For the past three years, Associate Professor of the Practice in Letters Charles Barber has spearheaded a writing-oriented speaker series through the College of Letters with the goal of giving students the opportunity to learn from and speak with professionals in the field. The series first took off in 2020 with a series of nonfiction speakers, including Pulitzer Prize winner William Finnegan, Pulitzer finalists Jennifer Gonnerman and Robert Little, journalist Katha Pollitt, and authors Robert Kolker and Nick Flynn. Last year, the speaker series welcomed writers under the umbrella of poetry and prose, featuring poets and artists Joseph O'Neill, Jeff Hobbs, David Grann, Tim Seibles, and Jennifer S. Cheng. This year, the series takes the theme of “The Vocation of Writing,” focusing on the behind-the-scenes of pursuing a career in the writing world. So far, the COL has hosted investigative journalist and author Patrick Radden Keefe and senior editor for The Atlantic Isabel Fattal '17. Barber explained that when deciding who to bring to the University this year, he focused on contemporary writers who could speak to the logistics of their careers for students who may be interested in following similar pathways after graduation. “These are all people that are extremely active now and have…had a lot of recent success, recent prominent books, recent awards, [and] recent adaptations into film,” Barber said. “It's a view into contemporary issues in publishing and writing…. What has been helpful is that it's not traditionally academic […] c/o Isabel Fattal and Patrick Radden Keefe
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