The Literary Arts Program at Brown is the hub of a vibrant, campus-wide literary community with an active slate of readings, plays, festivals and performances that gives student writers unique exposure to important voices in contemporary literature.
Each year, the Program sponsors between twenty and forty on-campus readings by distinguished and experimental writers. Recent readers have included W.S. Merwin, Wole Soyinka, Michael Ondaatje, Patricia Eakins, Gail Scott, John Kinsella, Kamau Brathwaite, Shahrnush Parsipur, and Marjorie Welish. Graduate students contribute their voices as well, taking part in the Night of a Thousand and One Readings and the Student/Faculty Reading Series. In addition, Brown boasts a thriving literary scene that extends beyond the Literary Arts Program. The President’s Lecture Series, Brown Bookstore, Student Lecture Committee and Library Forum each bring many renowned writers to campus.
Thanks to the generosity of the Beinecke Foundation and an anonymous donor, the Literary Arts Program has been able to host major literary festivals each year since 1991. Over the last decade, these festivals have brought to Brown dozens of writers, filmmakers, theater artists and musicians from a wide variety of cultures and artistic traditions. Some of our past festivals have included a Festival of African Writing; Unspeakable Practices II: A Celebration of Vanguard Narrative; Crossing the Line, a Cuban-U.S. exchange of non-linear narrative; Original Voices, a festival of innovative women writers; Queer Tales: A Festival of Gay Fiction; two Freedom to Write conferences, and many others.
The Literary Arts Program has an active residency program that brings compelling writers to campus for week-long stays. Resident writers read the work of graduate students and meet with them in informal conferences, giving useful new perspectives on works-in-progress. Recent past residents at Brown have included Charles Bernstein, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Robert Chibka, Nilo Cruz, Norma Cole, Maria Irene Fornes, Jorie Graham, David Foster Wallace, Jackson Mac Low, and many others.
Each spring, the Literary Arts Program awards 15 creative writing prizes in various categories to original manuscripts written by graduate and undergraduate students. Prizes are judged by members of the Literary Arts faculty; each prize includes a monetary award. Each manuscript being entered in a prize competition must be delivered to the Literary Arts Program Office, 68.5 Brown St., by 4 p.m. on the day of the deadline; electronic works must be accompanied by a typed/printed version. Complete prize rules, deadlines, and application forms will be posted on this website during the spring semester.