March 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Lit Fest 2015 Features Essayists, Novelist, Poets, March 25-27

The 2015 Lit Fest welcomes essayists Dorothy Allison and Brian Doyle, novelist Charles Johnson, and poets Marie Howe and Robert Pinsky. The Ohio University Spring Literary Festival is March 25-27.

All readings and lectures are free and open to the public. The five visiting writers will be present throughout the festival, lecturing and reading from their work, and books by the authors will be available for purchase after each program, and at Little Professor Book Center.

This Year’s Visiting Writers

Dorothy AllisonDorothy Allison: Influenced by the 1970s feminist movement, Allison’s raw, frequently brutal work explores themes of class, sexuality, and abuse. In an interview Allison stated, “If you’re trying to be safe, you got no business writing. If you’re trying to control what happens, you really don’t have a whole lot of chance. The only thing you can control is to create as full a portrait as possible. Then you can make people seem human.”

Brian DoyleBrian Doyle: Doyle is the author of 13 books: among these are five collections of essays, two nonfiction books (The Grail, about a year in an Oregon vineyard, and The Wet Engine, about the “muddles & musics of the heart”), two collections of “proems,” the story collection Bin Laden’s Bald Spot, and the novels Mink River, Cat’s Foot and The Plover.

Marie HoweMarie Howe: Her first collection, The Good Thief (1988), was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Margaret Atwood, who praised Howe’s “poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.” In that collection, Howe’s oracular yet self-doubting speakers often voice their concerns through Biblical and mythical allusions.

Charles JohnsonCharles Johnson: Johnson is the author of four novels, Faith and the Good Thing (1974), Oxherding Tale (1982), Middle Passage (1990), and Dreamer (Scribner, l998); three collection of short stories, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1986) Soulcatcher and Other Stories (2001), and Dr. King’s Refrigerator and Other Bedtime Stories (2005); a work of aesthetics, Being and Race: Black Writing Since 1970 (1988); and two collections of comic art, Black Humor (1970) and Half-Past Nation Time (1972).

Robert Pinsky Robert Pinsky: His Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux) was published in 2011. His previous books of poetry include Gulf Music (2008), Jersey Rain (2000), The Want Bone (1990) and The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996. The CD “PoemJazz,” with Grammy-winning pianist Laurence Hobgood, is released by Circumstantial Productions. Pinsky founded The Favorite Poem Project, including the videos that can be seen at, while serving an unprecedented three terms as United States Poet Laureate.

Event Schedule

Wednesday, March 25, Baker Center Theater

  • 7:30 p.m. Dorothy Allison Reading
  • 8:30 p.m. Marie Howe Reading

Thursday, March 26, Baker Center Ballroom

  • 11 a.m. Charles Johnson Lecture
  • noon Dorothy Allison Lecture
  • 7:30 p.m. Brian Doyle Reading
  • 8:30 p.m. Robert Pinsky Lecture & Performance

Friday, March 27, Alden Library, 4th Floor

  • 11 a.m. Brian Doyle Lecture
  • noon Marie Howe Lecture

CLOSING NIGHT! March 27, Baker Center Theater

  • 7:30 p.m. Robert Pinsky Reading
  • 8:30 p.m. Charles Johnson Reading

Since 1986, The Spring Literary Festival has featured some of the world’s finest, most distinguished writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. The three-day spring festival is held on the Ohio University campus in Athens, OH. It is sponsored by the Creative Writing program in the Department of English and is generously funded by the College of Arts & Sciences.

For more information, contact David Wanczyk, Spring Literary Festival Coordinator, at

Past Spring Literary Festival Attendees: Paul Auster, John Ashbery, Russell Banks, Frank Bidart, Billy Collins, Lydia Davis, William Gass, Donald Hall, Barry Hannah, Terrance Hayes, Elizabeth Hardwick, Amy Hempel, Tony Hoagland, Kenneth Koch, Denise Levertov, Barry Lopez, Heather McHugh, W.S. Merwin, Czeslaw Milosz, N. Scott Momaday, Lorrie Moore, Mary Oliver, Susan Orlean, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Francine Prose, Richard Rodriguez, Marilynne Robinson, George Saunders, Leslie Marmon Silko, Charles Simic, James Tate, John Edgar Wideman, Geoffrey Wolff.

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