Save the Date: Michener Center’s Visiting Professors Read their Works Dec. 3

Visiting professors, Jim Crace and Anthony Giardina, will be reading and discussing their literary works at a campus event hosted by the Michener Center for Writers on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Aces Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302.

 image of booksCrace’s ten books to date have received such honors as the Whitbread Novel Award and the National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award (Being Dead). His books Quarantine and Harvest have been shortlisted twice for the Man Booker Prize. His archive resides at the university’s Ransom Center

booksAnthony Giardina is the author of five novels, a story collection, and numerous plays, most recently City of Conversation, which has its world premier at Lincoln Center last year.

Parking is available in the nearby UT San Jacinto Garage, and the event is free and open to the public.


Award-Winning Guatemalan Novelist David Unger to Read from his Works

image of book coverGuatemalan novelist and translator David Unger will discuss his works today from 4 to 6 p.m. in Benedict Hall, room 2.104.

Unger won the 2014 Premio Nacional de Literatura Miguel Angel Asturias, the highest award for a Guatemalan writer. He is the international Representative for the Guadalajara International Book Fair and teaches at the City College of New York. His new novel, El manipulador (The Manipulator), has just appeared in both Spanish and English editions.

The event is hosted by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies. Co-Sponsored by LLILAS Benson.

Faculty Authors Showcase their Works at the 20th Annual Texas Book Festival

image of logoBookworms, foodies, artists and scholars will partake in an annual rite of fall here in Austin: The Texas Book Festival! This Texas-size literary event will take place in and around the State Capitol and nearby venues on Oct. 17-18.

A record 300 authors are coming to the festival—the largest number in its 20-year history.  Here are just few highlights featuring education outreach events and top faculty authors from colleges and schools throughout the Forty Acres. Dates, times and locations will be available on the Texas Book Festival website later this month. Use this hashtag to join the conversation: #TXBookFest

Special Events

image of book and authorThe Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken Wendell Pierce, Actor and Tony Award-Winning Producer
Moderated by Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement

On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina barreled into New Orleans, devastating many of the city’s neighborhoods, including Pontchartrain Park, the home of Wendell Pierce’s family and the first African American middle-class subdivision in New Orleans. Pierce and his family were some of the lucky ones: They survived and were able to ride out the storm at a relative’s house 70 miles away. Read more here…

About the author: Wendell Pierce was born in New Orleans and is an actor and Tony Award-winning producer. He starred in all five seasons of the acclaimed HBO drama The Wire and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the role. He also starred in the HBO series Treme and has appeared in many feature films including Selma, Ray, Waiting to Exhale, and Hackers. Since Hurricane Katrina, Pierce has been helping to rebuild the flood-ravaged Pontchartrain Park neighborhood in New Orleans.

15th Annual Youth Fiction Writing Contest
Co-hosted by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

writingcontestThe Fiction Writing Contest encourages and rewards creative writing in Texas schools. Junior and high school Texas students are invited to submit a piece of original fiction, no more than 2,000 words in length. The submissions are judged by Texas Book Festival authors, local educators, and leaders in the publishing industry. Read more here…

Place and Race, a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Leonard Moore, senior associate vice president, DDCE 

image of authorsAuthors Wendy S. Walters and Jason Sokol discuss the dynamic and complicated course of civil rights over the past several decades in America. Racism emerges in unexpected locations, and the ways in which people resist, cope, and consent are not predictable.

Margo Jefferson
Moderated by Shirley Thompson, Departments of Anthropology and Africa and African Diaspora

image of author Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and memoirist Margo Jefferson recounts growing up in a small region of African-American upper class families in Chicago during the civil rights movement and the genesis of feminism. With this point of view, Jefferson discusses race, identity, and American culture, through her own lens. Read more here…


Author Appearances

image of book and author Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City
Javier Auyero, Department of Sociology

Austin, Texas, is renowned as a high-tech, fast-growing city for the young and creative, a cool place to live, and the scene of internationally famous events such as SXSW and Formula 1. But as in many American cities, poverty and penury are booming along with wealth and material abundance in contemporary Austin. Rich and poor residents lead increasingly separate lives as growing socioeconomic inequality underscores residential, class, racial, and ethnic segregation. Read more here…

Reagan: The Life
H.W. Brands, Professor, Department of History

Image of author and bookRonald Reagan today is a conservative icon, celebrated for transforming the American domestic agenda and playing a crucial part in ending communism in the Soviet Union. In his masterful new biography, H. W. Brands argues that Reagan, along with FDR, was the most consequential president of the twentieth century. Reagan took office at a time when the public sector, after a half century of New Deal liberalism, was widely perceived as bloated and inefficient, an impediment to personal liberty. Reagan sought to restore democracy by bolstering capitalism. In Brands’s telling, how Reagan, who voted four times for FDR, engineered a conservative transformation of American politics is both a riveting personal journey and the story of America in the modern era. Read more here…

Destiny of Democracy: The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library Mark K. Updegrove, Director, LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

image of book and authorPresident Lyndon B. Johnson played a monumental role in America’s quest for civil rights. The legacy of those efforts reached a crescendo from April 8 through 10, 2014, as the LBJ Presidential Library hosted a historic Civil Rights Summit to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. A host of luminaries—including President Barack Obama, the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office, and former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—came to the LBJ Library to recognize the progress made in the country’s long, often troubled, journey toward civil rights. Read more here…


Save the Date! “Invisible Austin” Launch Party and Panel Discussion is this Friday at BookPeople

image of bookYou’re invited to a book launch of Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City this Friday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m. at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

In Invisible in Austin, the award-winning UT Austin sociologist Javier Auyero and a team of graduate students explore the lives of those working at the bottom of the social order: house cleaners, office-machine repairers, cab drivers, restaurant cooks and dishwashers, exotic dancers, musicians, and roofers, among others.

Recounting their subjects’ life stories with empathy and sociological insight, the authors show us how these lives are driven by a complex mix of individual and social forces. These poignant stories compel us to see how poor people who provide indispensable services for all city residents struggle daily with substandard housing, inadequate public services and schools, and environmental risks. Timely and essential reading, Invisible in Austin makes visible the growing gap between rich and poor that is reconfiguring the cityscape of one of America’s most dynamic places, as low-wage workers are forced to the social and symbolic margins.

Want to know more about the research that went into this sociological portrait of Austin’s rapidly gentrifying landscape? Check out this Q&A with three sociology graduate students who co-authored the book. For more about the book, visit this website:

Save the Date: Austin African American Book Festival Set for June 27

33442_2720772Austin’s African American Book Festival will explore love, perseverance and intellectual growth under the heading “Black Lives Matter,” on June 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Carver Museum and Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Featured speakers include author M.K. Asante, novelist Beverly Jenkins, and Dr. Kevin Cokley, professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Educational Psychology.


asanteAsante, an award-winning author, poet and filmmaker, will discuss his memoir Buck, and how what he learned on urban streets helped him become not only an artistic tour de force, but also a tenured college professor.


jenkinsWith more than 30 titles to her credit, Jenkins is one of the most widely read writers of historical romances. Much of her work is set in the 19th century and features African American protagonists. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, People, and the Dallas Morning News.


cokelyIn an article for the Harvard Educational Review, Cokley challenges the notion that Black students are anti-intellectual. Cokely, who is also a counseling psychologist, explores how issues of identity impact the achievement of African-American students.

Once again the festival will host book discussions and a Texas author showcase.


Now in its ninth year, the African American Book Festival is a multigenerational event intended to promote literary exploration and library usage in the community.

For more information visit or African American Book Festival on Facebook.

CantoMundo Event Celebrates National Poetry Month

UntitledIn celebration of national poetry month, the CantoMundo Poets at the UT Poetry Center are presenting a poetry reading event on Thursday, April 23 at the Perry-Castaneda Library.

The event will feature readings by Octavio Quintanilla, author of “If I Go Missing,” and Ire’ne Lara Silva, author of “Furia, Flesh to Bone,” and “Blood Sugar Canto.”

CantoMundo co-director and poet Celeste Guzmán Mendoza will lead a discussion on the daily sustenance of Chicano@ poetry, the role of CantoMundo in poetry today, and the political life of poetry broadsides. Barrio Writers youth poets will open the event and join in the closing conversation. Go to this website for more details.

In addition to the poetry reading event, Quintanilla and Lara Silva are offering two free writing workshops on Saturday April 25, 2-5 p.m. at Resistencia Bookstore, 4926 E. Cesar Chavez. Quintanilla’s workshop “What We Love about Poems” will take place at 2-3:30 p.m. Lara Silva’s workshop “Gritos: On Finding the Source of Our Voices” is scheduled for 3:30-5 p.m.

Please RSVP to:

Co-Sponsors include Red Salmon Arts, UT Libraries, CantoMundo, Texas Commission on the Arts, City of Austin Cultural Arts Division.

Coming April 2: LLILAS Presents an Evening of Latin@ Poetry and Spoken Word

llilaseventStop by the Benson Latin American Collection for an evening of poetry readings and spoken-word performances on Thursday, April 2, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The 13th annual ¡A Viva Voz! Migraciones event, hosted by LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, will feature live readings and performances of original work by Central Texas–based poets and spoken word artists.

The following artists will share diverse perspectives around themes of migration and identify:

  • Ariana Brown, Afro-Mexicana poet, performer, and author
  • Marcos Cervantes (aka Mex Step of Third Root hip hop collective), educator and scholar
  • Las Krudas, Cuban hip hop artists
  • Teresa Palomo Acosta, poet, educator and historian
  • Moderator: Celeste Guzmán Mendoza, poet

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments provided. RSVP and find updates on Facebook at

Texas Literature Authors Philipp Meyer and Don Graham to Speak at the Bob Bullock Museum

the-son-secondaryThe UT Michener Center for Writers and the Bullock Texas State History Museum will jointly sponsor a conversation between Michener Center alum Philipp Meyer, author of The Son, and Don Graham, J. Frank Dobie Professor of American and English Literature at UT Austin and legendary scholar of Texas literary history.

Their free talk, at 7:00 p.m.Thursday, February 19 at the Bullock, will explore how Meyer’s five years of research led to the prize-winning novel, how Texas mythology and history shaped the story, and how a transplant from Baltimore came to write one of the Great Texas, and Great American, novels.

Meyer received critical acclaim for his 2009 debut novel, American Rust, and The Son, published in 2013, was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and named in the Top Ten lists of the Washington Post, Amazon, Toronto Globe and Mail, USA Today and Chicago Tribune, among many other honors.

The New York Times said of the book, “only in the greatest historical novels do we come to feel both the distance of the past and our own likely complicity in the sins of a former age.  To that rank, we now add ‘The Son.'”  Meyer was first introduced to Texas novelists such as Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry—as well as to pivotal events in Texas history that inform his story—in a graduate seminar with Graham while earning his MFA at the Michener Center for Writers.

The program is part of the Bullock Museum’s Texas Art and Culture Series, which is generously supported by Lone Star Beer, the national beer of Texas.  The event is free of charge and open to the public.  The Bullock is located at 1800 Congress Avenue  at W. MLK Blvd.

Save the Date: A Reading by Poet Matthea Harvey

ddddThe UT Michener Center for Writers will host a reading by poet Matthea Harvey on Thursday, February 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302, on UT campus at the southeast corner of Speedway and 24th Streets.

Matthea Harvey is the author of five books of poetry, including If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? (2014); Modern Life (2007), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, and New York Times Notable Book; Sad Little Breathing Machine (2004); and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (2000). She has also written two children’s books, Cecil the Pet Glacier and The Little General and the Giant Snowflake.  She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence and lives in Brooklyn.

Poet Jorie Graham has described Harvey’s syntactically shape-shifting poems as “generous, urgent and savingly committed to beauty.”  New York Times reviewer David Orr has said her work “ranges from daffy to plangent—basically, two scoops of John Ashbery and a sprinkling of Gertrude Stein.”

Parking is available in the nearby UT San Jacinto Garage, and the event is free and open to the public.


Michener Center Presents Reading by America’s “Pugilistic Poet” August Kleinzahler

member_image_13229290248615022461Acclaimed poet August Kleinzahler will present a reading at a campus event hosted by the Michener Center for Writers on Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. in the Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302.


Kleinzahler’s impressive body of work is a hybrid of high and low influences, mixing street-smart language and articulate cultural references with his unique brand of hard-boiled whimsy. His outsider stance has also gained him a reputation as a literary bad-boy, the “pugilistic poet,” duking it out with both pop culturists—somewhat famously, Garrison Keillor, over his folksy “Good Poems” anthology—and academics alike. Kleinzahler’s literary fame has built steadily over four decades.


He published a handful of poetry books with independent presses before New York publisher Farrar Straus & Giroux picked up his 1995 “Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow.” They have published his last six books, as well as revived earlier work in new editions.  


Kleinzahler won the distinguished Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2004 for “The Strange Hours Travelers Keep,” and his new and selected poems, “Sleeping it Off in Rapid City” (2008), was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award. His prose also regularly appears in the London Review of Books and Slate, among others, and he has published a volume of meditative essays, “Cutty One Rock:  Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained.” His newest book of poems is “The Hotel Oneira,” which the Guardian describes as “dreamlike yet savvy, among the most delightful flowerings of American poetry in our times.”


The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the nearby UT San Jacinto Garage.