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Visiting Writers Series Brings 19 Authors to Campus

Colorado College will present 19 writers and poets in the upcoming 2014-15 Visiting Writers Series, including Hampton Sides, CC's newly appointed journalist-in-residence and author of the recently published "In the Kingdom of Ice," Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award-winning novel "Let The Great World Spin," and Robert Pinsky, former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize nominee.

The Visiting Writers Series, which has brought more than 200 authors to campus since its inception, exposes the CC community, as well as the community at large, to a wide range of famous and not-yet-famous writers. In addition to giving public readings, visiting writers also teach a variety of classes and workshops.

"The series gives students a chance to meet - and often work closely with - some of the great writers of our time," said Steven Hayward, who currently heads the program, along with David Mason, both of CC's English Department. "When you teach, you never know what it is that will ignite a student's imagination, whether it be a particular reading or the experience of seeing a specific writer in conversation about their work. Visiting Writers provides an opportunity for students to not just see writers from a distance, in the context of a public reading, but to actually spend time with them and have a chance to ask their own questions, to talk directly about the way a book or a poem has been constructed with the author. It is an essential, irreplaceable experience."

The Visiting Writers Series also has become something of an institution in Colorado Springs. "Book clubs, high school English classes, KRCC listeners of every stripe make it their business to get the calendar and be at the events consistently," Hayward said. "At our last reading, a woman pulled me aside and told me that the series had become part of her life. 'There's five of us,' she said. 'It's a thing we do. It's our thing.' That's as eloquent a testimony about the impact and the role the series plays in the life of the community as any I can think of."

This year's series includes three Colorado College alumni: Michael Nava, author of the acclaimed series of Henry Rios mysteries and the new historical novel "The City of Palaces," Aspen Matis, a New York Times correspondent and author of the memoir "Girl in the Woods," and English Professor David Mason, who recently concluded four years as Colorado's poet laureate and whose newest work is "Davey McGravy: Tales for Children and Adult Children."

The program kicked off Sept. 11 with a reading by Sides, and the series continues through May 7, when Visiting Assistant English Professor Bryan Hurt, editor of the acclaimed collection "The Loudest Voice," reads from his fiction and discusses his approach to writing. All 19 readings are free and open to the public.

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