Beck Series

Upcoming Events

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

2018 - 2019

Beck Series presents Chen Chen (128051)

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author Chen Chen

The Beck Series presents acclaimed poet Patricia Smith (128052)

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author Patricia Smith

Beck Series presents Holly Goddard Jones (128045)

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author Holly Goddard Jones.

Beck Series presents Silas House (128046)

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author Silas House

2017 - 2018

The Beck Series: ‘Poetry in Ohio’ (102800)

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poets Kathy Fagan, Michael Rosen and Maggie Smith as part of the Ohio Poetry Series.

‘The Draft and the Vietnam Generation’ (102977)

Denison University presents a screening of the 2016 film "The Draft and the Vietnam Generation."

The Story Collider: True, personal stories about science (102798)

Denison's Beck Series, Narrative Journalism concentration and Geosciences program present The Story Collider.

Writers Charles Boyer and Randall Horton (102719)

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

Poet Nate Marshall (102713)

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

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

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)

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

Author Kim Edwards (101156)

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

Poet Phil Metres (101157)

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

Author Ted Genoways (101158)

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)

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

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

Poet Joanna Klink – Rescheduled (87571)

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Joanna Klink.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen (87567)

Denison's Beck Series welcomes author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Poet Solmaz Sharif (87565)

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Solmaz Sharif.

Writers Lauren Acampora and Shulem Deen (87566)

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

Poet and memoirist Reginald Dwayne Betts (67851)

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Reginald Dwayne Betts.

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

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

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

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

2015 - 2016

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

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

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

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

The Beck Series welcomes author Brad Watson.

The Beck Writers Series welcomes GLCA nonfiction winner Angela Pelster.

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

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

The Beck Series welcomes author Daniel Torday.

The Beck Series welcomes biographer Rosamund Bartlett.

The Beck Series welcomes award winning poet and editor Kevin Prufer

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)

The Beck Series welcomes author Laura Kasischke.

Author Ted Conover (39425)

The Beck Series welcomes author Ted Conover.

Poet Anne Barngrover '08 (38330)

The Beck Series welcomes poet Anne Barngrover '08.

Author Dinah Lenney (38304)

The Beck Series welcomes author Dinah Lenney.

'Mapping Home' (39423)

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

Creative writing faculty and their work (47336)

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

Author Sharon Bridgforth (38063)

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

Author E.J. Levy (38041)

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

Natalie Shapero (38027)

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

Poet Jamaal May (38008)

The Beck Series welcomes poet Jamaal May.

Author Karen Joy Fowler (37990)

The Beck Series welcomes author Karen Joy Fowler.

Essayist Andrew Lam (38414)

The Beck Series welcomes essayist and fiction writer Andrew Lam.

2013 - 2014

Poet Mary Ruefle (38904)

The Beck Series welcomes poet Mary Ruefle.