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Full Name
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

2017 - 2018

 | 102800

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

 | 102977

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

 | 102798

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

 | 102719

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

 | 102713

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

 | 102128

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

 | 101155

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

 | 101156

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

 | 101157

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

 | 101158

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

2016 - 2017

 | 87569

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

 | 87570

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

 | 87571

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Joanna Klink.

 | 87567

Denison's Beck Series welcomes author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

 | 87565

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Solmaz Sharif.

 | 87566

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

 | 67851

Denison's Beck Series welcomes poet Reginald Dwayne Betts.

 | 68061

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

 | 67852

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

 | 86101

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

 | 67854

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

2015 - 2016

 | 49963

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

 | 49964

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

 | 55997

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

 | 55988

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

 | 49965

The Beck Series welcomes author Brad Watson.

 | 49951

The Beck Writers Series welcomes GLCA nonfiction winner Angela Pelster.

 | 49967

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

 | 49553

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

 | 47414

The Beck Series welcomes author Daniel Torday.

 | 47413

The Beck Series welcomes biographer Rosamund Bartlett.

 | 47339

The Beck Series welcomes award winning poet and editor Kevin Prufer

 | 48191

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

 | 38284

The Beck Series welcomes author Laura Kasischke.

 | 39425

The Beck Series welcomes author Ted Conover.

 | 38330

The Beck Series welcomes poet Anne Barngrover '08.

 | 38304

The Beck Series welcomes author Dinah Lenney.

 | 39423

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

 | 47336

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

 | 38063

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

 | 38041

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

 | 38027

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

 | 38008

The Beck Series welcomes poet Jamaal May.

 | 37990

The Beck Series welcomes author Karen Joy Fowler.

 | 38414

The Beck Series welcomes essayist and fiction writer Andrew Lam.

2013 - 2014

 | 38904

The Beck Series welcomes poet Mary Ruefle.

 | 38807

The Beck Series welcomes essayist and fiction author Brian Doyle.

 | 38705

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

 | 38638

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

 | 38639

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