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Valparaiso University’s English department presents Wordfest, the annual reading, lecture and discussion series presented by practicing writers of poetry, drama, fiction and nonfiction prose to help stimulate and inspire students in their own creative journeys.

Artists for the 2016–2017 academic year include:

  • Sharon Solwitz, Sept. 7, 6–7 p.m., Brauer Museum of Art, Center for the Arts. An acclaimed fiction writer, editor and professor, Sharon Solwitz has received several literary prizes including the Pushcart Prize, Dan Curley Award, Tara Fellowship in Short Fiction, Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize, Nelson Alren Prize and Hemingway Days Festival Prize.
  • Joshua Brown, Oct. 4, 7–8 p.m., Duesenberg Recital Hall, Center for the Arts. Renowned for his interdisciplinary work, Joshua Brown is an accomplished professor, graphic novelist, author and supervisor to the American Social History Project’s documentary, new media and visual projects. He is currently working on “Ithaca,” a historical graphic novel, and “Studies in the Visual Culture of the American Civil War.” This event is co-sponsored by the Friedrich Professorship.
  • Marie Howe, Oct. 27, 6:30–7:30 p.m., Chapel of Resurrection. Poet Marie Howe has authored three volumes of poetry, served as the Poet Laureate of New York State, has poems in several esteemed publications, and recently received the Academy of American Poets Poetry Fellowship in 2015 in acknowledgement of her poetic accomplishments. This event is co-sponsored by Christ College — The Honors College and the Lilly Fellows Program. 
  • Kaethe Schwehn, Feb. 23, 6:30–7:30 p.m., Brauer Museum of Art, Center for the Arts. As a creative nonfiction writer and poet, Kaethe Schwehn has been published in journals such as Crazyhorse, Jubilat, Pleiades and the anthology Fiction on a Stick. Recently she released a memoir entitled “A Year in the Village” about her experiences as a young woman in a Lutheran Retreat Center in the Cascade Mountains. Schwehn has strong connections to the University as daughter of Valpo’s former provost, Mark Schwehn, Ph.D.
  • Ronnie Malley, April 10, Time TBD, University Theatre, Center for the Arts. Performer and musician Ronnie Malley combines the story of Andalusia’s religious communities with the story of his own musical experiences through his South Chicago upbringing and Palestinian roots. He recently performed at Silk Road Rising, a Chicago theatre company that frequently partners with Valpo. This event is co-sponsored by Middle Eastern Studies.

All events are free and open to the public.

The speaker series often includes artists meeting with classes, holding workshops and conferring with interested student writers.

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