Program Information

About Writers@Drew

Co-Sponsored by The Casement Fund and the English Department, the Writers@Drew reading series hosts a variety of published authors, who recite excerpts from their works for the Drew community throughout the academic year.  The list of previous guest authors includes Drew alumni/ae, faculty, poets, and fiction/nonfiction writers, such as: Sean Nevin, Kathleen Graber, Courtney Zoffness, Priscilla Becker, Kevin Prufer, and William Giraldi.  At the end of the Spring semester, the Drew Student Writing Prize winners read their award winning poetry and prose for the Drew community.

If you have any questions, please contact the Writers@Drew coordinator Patrick Phillips at

List of Visiting Authors

February 25, 2015 at 4:30pm in the Founders Room, Mead Hall

Deji Olukotun by Beowulf SheehanDeji Olukotun graduated from the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town, where he was taught by South African writers André Brink, Mike Nicol, Andre Wiesner, and Henrietta Rose-Innes. He also holds degrees from Yale College and Stanford Law School.

His novel Nigerians in Space, a thriller about brain drain from Africa, was published by Unnamed Press in 2014.

His work has been featured in Vice, Slate, GigaOm, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, Guernica, The Millions, World Literature Today, ESPN, Chimurenga, Global Voices, Joyland, Words Without Borders, Alternet, Huffington Post, PEN America, The London Magazine, Molussus, The Beat, and Men’s Health. In 2013, he served as a juror for the Neustadt Festival of International Literature.

Deji is an attorney with a background in human rights and technology. He has traveled to over 25 countries and offers deep work experience in South Africa, Myanmar, and Haiti. He currently works at the digital rights organization Access, where he drives campaigns on net neutrality and surveillance. Before that, he fought for free expression and the defense of writers around the world at PEN American Center with support from the Ford Foundation.

Deji writes because he has to.  He can be found online at

November 20, 2014 at 4:30pm in the Founders Room, Mead Hall

Author-photo-682x1024Phil Klay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged he went to Hunter College and received an MFA. His story “Redeployment” was originally published in Granta and is included in Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Granta, Tin House, and elsewhere.

In 2014 Klay was named a National Book Foundation ’5 Under 35′ honoree, and his short story collection Redeployment is the winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction.  He can be found online at

imageIn partnership with Writers@Drew, the Andrew W. Mellon Arts and the Common Good Grant presents David Keefe, Director of Combat Paper NJ.  Keefe is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who, through Combat Paper NJ, helps teach other veterans papermaking and printmaking techniques to visually communicate their military experiences.  He will give a presentation about his organization, and join Klay for a Q&A following the event.  Combat Paper NJ can be found at the Printmaking Center of NJ.  Keefe’s personal work can be found at

September 23, 2014 at 4:30pm in the Founders Room, Mead Hall

eugene cross photoEugene Cross is the author of the short story collection “Fires of Our Choosing,” which was long listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and was named the Gold Medal winner in the Short Story category by the Independent Publisher Book Awards. He has taught creative writing at Penn State, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and Columbia College Chicago. His stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Narrative MagazineAmerican Short Fiction, Story QuarterlyTriQuarterly, and Callaloo, among other publications. His work was also listed among the 2010 Best American Short Stories’ 100 Distinguished Stories. He is the recipient of scholarships from the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as fellowships from Yaddo and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He can be found online at

April 28, 2014 at 7pm in The Space, Ehinger Center

Writing Prizes poster 2014Readings by the 2014 winners of the following writing and poetry prizes:

The Academy of American Poets’ Prize

The Goin Prize in Creative Writing

The Chapman Prize in Poetry

April 9, 2014 at 7pm in ARTS 106, Dorothy Young Center for the Arts

L&T Elena S. photoJayne Anne Phillips is the author of numerous books, including Lark and Termite, which was a National Book Award Finalist, and Quiet Dell, which was published to critical acclaim last year. Her book Machine Dreams, a New York Times best seller, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of twelve Best Books of the Year. Phillips is currently the Director of the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

March 24, 2014 at 7pm in the Wendel Room, Mead Hall

Poet Eduardo CorralEduardo C. Corral is a CantoMundo fellow. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, New England Review, Ploughshares, and PoetrySlow Lightning, his first book, won the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. He’s the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

jocelynJocelyn Lieu is the author of a 9/11 memoir titled What Isn’t There: Inside a Season of Change and a collection of stories, Potential Weapons. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 1; Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction; and The Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens. Currently, she is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at the M.F.A Program in Creative Writing at Long Island University, Brooklyn. She lives in downtown Manhattan and in Saugerties, New York.

patrickphillipsheadshotclosecropPatrick Phillips’ third book, Elegy for a Broken Machine, is forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf in 2015. He is also the author of Boy and Chattahoochee, and translator of When We Leave Each Other: Selected Poems of Henrik Nordbrandt. His honors include Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the 2005 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Drew University.

hirsh2Hirsh Sawhney is the editor of Delhi Noir, a critically acclaimed anthology of original fiction published by Akashic Books and HarperIndia. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, and the Times Literary Supplement. He was recently a Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University and is currently completing a novel.

courtneyCourtney Zoffness’ fiction has appeared in The Rumpus, Indiana Review, Washington Square, Tampa Review, the international Fish Prize Stories anthology, and elsewhere. The former managing editor of The Earth Times, she’s also published a range of nonfiction and reportage. Courtney was a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholar, a teaching fellow at Yale University, and a writer-in-residence at the Black Forest Writing Seminars (Freiburg, Germany). She’s taught writing and literature at nearly a dozen institutions—in nearly as many cities. Currently she’s a 2013 Emerging Writing Fellow at the Center for Fiction in New York, and lives in Brooklyn.

March 3, 2014 at 4pm in the Founders Room, Mead Hall

carylphillips-stockholmCaryl Phillips began writing for the theatre and his plays include Strange Fruit (1980), Where There is Darkness (1982) and The Shelter (1983). He won the BBC Giles Cooper Award for Best Radio Play of the year with The Wasted Years (1984). He has written many dramas and documentaries for radio and television, including, in 1996, the three-hour film of his own novel The Final Passage. He wrote the screenplay for the film Playing Away(1986) and his screenplay for the Merchant Ivory adaptation of V.S.Naipaul’s The Mystic Masseur (2001) won the Silver Ombu for best screenplay at the Mar Del Plata film festival in Argentina.

His novels are: The Final Passage (1985), A State of Independence (1986), Higher Ground (1989), Cambridge(1991), Crossing the River (1993), The Nature of Blood (1997), A Distant Shore (2003), Dancing in the Dark(2005), Foreigners (2007), and In the Falling Snow (2009). His non-fiction: The European Tribe (1987), The Atlantic Sound (2000), A New World Order (2001), and Colour Me English (2011). He is the editor of two anthologies: Extravagant Strangers: A Literature of Belonging (1997) and The Right Set: An Anthology of Writing on Tennis (1999). His work has been translated into over a dozen languages.

He was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 1992 and was on the 1993 Granta list of Best of Young British Writers. His literary awards include the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a British Council Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and Britain’s oldest literary award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, for Crossing the River which was also shortlisted for the 1993 Booker Prize. A Distant Shore was longlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize, and won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize; Dancing in the Dark won the 2006 PEN/Beyond the Margins Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of the Arts, and recipient of the 2013 Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Award for Excellence.

He has taught at universities in Ghana, Sweden, Singapore, Barbados, India, and the United States, and in 1999 was the University of the West Indies Humanities Scholar of the Year. In 2002-3 he was a Fellow at the Centre for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Formerly Henry R. Luce Professor of Migration and Social Order at Columbia University, he is presently Professor of English at Yale University. He is an Honorary Fellow of The Queen’s College, Oxford University.

A regular contributor to The Guardian and The New Republic, his latest book, Colour Me English – Selected Essays, was published in July 2011.

November 13,2013 at 4pm in the Founders Room, Mead Hall

20090310_ShaughnessyBrenda_DJA026Brenda Shaughnessy’s most recent collection of poetry is Our Andromeda, (Copper Canyon Press, September 2012.)  She’s also the author of Human Dark with Sugar, which was a finalist for the 2008 NBCC Award, and Interior with Sudden Joy.

Her poems have appeared in Harpers, McSweeney’s, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.  She is Poetry Editor-At-Large at Tin House Magazine, and is Assistant Professor of English and in the M.F.A. Program at Rutgers-Newark.  She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son, and daughter.

021_CraigTeicher2012-author-pic-WEB-smCraig Morgan Teicher is a poet, critic, and freelance writer.  His first book of poems, Brenda Is In The Room And Other Poems,was chosen by Paul Hoover as winner of the 2007 Colorado Prize for Poetry and was published by the Center for Literary Publishing.  His collection of short stories and fables, called Cradle Book, was published in spring 2010 by BOA Editions Ltd.  His next book, To Keep Love Blurry: Poems, will be published by BOA in September 2012.

His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many publications, including The New Yorker, The Nation, The Best American Poetry 2009, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, A Public Space, Jubilat, Seneca Review, Forklift Ohio, Octopus, La Petit Zine, Fairy Tale Review, Verse, and Colorado Review.  His reviews of poetry and fiction, and profiles of poets, appear widely in places like, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Poets & Writers,, Time Out New York, Boston Review and Bookforum.

He is Director of Digital Operations and Poetry Reviews Editor of Publishers Weekly,a poetry editor of The Literary Review, a contributing editor of Pleiades, and a Vice President of the National Book Critics Circle.  He also teaches at The New School and New York University and lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and children.


April 23, 2013 at 7-9pm in LC-28

Photo Credit Star BlackAngelo Nikolopoulos’ first book of poems, Obscenely Yours, is a winner of the 2011 Kinereth Gensler Award and is forthcoming from Alice James Books in April 2013. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, Best New Poets 2011, Boston Review, Fence, The Los Angeles Review, The New York Quarterly, Tin House, and elsewhere. He is a winner of the 2011 “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Contest and the founder of The White Swallow, a queer reading series in Manhattan. He lives in New York City.  Please visit the following website for more information about Obscenely Yours.

April 18, 2013 at 4-6pm in The Space, Ehinger Center

Readings by the 2013 winners of the following writing and poetry prizes:

The Academy of American Poets’ Prize

The Goin Prize in Creative Writing

The Chapman Prize in Poetry

March 21, 2013 at 4-5:30pm in The Founders Room, Mead Hall

reza_new_smallReza Aslan is the author of the international bestseller No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been named by Blackwell Publishers as one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. It’s now available in thirteen languages, and was re-released with new content to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War, a contributing editor to The Daily Beast, and a member of many prominent foreign relations and policy councils. He is also the editor of two volumes: Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, and Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalties, Contentions, and Complexities. These literary anthologies use the arts to bridge the gap of understanding between East and West, and to strengthen Jewish and Muslim relations.

Reza Aslan appears regularly in the media, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report among other high profile outlets. In the corporate realm, Aslan is President and CEO of Aslan Media Inc., which runs BoomGen Studios, a unique media company focused entirely on entertainment about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities. He has degrees in Religion from Santa Clara University, Harvard, and UC Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction.

February 28, 2013

David Gessner is the author of eight books, including My Green ManifestoThe Tarball Chronicles, Sick of Nature,The Prophet of Dry Hill, and Return of the Osprey, which was chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year and the Book-of-the-Month club as one of its top books of the year. The Globe called it a “classic of American Nature Writing.” In 2006 he won a Pushcart Prize; in 2007 he won the John Burroughs Award for Best Natural History Essay; and in 2008 his essay, “The Dreamer Does Not Exist,” was chosen for The Best American Nonrequired Reading. His work has appeared in many magazines and journals including The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, Outside, The Georgia Review, The Harvard Review, and Orion. He has taught environmental writing at Harvard, and is currently an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he founded the national literary journal, Ecotone.

November 13, 2012

Kathleen Graber is the author of two collections of poetry, Correspondence (Saturnalia Books, 2006) and The Eternal City (Princeton University Press, 2010), which was a finalist for The National Book Award, The National Book Critics Circle Award, and the winner of The Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry.  She is a recipient of fellowships from The Rona Jaffe Foundation, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Guggenheim Foundation.  She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Sean Nevin is the author of Oblivio Gate (Southern Illinois University Press) and A House That Falls (Slapering Hol Press). His honors include a Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry, and two fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.  His poetry and interviews have recently been featured on NPR’s nationally syndicated shows ‘The Story with Dick Gordon’ and ‘Speaking of Faith’ with Krista Tippett. He directs the MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation at Drew University.

April 24, 2012

Readings by the 2012 winners of the following writing and poetry prizes:

The Academy of American Poets’ Prize

Co-Winner: Kathleen Burke
Co-Winner: John Dabrowski
Finalist: Geoffrey Edelstein
Finalist: Mallory Mortillaro

The Goin Prize in Creative Writing

Winner: John Dabrowski
Finalist: Kathleen Burke
Finalist: Dana Lenoir

The Chapman Prize in Poetry

Winner: Shandy Walton
Finalist: Melissa Caparruva
Finalist: Paul Meister

March 22, 2012

Matthew Shaer is the author of Among Righteous Men (John Wiley and Sons, 2011). He is a contributing writer at New York magazine, and a fellow with the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. His writing and reporting have appeared in Harper’s magazine, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. From 2006 to 2009, he was a staff reporter at The Christian Science Monitor, and before that, he was an editor at The Boston Globe. He lives in Brooklyn.

John McIntyre is the editor of Memorable Days: The Selected Letters of James Salter and Robert Phelps. His work has appeared in the American Scholar and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications.



Courtney Zoffness’ work has appeared in the Indiana Review, Washington Square, Tampa Review, Saint Ann’s Review, Redivider, The Fish Prize Stories anthology, and elsewhere, and was twice nominated for Best New American Voices. She received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the Vermont Studio Center, was the fiction writer-in-residence at the University of Freiburg in Germany, and a Davenport College teaching fellow at Yale University in 2009 and 2011. A former journalist who served as Managing Editor of the United-Nations-sponsored Earth Times, she’s also published a variety of features and reviews in Our Town, Ladies’ Home Journal, New York’s daily Metro, and elsewhere. In addition to working at Drew, she teaches creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania.

February 22, 2012

William Giraldi is a Writer, Editor, Essayist, Drew Grad, and the author of the acclaimed novel Busy Monsters.  He teaches at Boston University and is Senior Fiction Editor for AGNI. His nonfiction and fiction have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Georgia Review, Bookforum, Southern Review, The Believer, Kenyon Review, Poets & Writers, Yale Review, The American Scholar, Antioch Review, TriQuarterly, and Salmagundi. His essay on amateur bodybuilding, “Freaky Beasts,” received a Pushcart Prize and was listed among Most Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2010. His essay “The Physics of Speed” was a finalist for a 2011 National Magazine Award. Giraldi lives in Boston with his wife and son.

November 10, 2011

Priscilla Becker’s first book of poems, Internal West, won The Paris Review book prize and was published in 2003. Her poems have appeared in Fence, Open City, Boston Review, The Paris Review, Raritan, American Poetry Review, Cousin Corinne, The Brooklyn Rail, Verse, and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets; her fiction in The Literary Review; her music reviews in The Nation and Filter magazine; her book reviews in The New York Sun; and her essays in Cabinet magazine, and Open City. Her essays have also been anthologized by Soft Skull Press, Anchor Books, and Sarabande. She teaches poetry at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and in her apartment. Her second book, Stories That Listen, was released from Four Way Booksin October 2010.

Kevin Prufer is the author of several volumes of poetry, the most recent of which are In a Beautiful Country (Four Way Books, 2011) and National Anthem (Four Way Books, 2008), named one of the five best poetry books of the year by Publishers Weekly and a finalist for The Poets Prize. He’s also Editor of, among others, Until Everything is Continuous Again: Essays on the Work of W. S. Merwin (Word Farm, 2012), New European Poets (Graywolf Press, 2008), Dunstan Thompson: on the Life & Work of a Lost American Master (Pleiades Press, 2010), and New Young American Poets (Southern Illinois University Press, 2000). The recipient of three Pushcart prizes, grants from the Lannan Foundation and the NEA, and numerous awards from the Poetry Society of America, he is Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston and Editor-at-Large of Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing.

October 24, 2011

Jocelyn Lieu
is the author of a 9/11 memoir titled What Isn’t There: Inside a Season of Change and a collection of stories, Potential Weapons. Her work has appeared in the anthologies 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 1; Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction; and The Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens; as well in as journals including the Asian Pacific American Review, the Denver Quarterly, and the Hamilton Stone Review.

Patrick Phillips first book, Chattahoochee, received the 2005 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and his second, Boy, was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2008.  He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the U.S. Fulbright Commission, and his recent honors include a 2011 Pushcart Prize, and the 2011 Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America.  He lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Drew University.

Hirsh Sawhney is the editor of Delhi Noir, an anthology of fiction published by Akashic Books and Harper Collins India. Joyce Carol Oates selected his short story “A Bag For Nicholas” for her New Jersey Noir anthology. Hirsh’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Financial Times, and The Guardian. He is an Associate Editor at Wasafiri Magazine and a Contributing Editor for The Brooklyn Rail, and is currently completing his first novel.

Jason Schneiderman is the author of Sublimation Point, a Stahlecker Selection from Four Way Books, and Striking Surface, winner of the 2009 Richard Snyder Prize from Ashland Poetry Press.  His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, Poetry London, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, and Tin House.  A graduate of the MFA program at NYU, he is completing his doctorate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.