Zalaznick Reading Series

Upcoming Zalaznick Readings

Mukoma reading behid podium


Barbara and David Zalaznick’s generous endowment makes it possible for the Creative Writing Program to invite several writers, who range from debut poets and novelists to nationally and internationally renowned writers, to campus each semester. In the selection, we consider how writers would impact our curriculum, faculty, and our graduate and undergraduate literature and writing students. Consequently, the reading series has become an integrated and valuable part of our students' education. It is also beneficial to the artistic community at large, since the readings are free and open to the public. A book signing and reception follow each reading, at which the audience has the opportunity to meet the visiting writer. MFA and PhD students are invited to a separate informal gathering with the visiting writer. Writers may also be asked to visit classes or participate in events involving various student groups.

Past writers have included late Cornell alumna and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison (MA ’55); MacArthur Fellow, poet, and playwright Claudia Rankine; Pulitzer Prize winner and cultural critic Viet Thanh Nguyen; Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James; former U.S. poets laureate Billy Collins and Charles Simic; Irish poets Eavan Boland and Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney; and novelists Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood. The program has also included former Cornell MFA graduates: Julie Schumacher (MFA ’86), the first woman to have won the Thurber Prize for American Humor; National Book Award winner Susan Choi (MFA ’95); National Book Award finalist and Orange Prize winner Téa Obreht (MFA ’09); and Man Booker Prize finalist NoViolet Bulawayo (MFA ’10).

The Zalaznick Reading Series endowment is also able to supplement our other endowed series, including the Robert Chasen Memorial Poetry Reading, the Richard Cleaveland Memorial Reading, and the Eamon McEneaney Memorial Reading.

To be added to the email list for announcements of upcoming readings, please email

To view past Zalaznick Reading Series recordings, visit our YouTube page.