Past Events


Rhodes College Department of English Creative Writing Lecture Series hosted a fiction reading and book signing by Professor Kevin Wilson on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 in Tuthill Auditorium. Poster.pdf

Kevin Wilson is the author of the story collection Tunneling to the Center of the Earth (Harper Perennial/Ecco, 2009), which received the Shirley Jackson Award and the Alex Award from the American Library Association, and the novel The Family Fang (Ecco, 2011), which was a New York Times Bestseller and named a top ten book of 2011 by TIME Magazine, Esquire, People Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and many other outlets. He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee and teaches at the University of the South.


Rhodes College Department of English Creative Writing Lecture Series hosted a poetry reading and book signing by Professor Marcus Wicker on Tuesday, October 7th, in Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall. 

Marcus Wicker is the author of Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial), selected by DA Powell for the National Poetry Series. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University. Marcus is assistant professor of English at University of Southern Indiana and poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review. He serves as director of the New Harmony Writers Workshop. (Poster.pdf)


Rhodes College English Department co-hosted philosopher Judith Butler who gave a public lecture on April 10, 2014 entitled Thinking Bi-Nationalism with Martin Buber and Edward Said. Professor Butler also had extensive conversations with students and faculty. Pictured below: (R-L) Professors Butler, Jasmin Habib (University of Waterloo, Canada) Mark Behr (Rhodes College) and Rhodes graduating senior Anna Lockhart. Anna Lockhart is this year’s recipient of the English Department’s Jane Donaldson Kepple Creative Writing Award (Fiction).















The English Department and the Rhodes GLBTQ Working Group were recently delighted to host Transgender activist and former NCAA Division I basketball player Kye Allums. While visiting various groups and speaking on campus Kye spent time with students in Prof Behr′s Queer Theory course.








Pictured above: English Professors Ernest Gibson and Mark Behr, with Kye Allums and Dr Pam Detrie, chair of the Rhodes GLBTQ Working Group. 


The Rhodes College Department of English co-sponsored "Occupy Shakespeare: Shakespeare and/in the Humanities”; a lecture by Marjorie Garber on March 27th, 2014 in Hardie Auditorium. Read more






Marjorie Garber visits Professor Mark Behr′s class.


The Rhodes College Creative Writing Lecture Series presented a reading by Professor Valerie Sayers on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm in Blount Auditorium/Buckman Hall. Professor Sayers is the author of six novels, including her most recent, "The Powers", which contemplates baseball, pacifism, and acts of witness in parallel narratives of prose and photography. 

(Professors Valerie Sayers and Mark Behr pictured above)


Samson Agonistes: Milton′s Essay of Dramatic Poesy lecture to be given by Professor Ann Baynes Coiro on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 was canceled due to a family emergency. 


The Rhodes College Department of English Creative Writing Lecture Series presented "An Evening with Dana Levin".  Poet Dana Levin grew up in California’s Mojave Desert and earned a BA from Pitzer College and an MA from New York University. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and teaches at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and Warren Wilson College. The event was held November 7th, 2013 in Frazier Jelke Auditorium B.


         (Pictured above L-R: Professors Caki Wilkinson, Dana Levin and Mark Behr)















                               Booksigning by Poet Dana Levin


Dr. Randall Fuller presented “Walt Whitman’s Civil War” at 7:00 pm on April 11, 2013 in Hardie Auditorium. This event was co-sponsored by the Department of English.















Hosted by The Rhodes College English Department′s Creative Writing Lecture Series, The Spence L. Wilson Chair of Humanities, The Dean’s Office, The Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and The African-American Studies Program - Justice Edwin Cameron presented "Gay Rights Are Civil Rights" on April 03, 2013 at 7:00 pm in Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall to a standing room only audience. (Pictured above L-R: Justice Edwin Cameron, Professor Mark Behr, Professor & Chair Marshall Boswell and Professor Jonathan Judaken) Poster.pdf












Rhodes College Department of English welcomed Professor Peggy Whitman Prenshaw to campus. She presented a lecture entitled "Composing a Life: Southern Women and Autobiography" on Wednesday, October 24th in Clough Hall. Professor Prenshaw is Fred C. Frey Professor of Southern Studies Emerita at Louisiana State University and Millsaps College Humanities Scholar-in-Residence. (Pictured: Professors Peggy Whitman Prenshaw and Leslie Petty)



The Creative Writing Lecture Series hosted an event for acclaimed writer, poet and feminist activist Margaret Randall, who read from and discussed her memoir, My Years In Cuba on October 11th in Blount Auditorium. She also gave a poetry reading in Barret Library on October 12th. Randall, who lived in Cuba from 1968 to 1979, is the author of more than 100 books of poetry, prose, essays and photography. Sponsored by the Department of English, Gender & Sexuality Studies, the Spence L. Wilson Chair of Humanities and the Department of Anthropology & Sociology. (Pictured above: Margaret Randall, Mark Behr, Barbara Byers) Poster.pdf  


The Department of English welcomed Dr. Amanpal Garcha to Rhodes College who presented a lecture on Thursday, September 20th, 2012 in Barret Library entitled "Indecision and the Values of Choice in Nineteenth-Century Fiction”. Sponsored by: The Departments of English and Economics, the Program in Political Economy, and the T.K. Young Chair in English Literature.





Professor Jayne Lewis presented ′The Air We Breathe Here′: Frances Burney′s Evelina and the Human Atmosphere on April 19th, 2012 in Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall. Lewis is professor of English at UC Irvine and the author of several books including Air′s Appearance: Literary Atmosphere in British Fiction, 1660-1794, forthcoming this year with the University of Chicago Press.









Rhodes College Department of English Creative Writing Program presented iconic South African poet and academic Antjie Krog. She gave a lecture and led a discussion on her experiences as a journalist covering South Africa’s controversial and groundbreaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission on November 15th. She also read from her large ouvre of poetry on November 16th, 2011. Her visit was co-sponsored by a number of Rhodes academic departments and programs in collaboration with the Dean’s Office. Poster (Pictured: Antjie Krog and Mark Behr)









Rhodes English Professor, Dr. Rychetta Watkins, presented "Solidarity in Struggle: The Similarities and Differences in Black Power and Yellow Power" at the National Civil Rights Museum as part of the Lunch & Learn Series which is a free public program on November 16th, 2011.  

2011 marked the quatercentenary of the 1611 publication of the "King James" Bible. The Pearce Shakespeare Endowment hosted a series of events exploring this translation November 9-11, 2011. Poster


Rhodes College Department of English was a sponsoring institution of the North American Victorian Studies Conference held at Vanderbilt University, November 3-6, 2011. Rhodes faculty and students were entitled to no-cost registration for the conference.


Kwame Anthony Appiah (Princeton University) discussed his book "The Honor Code," September 21, 2011 (7:30 pm, Hardie Auditorium). Appiah′s visit was co-sponsored by the Department of English. 


Reading by Dr. Percival Everett - Internationally acclaimed novelist Percival Everett gave a reading of his work on Thursday, March 10th, 2011 at 7:00 pm in Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall. Announcement PDF (Pictured above: Rychetta Watkins, Mark Behr, Percival Everett)

Reading by Dr. Kirk Curnutt
- The Department of English hosted a reading and book signing by Kirk Curnutt, Professor and Chair of English at Troy University, Montgomery campus and author of Breathing Out the Ghost on Thursday, November 18th, 2010. Announcement PDF

Graduate School in English Information Session held Wednesday, September 22, 2010 hosted by Professor Rashna Richards.

"Memphian relishes writing role as second story hits the shelves." Molly Caldwell Crosby, ′95 English Major, had a book signing at Burke′s Book Store on Thursday, April 1st, 2010.

The Pearce Shakespeare Endowment and Rhodes College Environmental Studies Program presented "Green Shakespeare: A Symposium on Ecocriticism and the Bard." International scholars discussed how ecological concepts and "green" issues apply to the interpretation of works by William Shakespeare. Free and open to the public, the symposium was held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall, Friday, 26 March 2010 . (Poster)

Memphis native Dolen Perkins-Valdez read from her debut novel, "Wench", which chronicles the lives of four enslaved women who meet at Tawawa House, a resort in the free state of Ohio. There, they vacation with their slavemasters who are also their lovers. The novel explores the precariousness of these liaisons, providing insight into the nature of love, choice, and lasting friendship amidst the moral and social upheaval caused by slavery. Dr. Perkins-Valdez, a 2009 Robert Olen Butler Fiction Award finalist, has published fiction, reviews, and essays in The Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, African American Review, PMS: PoemMemoirStory, North Carolina Literary Review, the Richard Wright Newsletter, and SLI: Studies in Literary Imagination. Currently, Dolen splits her time between Washington, DC and Seattle where she is a faculty member in Creative Writing at the University of Puget Sound. Wednesday, March 3, 2010 Blount Auditorium/Buckman Hall. Announcement PDF

Lecture by Dr. Jackson Bryer - Dr. Jackson Bryer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, College Park spoke about The Great Gatsby. November 5th, 2009, Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall. Announcement PDF

Pearce Shakespeare Endowment Concert - Music of Shakespeare′s England, performed by The City Musick. An early music instrumental ensemble, The City Musick, will be giving a program called “The Topping Tooters of the Town: The Music of the City Waits 1500-1700”, with an emphasis on the music associated with the theatre in Shakespeare’s working lifetime (1585-1616). October 20, 2009 7:00 pm Tuthill Auditorium, Hassell Hall.

Alumnae Fiction Reading - Former stars of the Rhodes College Creative Writing Program, Aisha Sharif, Christina LaPrease and Caki Wilkinson, read samples of their work. September 17th, 2009 in Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall.

Shakespeare Birthday Lectures - The Taming of the Shrew Shakespeare scholars Dympna Callaghan (Syracuse University) and Leah Marcus (Vanderbilt University) discussed the challenges to editing and interpreting "The Taming of the Shrew" and related plays on April 24, 2009. This event was in conjunction with the McCoy Theatre′s production of Shakespeare′s play. Sponsored by the Department of English and the Gender & Sexuality Studies (GSS) Program. For information, contact Professor Scott Newstok.

Ralph Ellison Lecture - Scholar Adam Bradley discussed his edition of Ralph Ellison′s second novel, "Three Days Before the Shooting,” to be published by Random House in 2009. Ralph Ellison spent nearly forty years composing his second novel, a follow-up to his 1952 classic, Invisible Man. While he kept writing until just before his death in 1994, he would never finish the book. Instead, Ellison left behind thousands of pages of notes, typescript drafts, and computer print-outs that together comprise an expansive vision of his novel so long in-progress. For fifteen years, the vast majority of this material has been restricted from public view. With the publication of Three Days Before the Shooting... in 2009, readers and scholars alike will have the opportunity to see what Ellison kept to himself for more than half his life. Adam Bradley has been working with Ellison′s manuscripts in one capacity or another since he was nineteen years-old, first as a research assistant to Ellison′s literary executor, John Callahan, and now as co-editor with Professor Callahan on this unprecedented posthumous publication. While a small, but significant portion of Ellison′s second novel was published as Juneteenth in 1999, the vast majority of "Three Days Before the Shooting" will be new to readers. April 02, 2009

Hip-Hop Lecture - Hip-hop scholar Adam Bradley discussed his new study, "Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip-Hop." Rap may be the most revolutionary development in poetry over the past thirty years, and whenyet its originality is often hidden in plain sight. Beneath the beat, the bluster, and the hype, the heart of hip hop lies in its lyrics. Book of Rhymes explores America′s least understood poets, unpacking their complex craft and according them the respect they deserve as lyricists. Examining the language and techniques of hip hop′s most memorable artists, Book of Rhymes argues that a new world of rhythm and rhyme awaits us if we only put aside our preconceptions and approach rap with new ears and new eyes. Featuring lyrics and wisdom from Melle Mel, William Shakespeare, Run-DMC, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rakim, Emily Dickinson, Public Enemy, T. S. Eliot, De La Soul, Langston Hughes, A Tribe Called Quest, William Butler Yeats, The Notorious B. I. G., Robert Frost, Tupac, Edward Hirsch, Jay-Z, Derek Walcott, Eminem, Frances Mayes, Kanye West, Ted Kooser, Lil Wayne, and more. Sponsored by the departments of English and African American Studies, and the Black Student Association (BSA). April 01, 2009

Reading by Elizabeth Crane - Elizabeth Crane is the author of two collections of short stories from Little, Brown, When the Messenger is Hot and All this Heavenly Glory. Her latest collection, You Must be Happy to Enter, is due February 2008 from Punk Planet Books. Her work has also been featured in publications including Washington Square, New York Stories, Sycamore Review, Book, Florida Review, Eclipse, Bridge, Sonora Review, The Chicago Reader, Sleepwalk, The Believer, McSweeney′s Future Dictionary of America, The Banana King, and All Hands On: The 2ndhand Reader. She received the Chicago Public Library 21st Century Award, granted by The Chicago Public Library Foundation, in October 2003. A New York City native, she now lives in Chicago with her husband and teaches writing at Northwestern′s School of Continuing Studies and The University of Chicago. Thursday, March 26h, 2009.

Students of Dr. Kristin Cole gave medieval literature presentations on December 6, 2008 including performances of “The Second Shepherds’ Play,” medieval music, and a modern film adaptation of “The Miller’s Tale,” the most famous of The Canterbury Tales. The presentations took place in Hardie Auditorium.

The Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society and the Department of English at Rhodes College presented: An evening with the Creative Writing faculty authors on Thursday, November 13 at 5:00 p.m. in Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall. English professors Tina Barr, Marshall Boswell, and Barrett Hathcock read from their works. Dr. Tina Barr directs the Creative Writing Program at Rhodes. Her book of poems, The Gathering Eye, won Editor′s Prize at Tupelo Press out of a group of 1,000 manuscripts. Dr. Marshall Boswell, a member of the Rhodes English Department since 1996, teaches courses in 20th Century American Literature and Fiction Writing. In addition to full-length studies of contemporary writers John Updike and David Foster Wallace, Boswell has published two works of fiction, the story collection Trouble with Girls, and the novel, Alternative Atlanta. Barrett Hathcock joined the Rhodes English department in August 2008. He teaches courses in fiction writing, playwriting, and screenwriting. Professor Hathcock graduated from Rhodes College in 2000.

The English Lecture Series presented Philip Weinstein, November 06, 2008 - Philip Weinstein is Alexander Griswold Cummins Professor of English at Swarthmore College. He teaches seminars in Modern Comparative Literature, as well as a range of courses in American and British fiction. He spoke from his current research project, entitled Dark Twins: Faulkner and Race. His publications include Henry James and the Requirements of the Imagination (Harvard Press, 1971), The Semantics of Desire: Changing Models of Identity from Dickens to Joyce (Princeton, 1984), Faulkner’s Subject: A Cosmos No One Owns (Cambridge, 1992), What Else But Love? The Ordeal of Race in Faulkner and Morrison (Columbia, 1996), and, most recently, Unknowing: The Work of Modernist Fiction (Cornell, 2005). (Pictured above Philip Weinstein and Rychetta Watkins)

Poetry Reading by Matthea Harvey, September 25, 2008 - B.A., Harvard College. M.F.A., University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Poet; author of Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (Alice James Books, 2000); Sad Little Breathing Machine (Graywolf, 2004); Modern Life (Graywolf, 2007); and a children’s book, The Little General and the Giant Snowflake (Soft Skull Press, 2007). Contributing editor for jubilat and BOMB. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn, New York. (Pictured above: Matthea Harvey and Tina Barr)

Discussion with Sarah Lacy, September 22, 2008 - Sarah Lacy is an award winning journalist and author of the critically acclaimed book, Once You′re Lucky, Twice You′re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0 (Gotham Books, May 2008). Lacy has been a reporter in Silicon Valley for nearly a decade, covering everything from the tiniest startups to the largest public companies. She writes a biweekly column for called "Valley Girl" and is co-host of Yahoo! Finance′s Tech Ticker. She lives in San Francisco.

April 09, 2008 Creative Writing Lecture Series - Holiday Reinhorn′s debut short story collection Big Cats was published in 2005 by Free Press/Simon & Schuster. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers′ Workshop; the recipient of a Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction and a Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and a finalist for the PEN/ Short Story Award. A nominee for both the Pushcart Prize and the anthology Best New American Voices, she lives in Van Nuys, California. Other work has appeared most recently in the fiction anthologies, This Is Not Chick Lit and The Worst Years of Your Life, both published by Random House. Her stories have appeared in Tin House, Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, Other Voices, Northwest Review, and other literary magazines.

April 08, 2008 English Lecture Series Presented: Laura Chrisman
I′m of African-American, Ashkenazy Jewish and US Anglo origins, am from a Marxist, feminist and black nationalist political background, and grew up in he Highlands of Scotland; all this has influenced my research interests. I analyze the cultures of imperialism and of anti-colonialist resistance, and have a particular interest in South Africa. I am also vey interested in black Atlantic and black diaspora studies. My current interdisciplinary book project is provisionally titled Nationalism, Modernity and Transnationalism in African Intellectuals. The book focuses on black South African nationalists, and their links with African-American intellectuals of the early 20th century.

March 13, 2008 Creative Writing Lecture Series presented Poet Jeffrey Levine
Jeffrey Levine is the author of two Prize-winning volumes of poetry. Tom Lux has said of his work "Jeffrey Levine′s poems read like brilliant jazz riffs played by a master classcal musician. They sing. They sway. They swing." He has won the Larry Levis Prize from the Missouri Review, the James Hearst Award from the North American Review, The Missouri Review Poetry Prize, and The Kestrel Poetry Prize. Levine, a former corporate attorney, founded Tupelo Press, one of the premier small literary presses in America.

Shakespeare in Color: A Symposium on Macbeth and African American Performance and Appropriations
“Shakespeare in Color: A Symposium on Macbeth and African American Performances and Appropriations” will be held on Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 in Blount Auditorium from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m at Rhodes College. National scholars, local artists, a film director and a Hollywood actor will engage in a conversation about African American adaptations and casting in productions of Macbeth. The symposium is presented in conjunction with local productions of Shakespeare′s Macbeth by Hattiloo Theatre and Verdi′s Macbeth by Opera Memphis.The lecturers presenting in the morning are literary scholars working on very suggestive projects; the panels in the afternoon will be more directed towards questions of performance. Finally, the Rhodes Jazz Ensemble will perform selections from Duke Ellington’s Shakespearean suite, Such Sweet Thunder, at the closing reception. The symposium is sponsored by Rhodes’ Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA); additional support comes from the Departments of Theatre, African American Studies, and English. For more information, contact Professor Scott Newstok at

January 23, 2008 Hamp Markel Fiction Reading - Hamp Markel ’06, who holds a B.A. in English from Rhodes, has published a story in the nationally known journal, Shenandoah. Shenandoah is published at Washington and Lee University and edited by R.T. Smith. Markel’s “Fingerprints” appears in the current issue, Volume 57, Number 2, Fall 2007. Markel wrote the story during his senior year. A creative writing student at Rhodes, Markel took four classes each with English professors Stephen Schottenfeld and Marshall Boswell, including fiction writing.

September 13, 2007 Creative Writing Lecture Series presented Anthony Doerr - This year the Writers Reading Series brought esteemed author Anthony Doerr to Rhodes for a Fiction Reading. Doerr has published three books, The Shell Collector, About Grace, and Four Seasons in Rome. His collection of short stories, The Shell Collector, received two O. Henry Prizes, the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, and the Ohioana Book Award. The British literary magazine Granta selected Doerr as one of the twenty-one Best Young American Novelists in 2007. Doerr chose to read a short story titled "Procreate, Generate" published in the same issue of Granta. After the reading, there was a Q&A session in which Doerr answered questions about his work and fiction writing in general.