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Visiting Writers Series--Fall 2015

All Kelly Writers Series events are free and open to the public. We hope you will join us!


Heather McDonald

September 8, 2015
4:15 pm
Watson Forum
(The Pulliam Center for
Contemporary Media)


December 2, 2015
7:30 pm
Peeler Center Auditorium
graphics for An Almost Holy Picture

Heather McDonald is a playwright, screenwriter, theatre director and teacher. She’s published eight plays, including An Almost Holy Picture, Dream of a Common Language, When Grace Comes In, and The Rivers and Ravines. An Almost Holy Picture was produced on Broadway, and her other plays have been produced in theatres nationally and internationally, including The Roundabout Theatre, Arena Stage, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Signature Theatre and others. Her most recent work, STAY, is the result of a two-year collaboration with choreographer Susan Shields, combining theatre, dance, music and SLAM multimedia projections.

Her work has been honored with a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize, three NEA Playwriting Fellowships, The First Prize Kesselring Award and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has written and sold two screenplays, “Rocket 88” and “Walking After Midnight” and is at work on a new project for television, “GOLD.” Ms. McDonald also wrote the libretto for the opera “The End of the Affair,” adapted from the novel by Graham Greene.

McDonald has been a regular teacher at the Kennedy Center Intensive at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and is an artistic associate of the Theater of the First Amendment. She has attended the Sundance Institute twice, first as a director, and most recently as a playwright for the 2010 Playwrights Retreat at Ucross. She received her MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and is Professor of Theater at George Mason University where she is head of Playwriting and Dramaturgy.

Heather McDonald is this year's Mary Rogers Field and Marion Field-McKenna Distinguished University Professor of Creative Writing.




September 30, 2015
7: 30 pm
Thompson Recital Hall
(Green Center for Performing Arts)

 Adonis is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Adonis: Selected Poems (2010, translated by Khaled Mattawa), Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs (2008), If Only the Sea Could Sleep (2002), and The Blood of Adonis (1971), which won the International Poetry Forum’s Syria-Lebanon Award. Adonis is also the author of the seminal work An Introduction to Arab Poetics (2003).
Adonis has won the first ever International Nâzim Hikmet Poetry Award, the Norwegian Academy for Literature and Freedom of Expression’s Bjørnson Prize, the Highest Award of the International Poem Biennial in Brussels, and the Syria-Lebanon Best Poet Award. In 1983 he was elected into the Stéphané Mallarmé Academy.
Breaking with the tradition of formal structure in Arabic poetry, Adonis experiments with free verse, variable meters, and prose poetry as he engages themes of exile and transformation, in a voice at once playful and prophetic. In a 2010 interview with Charles McGrath for the New York Times, Adonis stated, “I wanted to draw on Arab tradition and mythology without being tied to it,” adding, “I wanted to break the linearity of poetic text — to mess with it, if you will. The poem is meant to be a network rather than a single rope of thought.” Publishers Weekly described Adonis’ collection Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs as a “seminal, startling, volatile, founding work of Arabic-language modernism."
Adonis has taught at the Sorbonne, Damascus University, and the Lebanese University. He lives in Paris.


Fiction Writer
Karen Joy Fowler

October 28, 2015
7:30 pm
Peeler Center Auditorium

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of seven novels and four short story collections. Her most recent novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2014. The Jane Austen Book Club spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was a New York Times Notable Book. Fowler’s previous novel, Sister Noon, was a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Her debut novel, Sarah Canary, was a New York Times Notable Book, as was her second novel, The Sweetheart Season. In addition, Sarah Canary won the Commonwealth medal for best first novel by a Californian, and was listed for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize as well as the Bay Area Book Reviewers Prize. Fowler’s short story collection Black Glass won the World Fantasy Award in 1999, and her collection What I Didn’t See won the World Fantasy Award in 2011. Fowler and her husband, who have two grown children and five grandchildren, live in Santa Cruz, California.