Beck Series

Upcoming Events

Mon, Mar 5
7:00 PM
Slayter Hall, Auditorium
Wed, Apr 4
8:00 PM
Barney-Davis Hall, Board Room
Here are just a few notable speakers from past years: 
  • Eudora Welty Pulitzer Prize winner for “The Optimist's Daughter”
  • Alice Walker Pulitzer Prize & National Book Award winner; author of “The Color Purple ”
  • Tom Stoppard Playwright & Oscar-winning screenwriter for “Shakespeare in Love”
  • W.S. Merwin Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner & United States Poet Laureate
About the Series 

For over fifty years the Beck Series, funded by the Harriet Ewens Beck Endowment for English, has been a mainstay of creative writing studies at Denison University. The series provides students the opportunity to hear, study with, and engage some this country’s finest writers in the close quarters and pastoral setting of our hilltop campus in Granville, Ohio.

Harriet Ewens Beck, class of 1910, developed a lifelong love of poetry after studying high school English with Willa Cather in Pittsburgh. Upon her passing, her husband Gordon C. Beck (class of 1906), arrived on campus in 1960 and announced to Paul Bennett of the English Department, “I want to establish an enduring monument to Harriet, something that will honor her interest in writing.” Beck pledged to fund the endowment and then, over a lunch of peanut butter crackers and chocolate chip cookies in the Student Union, the two men outlined the plans of what would become one of most vibrant and dynamic reading series on any campus in this country.

The Beck Series first visitor was Eudora Welty, whose four-day visit came in April of 1964. She met with faculty, visited classes, and conferenced with students about their manuscripts. That first visit set the tone and template that defines the Beck Series. Visitors to Denison’s campus continue to share their work in public readings, meet with creative writing classes and the campus community, and work with students in one-on-one manuscript consultations or lead workshops. The generous gift from the Beck family has brought to Denison twelve United States’ Poet Laureates and over twenty winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, including Derek Walcott, Louise Erdrich, Mark Strand, Aleksander Hemon, Steven Millhauser, and Edwidge Danticat, to name a few. David Baker, Thomas B. Fordham Chair of Creative Writing, says, “The Beck Series has been one of Denison's jewels, a virtual anthology of American writing since 1960. New, emerging, established, and downright famous writers in every literary genre, from short poems to long novels, political, lyrical, confessional—every literary stance has been represented by our visitors.”

Series Archives

2017 - 2018

Writers Charles Boyer and Randall Horton (102719)
February 20, 2018

Denison's Beck Series welcomes GLCA prize winners Charles Boyer and Randall Horton.

Poet Nate Marshall (102713)
February 5, 2018

Denison's Beck Series welcomes GLCA poetry prize winner Nate Marshall.

‘The King’s Three Bodies: Moby-Dick, with Hobbes’ (102128)
November 30, 2017

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Bonnie Honig, professor at Brown University, presents a lecture, "The King’s Three Bodies: Moby-Dick, with Hobbes."

Authors Daniel and Peter Grandbois (101155)
November 7, 2017

Denison's Beck Series welcomes authors Daniel and Peter Grandbois for a poetry and fiction reading.

Author Kim Edwards (101156)
October 18, 2017

Denison's Beck Series welcomes the author of the best-selling novel "The Memory Keepers Daughter."

Poet Phil Metres (101157)
October 9, 2017

Denison's Beck Series welcomes Phil Metres, award-winning poet, translator and scholar.

Author Ted Genoways (101158)
September 27, 2017

Denison's Beck Series welcomes Ted Genoways, author of "This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Farm."

2016 - 2017

Beck Series features Denison professor Margot Singer (87569)
April 20, 2017

The Beck Series "Home Series" welcomes Denison professor and author Margot Singer.

Nonfiction Writer Rachel Aviv (87570)
April 12, 2017

Denison's Beck Series and Narrative Nonfiction Writing Concentration welcome nonfiction writer Rachel Aviv.

Poet Joanna Klink – Rescheduled (87571)
April 6, 2017

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Joanna Klink.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen (87567)
March 23, 2017

Denison's Beck Series welcomes author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Poet Solmaz Sharif (87565)
February 21, 2017

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Solmaz Sharif.

Writers Lauren Acampora and Shulem Deen (87566)
January 30, 2017

Denison's Beck Series welcomes GLCA prize winners Lauren Acampora and Shulem Deen.

Poet and memoirist Reginald Dwayne Betts (67851)
November 30, 2016

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Reginald Dwayne Betts.

Fiction Writer Sayed Kashua (68061)
November 1, 2016

Denison's Beck Series, International Studies and the Great Lakes College Association Grand Challenge welcome author Sayed Kashua.

Author Richard Bausch (67852)
October 13, 2016

Denison's Beck Series welcomes American novelist and short story writer Richard Bausch.

Jon Fine: Editor, Journalist, Memoirist (86101)
October 6, 2016

The Narrative Nonfiction Writing Concentration in conjunction with the Beck Series welcomes Jon Fine, executive editor of Inc. Magazine.

Poet Marilyn Hacker (67854)
September 26, 2016

Denison's Beck Series welcomes award-winning poet Marilyn Hacker.

2015 - 2016

Author Tarfia Faizullah (49963)
April 6, 2016

Denison's Beck Series welcomes award-winning author Tarfia Faizullah.

Author Lee Bebout (49964)
April 5, 2016

The Black Studies Program in co-sponsorship with the Beck Series welcomes author Lee Bebout.

Poet Laureate Robert Hass (55997)
March 10, 2016

The Beck Writers Series in partnership with the Vail Series welcomes Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate Robert Hass.

An interview with poet Laureate Robert Hass (55988)
March 10, 2016

The Beck Writers Series welcomes Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate Robert Hass.

Author Brad Watson (49965)
March 2, 2016

The Beck Series welcomes author Brad Watson.

Author Angela Pelster (49951)
February 17, 2016

The Beck Writers Series welcomes GLCA nonfiction winner Angela Pelster.

Author Piper Kerman (49967)
February 2, 2016

Denison's Beck Series welcomes "Orange Is the New Black" author Piper Kerman.

Beck Series features Denison professors (49553)
January 27, 2016

Beck Writers "Home Series" with Denison professors Michael Croley, Jack Shuler and Ann Townsend '85.

Author Daniel Torday (47414)
November 2, 2015

The Beck Series welcomes author Daniel Torday.

Biographer Rosamund Bartlett (47413)
October 26, 2015

The Beck Series welcomes biographer Rosamund Bartlett.

The Beck Series welcomes poet Kevin Prufer (47339)
October 12, 2015

The Beck Series welcomes award winning poet and editor Kevin Prufer

Discussing 'The Rise of Michelle Obama' (48191)
October 5, 2015

The Laura C. Harris Series and Beck Series welcome author Peter Slevin as he discusses his book, "Unstacking the Deck: The Rise of Michelle Obama."

2014 - 2015

Author Laura Kasischke (38284)
April 1, 2015

The Beck Series welcomes author Laura Kasischke.

Author Ted Conover (39425)
March 27, 2015

The Beck Series welcomes author Ted Conover.

Poet Anne Barngrover '08 (38330)
March 26, 2015

The Beck Series welcomes poet Anne Barngrover '08.

Author Dinah Lenney (38304)
March 3, 2015

The Beck Series welcomes author Dinah Lenney.

'Mapping Home' (39423)
February 5, 2015

The Laura C. Harris Series and the Beck Series welcome author Randa Jarrar presenting a lecture, "Mapping Home."

Poet Laureate Billy Collins (38228)
January 29, 2015

The Vail Series presents Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

Creative writing faculty and their work (47336)
January 1, 2015

The Beck Series welcomes creative writing faculty David Baker, Peter Grandbois and Margot Singer as they present their work.

Author Sharon Bridgforth (38063)
November 4, 2014

The Black Studies Program and the Beck Series welcome fiction writer Sharon Bridgforth.

Author E.J. Levy (38041)
October 27, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes essayist, fiction writer and GLCA prize winner E.J. Levy.

Natalie Shapero (38027)
October 20, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes poet and GLCA prize-winner Natalie Shapero.

Poet Jamaal May (38008)
October 8, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes poet Jamaal May.

Author Karen Joy Fowler (37990)
October 1, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes author Karen Joy Fowler.

Essayist Andrew Lam (38414)
September 23, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes essayist and fiction writer Andrew Lam.

2013 - 2014

Poet Mary Ruefle (38904)
April 8, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes poet Mary Ruefle.

Extraordinary essayist (38807)
March 13, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes essayist and fiction author Brian Doyle.

Award-winning fiction author (38705)
February 24, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes Ismet Prcic, the 2013 GLCA prize-winning author for fiction.

Prize-winning poets (38638)
February 6, 2014

The Beck Series welcomes Maggie Glover '05 and Page Starzinger as they read from their poetry.

Talking with authors (38639)
February 6, 2014

The Beck Series presents a talk with authors Maggie Glover '05 and Page Hill Starzinger.

Benjamin Busch, GLCA Prize Winner for Creative Nonfiction (38546)
November 7, 2013

The Beck Series welcomes Benjamin Busch, GLCA Prize Winner for Creative Nonfiction.

Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart Generation (38541)
November 5, 2013

Tuesday Lunch Series: Mark Seamon presents “’Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart Generation’: Denison University Theatre presents Middletown by Will Eno.”