Converge Lecture Series
Featured Speakers

 

Marie Howe
October 1, 2017

Marie Howe is the author of four volumes of poetry: Magdalene: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2017); The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W.W. Norton, 2009); What the Living Do (1997); and The Good Thief (1988). She is also the co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (1994). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others.


George Saunders
February 2, 2018

George Saunders is the author of a novel, four collections of short stories, a novella, and a book of essays. His long-awaited novel and most recent book, Lincoln in the Bardo, was published in 2017 and helped him earn the Man Booker Prize. Saunders’s collection, Tenth of December, was the winner of the 2014 Story Prize and the 2014 Folio Prize. The recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation Genius grant, his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine, and has appeared in the O’HenryBest American Short StoryBest Non-Required Reading, and Best American Travel Writing anthologies. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine in 2013.


Richard Blanco
May 6, 2018


Selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his three collections of poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, which received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize; Directions to The Beach of the Dead, recipient of the Beyond Margins Award; and Looking for The Gulf Motel, recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award. He has also authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of the Lambda Literary Prize. His latest book, Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States.


edwidge danticat
November 4, 2018

Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of BonesThe Dew BreakerCreate Dangerously, and Claire of the Sea Light. She is also the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States,  Best American Essays 2011,  Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2. She  has written six books for  children and young adults, AnacaonaBehind the MountainsEight DaysThe Last MapouMama’s NightingaleUntwine, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her Memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a  2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.  She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow.


edited.jpg

Karen Russell
February 8, 2019


KAREN RUSSELL won the 2012 and the 2018 National Magazine Award for fiction, and her first novel, Swamplandia! (2011), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and one of The New York Times’ Ten Best Books of 2011. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim award and is a former fellow of the NYPL Cullman Center and the American Academy in Berlin. She graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University and received her MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, she now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and son. She is the Endowed Chair of Texas State University’s MFA program, where she teaches in the fall semesters.


Carmen Maria Machado
October 4, 2019


Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties. Her work has appeared in Granta, the New YorkerGuernicaTin House, and elsewhere. She has received the Bard Fiction Prize, and been a finalist for the The National book award, Kirkus Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, and Nebula Award. Carmen is an immense fan of the horror genre and has a special place in her heart for Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. She is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, and lives in Philadelphia with her wife. Her memoir In the Dream House is forthcoming in 2019 from Graywolf Press.