third season. In 2004 Kashua was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize in Literature. He is also the subject of the documentary Forever Scared.

Kashua’s presentation at UofL is entitled “The Foreign Mother Tongue: Living and Writing as a Palestinian in Israel.” His visit is co-sponsored by the Program in Judaic Studies in the Division of Humanities.

Presentation: Thursday, 2/12, 3:00PM-5:00PM, Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library

Master Class: Friday, 2/13, 10:00Am-Noon, Bingham Humanities 300



Multidisciplinary artist and Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X. Walker is a Full Professor in the departments of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky and the founding editor of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. A Cave Canem Fellow and co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets, he is the author of six collections of poetry including, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, winner of the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry; and Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award. Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, he is the originator of the word, Affrilachia, and is dedicated to deconstructing and forcing a new definition of what it means to be Appalachian. The Lannan Poetry Fellowship Award recipient has degrees from the University of Kentucky and Spalding University as well as two honorary doctorates from the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University.

Reading: Thursday, 2/19, 7:30PM, Bingham Poetry Room, Ekstrom Library

Master Class: Friday, 2/20, 10Am-Noon, Bingham Humanities 300


Michelle Latiolais is an English professor and co-director of the Programs in Writing at the University of California at Irvine. Her novel Even Now won the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. Her most recent novel, A Proper Knowledge, was published by Bellevue Literary Press. Latiolais’ 2011 collection of short stories, Widow, was largely written after the tragic death of her husband, and her stories explore the physiology of grief -- reminding us that the inner life is best understood through the medium of storytelling.

Reading: Thursday, 3/26, 7:30PM, Bingham Poetry Room, Ekstrom Library

Master Class: Friday, 3/27, 10:00AM-Noon, Bingham Humanities 300




Paul Griner, a former Fulbright Scholar, is the author of the short story collection Follow Me (Random House), a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, and the novels Collectors (Random House) and The German Woman(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). His work has been published in Tin House, One Story, Ploughshares, Playboy, Zoetrope, The Telegraph of India, and many other magazines, journals, and anthologies, and has been translated into a half dozen languages.  His novel Second Life will be published by Counterpoint/Soft Skull in January 2015.  His collection of stories Hurry Please, I Want To Know, will be published by Sarabande in Jun 2015.

He is the recipient of UofL’s Outstanding Teaching Awards at both the college and university levels as well as well as the Graduate School’s Outstanding Mentor Award.  He has a BA in History from the University of New Hampshire, an MA in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard, and an MA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University.


Reading: Thursday, 4/2, 7:30PM, Location - Bingham Poetry Room, Ekstrom Library




Fall Axton Series

Chelsey Minnis graduated from from the University of Colorado, Boulder and has an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in poetry. Her first book Zirconia won the Alberta Prize for Women from Fence Press in 2001. Fence Books published her second manuscript Bad Bad in 2007. Her third book Poemland was published by Wave Books in 2009. Her first book Zirconia was described as "accessible, confrontational, hilarious, occasionally shocking, never ever dull and often extremely moving." Her work has been cited as an example of the gurlesque as envisioned by poet Arielle Greenberg. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Steve.

Reading: Thursday, 9/25, 7:30PM, Bingham Poetry Room

Master Class: Friday, 9/26, 10Am-Noon, Humanities 300




Heather Slomski is the author of The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons, winner of the 2014 Iowa Short Fiction Award and forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press. She received her M.F.A. from Western Michigan University and held the Axton Fellowship in Fiction at the University of Louisville. Her stories have appeared in TriQuarterly, American Letters & Commentary, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, The Normal School, and elsewhere. A recipient of a Minnesota State Artist Initiative Grant and a Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and son and teaches writing at Concordia College.

Reading: Thursday, 10/30, 4:00PM, Bingham Poetry Room

Master Class: Friday, 10/31, 10AM-Noon, Humanities 300




Nick Flynn’s most recent book, The Reenactments, which Kirkus calls“a truly insightful, original work,” completes a trilogy begun with Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004). His previous book, The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (2011), was a collection of poems linked to the second book of the trilogy,The Ticking is the Bomb (2010), which the Los Angeles Times called a “disquieting masterpiece.” Another Bullshit Night in Suck City won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, was shortlisted for France’s Prix Femina, and has been translated into fifteen languages. He is also the author of a play, Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins (2008), as well as two other books of poetry, Some Ether (2000), and Blind Huber (2002), for which he received fellowships from, among other organizations, The Guggenheim Foundation and The Library of Congress. Some of the venues his poems, essays and non-fiction have appeared in include The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s This American Life, and The New York Times Book Review. His film credits include artistic collaborator and “field poet” on the film Darwin’s Nightmare (nominated for an Academy Award for best feature documentary in 2006), as well as executive producer and artistic collaborator on Being Flynn, the film version of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2012, Focus Features, directed by Paul Weitz, starring Robert De Niro, Paul Dano, Julianne Moore, and Lili Taylor). A professor in the creative writing program at the University of Houston, where he teaches each spring, he then spends the rest of the year in (or near) Brooklyn.

Axton Reading/2014 Writer's Block Festival Keynote: Saturday, 11/15, 5:00PM, Cressman Center Gallery, 100 E. Main Street (Downtown)


Locations and dates subject to change. Please call the English Department at U of L to verify. (502) 852-6801