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.”

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Series Archives

2022 - 2023

Malika Booker

The Beck Series presents a poetry reading by Malika Booker.

2021 - 2022

Torrey Peters

The Beck Series presents author Torrey Peters.

Connie Schultz

The Beck Series presents Connie Schultz in conversation with Wesley J. Lowery and Jamil Smith.

Ada Limón

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Ada Limón.

Connie Schultz

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Connie Schultz.

Maria Dahvana Headley

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Maria Dahvana Headley.

2020 - 2021

Kim Blaeser

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Kim Blaeser.

Dave Zirin

The Beck series and Journalism welcome David Aldridge and Dave Zirin.

Alison Stine

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Alison Stine ’00.

 Angie Jackson

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

Luke Lorentzen

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

Marcus Jackson

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

Journalism at Denison presents a panel discussion on careers for English/CW/NJ students.

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

Aoife O’Donovan

The Vail Series welcomes Aoife O’Donovan presenting a virtual concert.

Garnette Cadogan

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

Philip Metres

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

Luke Lorentzen

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Denison University presents "Welcome Beck" Thursdays, a virtual reading series.

2019 - 2020

Jos Charles

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Jos Charles.

Lesley-Nneka-Arimah

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Lesley Nneka Arimah.

Camille T. Dungy

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Camille T. Dungy

Nicole Walker

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author Nicole Walker.

Hanif Abdurraqib

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author and poet Hanif Abdurraqib.

David Lynn

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author David Lynn.

2018 - 2019

ETHEL

Denison University's Beck Series presents poets Ann Townsend and David Baker, with special guest ETHEL, in an Evening of Poetry and Music.

Dave Lucas

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Poet Laureate of Ohio Dave Lucas

Photo of Min Jin Lee

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes award winning author Min Jin Lee

Barney-Davis

Denison University welcomes Becky Thompson and Sara Abou Rashed (DU ’21) presenting a Beck Lecture and poetry reading

Emily Fridlund and Hilary Plum

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes Emily Fridlund and Hilary Plum, GLCA Prize Winners

Photo of Victoria Chang

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes poet Victoria Chang

Photo of Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard presents lecture, ”My Own People: Identity, Intersectionality, and the Saving Grace of Friendship.”

Wil Haygood

Journalist Wil Haygood talks about his book "Tigerland"

Photo of Chen Chen

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author Chen Chen

Patrica Smith stands outside in front of a wooden board fence

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author Patricia Smith

Photo of Holly Goddard Jones

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

A photo portrait of Silas House

Denison University's Beck Series welcomes author Silas House

2017 - 2018

Photo of Denison campus building

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

Black and white photo of people from a screening of the 2016 film “The Draft and the Vietnam Generation.”

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

Photo of a red notebook that says "The Story Collider" on it

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

Photo of Great Lake’s College Association (GLCA) prize winners Charles Boyer and Randall Horton

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

Photo of author and GLCA poetry prize winner Nate Marshall

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

Photo of Carl F. Cranor

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

Photo of authors Daniel and Peter Grandbois

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

Photo of a child size dress against a black background

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

Photo of poet, translator and scholar Phil Metres

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

Photo of author Ted Genoways

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

2016 - 2017

Photo of Margot Singer, associate professor of English at Denison University

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

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