Visiting Writers

Agnes O’Donnell Poets and Writers Series

Sponsored by the Green Blotter Literary Society of Lebanon Valley College, the Agnes O’Donnell Poets and Writers Series brings authors to campus for readings, writing workshops, and other events. The series is funded by a gift from Agnes O’Donnell, professor emerita of English who remained active in the department after her retirement in 1987 until her death in 2008.

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 16th, 2015
Aja Monet
Poetry Workshop, 2:30-4:30pm, Neidig-Garber 203
Performance, 7pm, the Underground in Mund

Opening the English Department’s “Writers Week,” Aja Monet  is a poet, performer, and educator from East NY, Brooklyn. She is best known as the youngest individual to win the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam title.  An internationally established poet, she is recognized for combining her spellbound voice and powerful imagery on stage, captivating audiences across the United States, France, the UK, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Cuba. Her performance is free and open to the public and will be followed by a Q&A session and a book signing. Come out and enjoy what Harry Belafonte calls, “the true definition of an artist.” For more information, visit her website.

Watch her new video “Be Brave.


Thursday, March 19th, 2015
Sierra DeMulder
Poetry Workshop, 12:30-1:50pm, Lynch 170 (during Professor Clark’s Creative Writing class)
Performance, 7pm, Zimmerman Recital Hall

Concluding the English Department’s “Writers Week,” Sierra Demulder is an internationally-touring performance poet and educator. She is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and the author of The Bones Below and New Shoes on a Dead Horse (2010, 2012). Sierra is the recipient of a 2014 McKnight Fellowship. Her work has been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, The Advocate, and more. In addition to performing, Sierra is the curriculum director  of the Gustavus Adolphus College Institute of Spoken Word and Poetry Slam, an annual writing summer camp for high school students, and one of the founders of Button Poetry, the largest digital distributor of spoken word. After her performance, she will host a Q&A session and book signing in Zimmerman. For more information, please visit her website.

Watch a performance of her poem “Paper Dolls.



Tues. & Wed., September 23rd-24th, 2014

Sept. 23rd: Reading (open to the public)
Leedy Theater, 7pm
Sept. 24th: Workshop with LVC students
3:00-4:20pm, BI-Lab in Bishop Library


Matthew Goodman is the bestselling author of three books of non-fiction:Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World (Ballantine Books, 2013); The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York (Basic Books, 2008); and Jewish Food: The World at Table (HarperCollins, 2005).
Matthew’s books have been Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers, Indie Next “Great Reads,” and Borders Original Voices selections, and a finalist for a Goodreads Choice Award. His book Eighty Days was a New York Times and Indie Bound bestseller, and has been translated into eight languages. His essays, articles, short stories, and reviews have appeared in The American Scholar, Harvard Review, Salon, the Village Voice, the Forward, Bon Appetit, and many other publications, and have been cited for Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Story anthologies. He has given book talks at venues including the Museum of the City of New York, the Gotham Center for New York History, the National Yiddish Book Center, the Brooklyn Book Festival, the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Authors at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, and many bookstores, universities, and libraries; his radio appearances include NPR’s The Diane Rehm ShowOn the MediaBack Story with the History Guys, and The Splendid Table;The Bob Edwards Show on XM-Sirius Radio; and numerous others.
Matthew has taught creative writing and literature at Vermont College, Tufts University, Emerson College, and at writers’ conferences including the Antioch Writers Workshop and the Chautauqua Institution. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony (twice) and the Corporation of Yaddo.

These events are free and open to the public and are sponsored by the Agnes O’Donnell Poets and Writers Series. For more information on Matthew, visit his website.


Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Workshop, Mund Living Room, 3:30pm

Performance, Leedy Theater, 7pm


LVC is proud to host award-winning performance poet Joshua Bennett with student openers Stephanie Agudelo ’16, Marquis Bey ’14, and Isaiah Luck ’14.

Joshua has recited his original works at events and venues such as The Sundance Film Festival, the NAACP Image Awards, The Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Poetry Africa, and President Obama’s Evening of Poetry and Music at the White House. Joshua has also performed on BBC Radio Oxford alongside former U.S. Poet Laureates Billy Collins and Rita Dove, at the Du Bois Institute Panel as a guest of Henry Louis Gates, and opened for Dr. Cornel West at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Hailing from Yonkers, New York, Joshua is a third-year doctoral candidate in the English Department at Princeton University. He is also a Callaloo Fellow, and, as of this summer, a teacher of 8th-grade Composition. His poetry has been published (or will be forthcoming published) in Callaloo, Anti-, Tidal Basin Review, Drunken Boat, Storyscape, and Muzzle. Joshua is also the founding editor of Kinfolks Quarterly.
This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Agnes O’Donnell Poets and Writers Series. For more information on Joshua and to see videos of his past performances, visit his Tumblr page.

Friday, February 6th, 2014
Reading, Q&A Session, and Book Signing

Leedy Theater, Mund College Center, 7pm


MK Asante is a bestselling author, award-winning filmmaker, hip-hop artist, and professor whom CNN calls “a master storyteller and major creative force.”

Asante is the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir Buck, described by Maya Angelou as “A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.” Buck is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and an NAACP Image Award – Outstanding Literary Work nominee. His other books are It’s Bigger Than Hip HopBeautiful. And Ugly Too, and Like Water Running Off My Back.

Asante is a Sundance Feature Film Fellow for the movie adaptation of Buck. Asante directed The Black Candle, a prize-winning Starz TV movie. He wrote and produced the film 500 Years Later, winner of five international film festival awards, and produced the multi award-winning film Motherland.

Asante studied at the University of London, earned a BA from Lafayette College, and an MFA from the UCLA School of Film and Television.

Asante has toured in over 40 countries and has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, as well as hundreds of other universities. He was awarded the Key to the City of Dallas, Texas.

Called “the voice of a new generation” by Essence, he has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NBC News, BBC, NPR, BET, and MTV. He was selected as a MSNBC The Grio 100 History Makers in the Making. Asante’s essays have been published in USA TodayHuffington PostSan Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times.

He recently made his debut as a hip hop artist on the song “Godz N The Hood” featuring Talib Kweli. His inspirational story “The Blank Page” is featured in the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Chicken Soup for the Soul: 20th Anniversary Edition.

Asante is a tenured professor of creative writing and film in the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University.

For more information, visit MK Asante’s website.


Press 53 Logo 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013
Reading and Book signing
Terri Kirby Erickson, poet
Curtis Smith, fiction writer
Kevin Morgan Watson, editor/publisher
Leedy Theater, Mund College Center, 7pm


Founded in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson, Press 53 has quickly earned a reputation as a quality publishing house of short story and poetry collections. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Press 53 publishes 8-10 short story and poetry collections every year from authors all over the United States.



Terri Kirby Erickson
North Carolina native Terri Kirby Erickson is the award-winning author of three collections of poetry, including Telling Tales of Dusk (Press 53, 2009), which reached #23 on the Poetry Foundation Contemporary Best Seller List, and In the Palms of Angels (Press 53, 2011), winner of a Nautilus Silver Award for Poetry and the Gold Medal for Poetry in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.




Curtis Smith

Curtis Smith is the author of five previous books of fiction. His stories and essays have appeared in over seventy literary journals and have been cited by The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and The Best American Spiritual Writing.  He lives and works in Pennsylvania with his wife and son. 




Kevin Morgan Watson is founder of Press 53 and serves
as Editor-in-Chief with a Kevin_Morgan_Watsonspecial focus on Short Stories and Poetry. As a publisher, he has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. As a writer, his short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the 2002 TallGrass Writers Guild/Outrider Press anthology Take Two—They’re Small, where his short story “Sunny Side Up” won first prize. Kevin also serves as an advisor for student adaptation of short stories to screenplays with the screenwriting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking in Winston-Salem, NC.


Workshops with Watson, Erickson, and Smith will be open to LVC students from 2:30-4:30pm, Leedy Theater.


For more information, visit Press 53’s website.



Past Events

Karen Russell
Reading and Book Signing
Wed. April 10, 2013, 7 pm
Leedy Theater

Karen Russell’s debut novel, Swamplandia!, was chosen by The New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2011,” and was long-listed for The Orange Prize. Russell has been featured in The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list, and was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. In 2009, she received the “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation. Formerly a writer-in-residence at Bard College and Bryn Mawr College, she is the recipient of the Mary Ellen von der Heyden Berlin Prize and was awarded a fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin.

Russell is also the author of the celebrated short story collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (Knopf, September 2006). Her new collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, was published by Knopf in January 2013.

Past Events

Juan Martinez
February 20, 2013, 7 pm
Lutz Hall, Blair Music Center

Juan Martinez’s fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, Pindeldyboz, NPR’s Selected Shorts, Norton’s Suddenly Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and The Perpetual Engine of Hope: Stories Inspired by Iconic Vegas Photographs. His scholarly work has appeared in The Nabokovian, the Nabokov Online Journal, Journal of Popular Culture, and elsewhere. Dr. Martinez teaches creative writing and literature at LVC. Visit and say hi at


Anya Achtenberg
Reading and Book Signing
October 23, 2012, 7 pm
Zimmerman Recital Hall

Anya Achtenberg’s novel Blue Earthwas published in August 2012 by Modern History Press, which published her novella The Stories of Devil-Girl in 2008. Her second book of poetry,The Stone of Language, was published in 2004 by West End Press (Albuquerque) after being finalist in 5 poetry competitions. Her stories have received awards from Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope: All-StoryNew Letters, and others. Her first book of poetry, I Know What the Small Girl Knew, was published by Holy Cow! Press (MN). She is at work on History Artist, a novel centering in the experience of a Cambodian woman born of an African American father at the moment the bombing of Cambodia by U.S. forces began.

She teaches creative writing widely and is the founder and author of Writing for Social Change:Re-Dream a Just World, a series of multi-genre workshops on writing for social change.



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