Loyola University Maryland

Writing Department

Modern Masters Reading Series

image divider

The Modern Masters Reading Series, sponsored by the writing department and with support from the Center for the Humanities, brings nationally and internationally known writers to Loyola's campus.

Through visiting writers who represent diverse backgrounds and a variety of genres, our student-writers learn to see literature as a living art produced by actual people whose anecdotes and asides offer illuminating insights into their vision and approach to craft. From small-group workshops to class visits to open question-and-answer sessions, Loyola’s writing students have the rare opportunity to speak directly to successful authors.

In recent years, the most gratifying responses to our guests—contemporary writers of distinguished achievement—have come from Loyola students: apprentice writers who, in many cases, have never before attended a reading, have never been part of a "great audience," and do not know what to expect from such an event.

We’re always open to suggestions for future readers from the entire Loyola community. Please feel free to contact the Modern Masters chair, Peggy O'Neill, with any questions or ideas for next year's series. Or, you may call 410-617-2228 for more information.

2014-2015 Schedule
All readings are free and open to the public.

Fall 2014

Thursday, October 9: Garrett Hongo
5:00 p.m., 4th Floor Program Room, Andrew White Student Center

Garrett Hongo was born in Volcano, Hawai`i and grew up on the North Shore of O`ahu and in Los Angeles. He was educated at Pomona College, the University of Michigan, and UC Irvine, where he received an M.F.A. He has held teaching appointments at USC, UC Irvine, Houston, Vanderbilt, and the University of Florence in Italy. His work includes three books of poetry, three anthologies, and Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai`i. He is the editor of The Open Boat: Poems from Asian America (Anchor) and Under Western Eyes: Personal Essays from Asian America (Anchor). Poems and essays of his have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, APR, Honolulu Weekly, Amerasia Journal, Virginia Quarterly Review, Raritan, and the LA TimesAmong his honors are the Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA grants, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His latest book of poetry, Coral Road, was published by Knopf in Fall 2011. He is presently completing a book of non-fiction entitled The Perfect Sound: An Autobiography in Stereo. He teaches at the University of Oregon, where he is Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences.

Wednesday, November 5: Adam Gopnik
6:30 p.m., 4th Floor Program Room, Andrew White Student Center
Co-Sponsored by the Messina Program

This award-winning journalist speaks with singular wit, eloquence and insight on modern life and culture. He has a rich trove of delightful stories and revealing observations about people and places and everyday life.

Adam writes long essays on big thinkers for The New Yorker. He has a genius for bringing these people and their ideas to life in and for communicating the emotions behind these ideas, the feelings these ideas evoke in us, and their relevance to modern life.

Adam also writes in another genre, which he calls ‘comic-personal essays’ — funny and touching stories about how families live (especially his own family) in the storied cities of Paris and New York. In these books and in the talk based on them, Adam shows tremendous gentleness and wisdom in opening our hearts and showing us who we are through our relation to place.

His most recent book, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food, is a strong example of this comic-personal style. Adam goes on a quest to find the meaning of food and discovers that what matters the most isn't what goes on the table, it's what gathers around it: family, friends, lovers and conversation.

Spring 2015

Thursday, January 29: Rachel Aviv
5:00 p.m., 4th Floor Program Room, Andrew White Student Center

Rachel Aviv, a staff writer at the New Yorker, writes about criminal justice, psychiatry, education, and the law. In 2010, she was a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. She has received the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for mental health journalism and the 2012 American Psychoanalytic Association award for excellence in journalism. She has also been published in magazines such as Harper’s and the New Times Magazine, and her writing has been collected in The Best American Non-Required Reading and The Best American Science Writing. Aviv earned her M.F.A. in nonfiction from Columbia University and her B.A. from Brown University.

Thursday, February 19: Neil O'Boyle Connelly
5:00 p.m., 4th Floor Program Room, Andrew White Student Center

Neil O'Boyle Connelly is the author of five novels: Saint Michael's Scales (Arthur A. Levine, 2010), which was a finalist for the 2002 Borders Original Voices series; Buddy Cooper Finds a Way (Simon and Schuster, 2004); The Miracle Stealer (Arthur A. Levine, 2002); The Midlife Crisis of Captain Invincible! (LSU Press, 2013) and A Pocket Guide to Divorce (Gorsky Press, 2014), winner of the Molly Ivors Prize for Fiction. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and in 2006 Oxford American included him in a list of prominent novelists in the Southern United States. Connelly directed the creative writing M.F.A. program at McNeese State University before assuming his current position as an assistant professor of English at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. 

Wednesday, March 25: Sheri Booker
6:00 p.m., McGuire Hall
Co-Sponsored by ALANA Services and the Women's Center

Sheri Booker, writer, poet, and spoken word artist, won the 2014 NAACP Image Award for literary work by a debut author for her memoir, Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner City Funeral Home (Gotham Books, 2013). Abigail Meisel, in a New York Times book review, noted, “Booker’s descriptions of her experiences of loss, dating and coming of age are interesting, but it’s her revelations about the daily workings of a funeral home in a poor, urban setting that are transfixing.” Ms. Booker is also the author of the poetry book, One Woman, One Hustle (2003) and the book, I am the Poem (2011). Ms. Booker earned her M.F.A. at Goucher College and her B.A. in Political Science from Notre Dame University of Maryland. She spent 2007 teaching in South Africa and has also taught at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. 

Wednesday, April 22: Lidia Yuknavitch
5:00 p.m., 4th Floor Program Room, Andrew White Student Center

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the novel Dora: A Headcase (Hawthorne Books), and the memoir The Chronology of Water (Hawthorne Books), as well as three books of short fictions: Her Other Mouths, Liberty's Excess (FC2), and Real to Reel (FC2), and a critical book on war and narrative, Allegories of Violence (Routledge). Her writing has appeared in publications including Ms., The Iowa Review, Zyzzyva, Another Chicago Magazine, The Sun, Exquisite Corpse, TANK, and in the anthologies Life As We Show It (City Lights), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil), Forms at War (FC2), Feminaissance (Les Figues Press), and Representing Bisexualities (SUNY). She is the recipient of the Oregon Book Award - Reader's Choice, a PNBA award, and was a finalist for the 2012 Pen Center creative nonfiction award.