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Department of English

The Read/Write Lecture Series

The Read/Write Series hosted by the Department of English at the University of Rhode Island, features a minimum of four readings each academic year by a range of writers (from emerging new talent to literary luminaries) in a variety of literary genres. Readings usually take place on Thursday afternoons and are followed by Q and A sessions. Books by our authors are available to purchase at Read/Write events, and audience members are encouraged to join the writer at a reception directly following the reading for more informal discussion.  English majors, Language majors, and students enrolled in our creative writing workshops and seminars are especially encouraged to attend all Read/Write events, and faculty try to make a point of including our invited guests’ books in their classes when possible.

The Read/Write Series is well-known and highly regarded both within and beyond the URI community, and has gained a reputation for its encouragement of shared creativity and spirited discussion. All of our events are free and open to the public and usually enjoy large and enthusiastic audiences from the larger RI reading public as well as faculty and students from URI and surrounding colleges.

The Read/Write Series has most recently hosted Donald Revell, D.A. Powell, Alfred Corn, David Shields, Amy Hoffman, Chris Forhan, Alessandra Lynch, Fawzia Afzal-Kahn, Renee Gladman,  Mairead Byrne, Michael Cirelli, Ada Limon, Jan Clausen, Jane Lazar, Nahid Machlin, Patricia Carlin, Jess Row, Aaron Smith, Maria Mazziotti Gillan,  Phillis Levin, Mark Bibbins, Kathy Ossip, Patricia Spears Jones,  and Matt Sharpe.

Photos: top right - Matthea Harvey in Q and A; next down - Engaged students ask questions following a reading - just above left: Donald Revell signs for Tatiana Uhoch; just above center - Renee Gladman and Mairead Byrne in q and a; just above right - David Shields signs a copy of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto


For decades, the URI Writers Collective, a dedicated group of faculty, graduate students, and occasionally community members, hosted readings and workshops, organized colloquia and discussion groups relative to the literary arts, initiated a Coffee Hour for URI undergraduate English majors, (to encourage dialogue beyond the classroom), and orchestrated undergraduate and graduate readings that emerged from our Creative Writing seminars. In 2005-2006, URI English major alum and New School graduate and poet, Penelope Cray, having returned temporarily to teach part-time at URI, formalized the Writers Collective reading series, titled it Read/Write, and co-organized the series with Professor Mary Cappello.

In its inaugural year, the Read/Write Series was designed specifically to showcase the range and depth of literary practice, talent, and expertise of per course Instructors in the English Department whose work otherwise might miss attention, as well as to continue the initiative to bring writers from across the country and abroad to read at URI. In ‘05/’06, the series featured the writers Talvikki Ansel, Matthea Harvey, Amity Gaige, Kevin Prufer, Gillian Kiley, Anna Rabinowitz, Miranda Mellis, Christina Pugh, Kate Schatz, Jason Stumpf, Tisa Bryant, Robert Leuci, Timothy Watt, Mary Angel Blount, Sam White, Jessica Gianfrocco, Craig Morgan Teicher, Matt Derby, Kathleen Hughes, and Jody Lisberger.

In years past, the Writers Collective boasted the presence on campus of acclaimed British novelist, Sarah Waters; biographer, memoirist and literary critic, Sharon O’Brien; Russian literary theorist and writer, Mikhail Epstein; Sicilian American writer and critic Edvige Giunta and filmmaker, Kym Ragusa; queer nonfiction, fiction writer, and film theorist, James Morrison; African American fiction and nonfiction writer, Thomas Glave; URI alum Norah Pollard, the poet, and daughter of the famous jockey, “Red” Pollard, and URI alum, Michael C. Keith, author of numerous books on broadcast media-radio, and the memoir, The Next Better Place. In concert with faculty and students in Modern Languages, the Collective also sponsored multi-lingual readings in comparative literatures, and readings in tandem with art produced by faculty in URI’s Art Department.

In academic year 2006/2007, the arrival of poet and Assistant Professor Peter Covino breathed new life into the Read/Write series once again and the series continues under his Directorship with the help of Professor Mary Cappello.

Photos: above right - Poet Kate Shapira asks a question; center right - Stephen Church talks after reading with Professor J. Jennifer Jones; bottom right - An engaged Jody Lisberger, Mary Cappello, Nancy Abeshaus, Linda Langlois, and Peter Covino at a Read/Write Reading

Photos: above left - Peter Covino introduces a reading; above center - David Shields talking with audience members following his reading and discussion of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto; above right - Dean Wlnnie Brownell purchases books following a Read/Write Event


In 2005/06, the Read/Write Series was made possible by a hugely successful weeklong Book Sale carried out by the faculty in the English Department, and thereafter by the generous individual contributions of Professor Dorothy Donnelly, Dean Winifred Brownell, and Provost Beverly Swan. More recently, the Read/Write Series has been made possible by the generous support of a grant from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, and underwritten in part by the Citizens Foundation, Citizens Bank. The English Department seeks to establish an Endowment for the Series, and invites Alum and other interested parties to send contributions to The URI Foundation.
Photos: above left & right - Backroads of Slocum enroute to the URI Campus; center - Jane Lazarre and Jan Clausen on the rocky shore in Narragansett following their reading

upcoming events

Click here for a list of Upcoming Events.

Contact Information

For more information about the Read/Write Series, please contact the Series’ new Director, Associate Professor Peter Covino, or Professor Mary Cappello.