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In collaboration with departments across campus, including English and the Sophie Kerr Committee, the Lit House hosts a robust reading series. Poets, essayists, fiction writers, playwrights, critics, editors, singer-songwriters, and studio artists routinely join us from around the world for readings, craft talks, and residencies. Recent guests include Chris Abani, Jericho Brown, Joy Castro, Natalie Diaz, Denise Duhamel, Carolyn Forché, Neil Gaiman, Terrance Hayes, Amy Hempel, Saeed Jones, Maggie Nelson, and Anthony Swofford.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Literary Houses at Washington College in 2022-23!

Lit House Interior 1985

lit house collage

Literary Houses at Washington College turn 50 years old in 2022-2023. You can read more about the history of WC's literary houses here.

To celebrate a half-century of launching literary lives and building community, we are hosting a mix of in-person and virtual events that celebrate our founding director & our alumni, and host inspiring workshops & readings that will help students to hone their own skills as writers, editors, and publishers.

For in-person events, please consider the health and safety for our visiting writers as well as our 3-person staff (who are or care for immune-compromised people). While the campus policy stipulates that mask-wearing is optional, we ask that you please bring a mask with you to on-campus/in-person events. Thank you for your compassion!


For students needing to register attendance at Literary Events (for English credit) please visit this form. 

Fall 2022 Literary Events

Literary House Series Presents:

A Celebration and Reading in Memory of Robert A. Day

Professor Emeritus of English
Founding Director of the Lit House
October 16, 1941--January 6, 2022

Bob Day with doc

Tuesday, September 13, 8:00 PM ET
Virtual Public Event
Register here for this Zoom event.

Come celebrate the life and work of Bob Day by sharing a story about Bob or a short excerpt of his writing.

Robert Day, of Ludell, Kansas was born October 16, 1941 and died at age 80 on January 6, 2022, of Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn Jankus Day, an artist. After earning an M.F.A. degree from the University of Arkansas, he joined the faculty at Washington College. Soon thereafter, he founded the Rose O’Neill Literary House and the Literary House Press. He published his first book, The Last Cattle Drive, in 1977; it isnow recognized as a classic of contemporary western American literature, and it has remained continuously in print. His last book was For Not Finding You, a long-awaited sequel to The Last Cattle Drive.  His papers are preserved in the Kansas City Public Library.  


Literary House Tea & Talk Series Presents:

Offensive to Pious Ears: A Book Launch and Reading by Prof. Elena Deanda

co-sponsored with the Department of World Languages and Cultures

Bob Day with doc

Tuesday, September 20, 5:30 PM ET
Litrenta Lecture Hall
Light refreshments will be served

Elena Deanda-Camacho is Associate Professor of Spanish and the Director of the Black Studies Program at Washington College. She received her BA from the University of Veracruz, Mexico, and her PhD from Vanderbilt University. Deanda specializes in early modern Spanish literature with an emphasis in the Spanish Enlightenment and colonial Mexico. Her research moves between medieval women’s theology and sex work in the eighteenth century. Her scholarship and teaching practice interrogates questions about gender, race, and ethnicity; desire, sex, and love; inquisitorial censorship and freedom of speech.


Her book, Ofensiva a los oídos piadosos: obscenidad y censura en la poesía española y novohispana del siglo XVIII

(Offensive To Pious Ears: Obscenity and Censorship in 18th Century Poetry in Spain and Mexico) has just been published  by Iberoamericana/Vervuert. 

Deanda  book


Harwood Series in Journalism & the Sophie Kerr Series Present 

Finding the Funny: A Reading and Discussion of Humor in/and Journalism
Damon Young


Thursday, September 29, 4:30 PM ET
Rose O'Neill Literary House

Damon Young is a writer, critic, humorist, satirist, and self-described "professional Black person." His debut memoir, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker, was published by Harper Collins in 2019. It was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and won the James Thurber Prize for American Humor. More information about Young can be found on his website: 


Literary House Series in Collaboration with SLACC Presents

Going Viral: A Reading and Generative Workshop with Joseph Osmundson

sponsored by the Small Literary Arts Centers Coalition (a collaboration between Washington College, Smith College, and Bucknell University)

Joseph Osmundson

Monday, October 3, 6:00 PM ET
Virtual Public Event
Registration Required (click here)

This reading and workshop is especially for students and alumni of the SLACC member institutions. You'll see a Bucknell Zoom registration page, and you'll receive registration confirmation from Bucknell staff. 

At its heart, writing and science share the same common goal: discovery and meaning. How can writing creatively benefit from the methodologies and insights that science can bring? How can scientific knowledge be enhanced by the art of language? This workshop is designed for intellectually curious people--those who identify as scientists and those that identify as writers, though those things do not need to overlap.

Joseph Osmundson is a poet, essayist, and molecular biophysicist based in New York City. His most recent book, Virology (W.W. Norton, 2022) is a series of essays exploring the power of viruses to shape not only our health, but our social, political, and economic systems. He is also the author of two previous books of poems: Inside/Out and Capsid. His research has been supported by the American Cancer Society, and it has also been published in leading biological journals such as Cell and PNAS. Osmundson is currently a clinical assistant professor of Biology at NYU.


Literary House Series Presents:

Manuel Muñoz Reading from His Fiction

Manuel Munoz









Monday, November 14, 6:00 PM ET
In-person at the Rose O'Neill Literary House
Light Refreshments Served

For the health and safety of our visitor and our staff (who are or care for immune-compromised people), we ask that you bring a mask with you to the event.

Manuel Muñoz is the author of a novel, What You See in the Dark, and the short-story collections Zigzagger and The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, which was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has been recognized with a Whiting Writer’s Award, three O. Henry Awards, and an appearance in Best American Short Stories. A native of Dinuba, California, and a first-generation college student, Manuel graduated from Harvard University and received his MFA in creative writing at Cornell University. He currently lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.

About The Consequences, Sandra Cisneros writes: “Haunting, powerful, humble, precise, this collection shook my being. Manuel Muñoz is a great American writer who sees with his heart—as great as Juan Rulfo in writing about the poor. I wish I had written these stories.”


Literary House Series Presents:

The Class of 2026 First Year Reading


Wednesday, November 30, 6:00–7:30 PM ETIn person at the Rose O'Neill Literary House.

For the health and safety of our visitor and our staff (who are or care for immune-compromised people), we ask that you bring a mask with you to the event.

Hear Washington College first-year writers read from their original work! 



Spring 2023 Literary Events

The Lit House Celebrates 50 Years of The Articulated Word: An Alumni Extravaganza Reading!

Lit House Mug

Wednesday, January 25, 8:00–10:00 PM ETRegister here for this Virtual Extravaganza, held on Zoom.

Join us virtually (on Zoom) for a reading and celebration of 50 years (and more!) of the articulated word at Washington College. Bring a short text (please, no more than 2-3 minutes) to share with everyone. After the first round, we may have time for another!



Literary House Series & Kohl Gallery Present:

The Class of 2026 First Year ReadingArtist & Writer Kameelah Janan Rasheed

Kameelah Janan Rasheed

For the health and safety of our visitor and our staff (who are immune-compromised people), please bring a mask with you to the events. Thank you for your empathy!

Monday, January 30, 5:30 PM: 

The Erotics of Translation: Exhibit Opening & Artist Talk

Tawes Theater, Gibson Center for the Arts

Reception to follow in Kohl Gallery

Tuesday, January 31, 5:30 PM: 

Feral Play: A Generative Multi-Media Workshop
Rose O'Neill Literary House
In this workshop, participants are invited to play! Participants will be invited to perform a series of writing and drawing prompts encouraging us to think about the relationships between copies, mimics, and iterations. Bring with you: mask, pen, and paper--and your voracious intellectual curiosity.


We know what a smooth thing is; we’ve run our hand over a surface without noticeable projections or interruptions. Smoothing as a practice shows up in music via quantization and again in image processing via filters. Both are procedures of standardization and forced patterning by disregarding dirty data (or noise) in the service of fulfilling the audience’s expectations. Smooth viewing is easy viewing: the brain doesn’t have to second guess what it is looking at. Smooth images, smooth text make smooth, speed readers. This exhibit considers the menace of smoothness.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed (she/they) was born in East Palo Alto, CA. and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She has an MA in Secondary Social Studies Education from Stanford University (2008) and a BA in Public Policy from Pomona College (2006). She was an Amy Biehl U.S. Fulbright Scholar at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa (2006–7). She is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts and a 2022 Creative Capital Awardee.

Having grown up in East Palo Alto, CA, a region that later came to be known as “Silicon Valley,” Rasheed had early access to emerging technologies including adolescent experience with computer coding. This, alongside her syncretic upbringing as a Muslim with formerly Protestant parents who sent her to a Catholic high school, exposed Rasheed to parallel worlds of religion and computation, both modes of sense-making that relied on prophecy, formula, and close reading. 

Rasheed’s work has been exhibited internationally and nationally, including at the 57th Venice Biennale. Her public installations have appeared widely, including at the Brooklyn Museum; For Freedoms x Times Square Art in NYC; the Moody Center for the Arts in Houston; The California Air Resources Board.


Rasheed is the founder of Mapping the Spirit, a digital archive documenting how Black faith lives, shifts, and self-revises. She is also the owner and founder of Orange Tangent Study, a boutique consulting service that nurtures tentacular and transdisciplinary projects and provides microgrants to artists.

Rasheed has authored three artist’s books: An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations (Endless Editions, 2019), No New Theories (Printed Matter, 2019), and the digital publication Scoring the Stacks (Brooklyn Public Library, 2021). Her writing, including longform essays and interviews, has appeared in Triple Canopy, The New Inquiry, Shift Space, Active Cultures, and The Believer.

You can learn more about her practice in the Art 21 documentary (October 2021) or a recent interview in Art in America (July 2021).


Literary House Series Presents:

Jay Z, Transculturation, and German Hip-Hop: A Talk by WC President Dr. Michael "Mike" J. Sosulski

Mike Sosulski


Wednesday, March 1, 6:00 PM ET
In-person at the Rose O'Neill Literary House
Light Refreshments Served

For the health and safety of our visitor and our staff (who are or care for immune-compromised people), please bring a mask with you to the event.

A seasoned leader in academic and student affairs, financial stewardship and change management, Sosulski took office on September 1, 2021, after serving as Provost at Wofford College in South Carolina for five years. In addition to serving as Provost since 2016, he was also a full Professor of German at Wofford College. Prior to that, he was with Kalamazoo College, serving first as an Assistant Professor of German and eventually earning the roles of Associate Professor, Department Chair in German Studies, and Associate Provost. Sosulski’s scholarly interests include national movements and their expression in German culture; the history of German theater and film; Lessing, J.W. von Goethe and Schiller; German hip-hop; and second language pedagogy. He has authored numerous articles and the book Theatre and Nation in Eighteenth-Century Germany,which appeared with Ashgate Press in 2007.

Sosulski earned his B.S. in German from Georgetown University in 1987, and went on to receive an M.A. followed by a Ph.D. in Germanic Studies from The University of Chicago in 1999. Prior to beginning graduate school in German literature, he spent a wonderful gap year studying saxophone performance at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

A native of West Chicago, Sosulski grew up a passionate Cubs fan and still roots for his home team to this day. He is married to Cori Crane, Ph.D., Associate Professor of German at the University of Alabama. They have two adult sons: Peter, who works in wilderness therapy in western North Carolina; and Nick, a recent graduate of Michigan State University who lives and works in the alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.


Sophie Kerr Series Presents:

A Reading and Workshop by Meredith Davies Hadaway, Sophie Kerr Poet-in-Residence

Meredith Davies Hadaway


Tuesday, March 7, 5:30 PM ET
In-person at the Rose O'Neill Literary House

For the health and safety of our visitor and our staff (who are or care for immune-compromised people), please bring a mask with you to the event.

Prof. Meredith Davies Hadaway is the Sophie Kerr Poet-in-Residence this semester at Washington College. She will read from her work, and then lead us in generative writing prompts.

Meredith Davies Hadaway has published three collections of poetry, including At the Narrows, winner of the Delmarva Book Prize, as well as essays and reviews for anthologies and journals.

Her writing focuses on the seamless connection between inner and outer landscapes, the principles of ecopoetics, and the healing space at the intersection of the arts and medicine. In addition to teaching creative writing and literature, she teaches private ecopoetry workshops and plays celtic harp on stage as well as in therapeutic settings. She is the former poetry editor of The Summerset Review.

Hadaway is a longtime champion of both poetry and Washington College, having spent many years on campus serving as VP Communications & Marketing as well as teaching Ecopoetry Workshops and literature courses focused on critical approaches to Poetry. Her current projects include a collaborative volume with painter Marcy Dunn Ramsey, tentatively titled, One River: Two Artists and coordination of “The Banjoman Project,” along with singer Sue Matthews ’75, bringing local musicians into Kent County schools.


Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the Rose O’Neill Literary House Presents:

A Century of Black Film with Wil Haygood

Wil Haygood Image


Wednesday, March 8, 5:30 PM ET
In-person at the Litrenta Lecture Hall

Thursday, March 9, 7:30 PM ET
In-person at the Norman James Theatre

For the health and safety of our visitor and our staff (who are or care for immune-compromised people), please bring a mask with you to the event.

Wil Haygood, an acclaimed journalist, bestselling author, and former Patrick Henry Fellow at the Starr Center, will discuss his recent book Colorization: 100 Years of Black Films in a White World, which examines the struggles and triumphs of Black actors and filmmakers as a window into Black culture, civil rights, and racism in America.

Haygood is the author of eight additional nonfiction books, including The Butler (2013), the story of long-serving White House employee Eugene Allen, which was later turned into an award-winning film. Haygood’s biographies of Thurgood Marshall, Sammy Davis, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and Sugar Ray Robinson have each made significant contributions to the way Americans remember twentieth-century culture and politics. 

During his year-long residency at Washington College’s Starr Center, Haygood researched and revised his 2018 book Tigerland, the story of two teams of Black athletes from a segregated high school in Columbus, Ohio, and their improbable state championship victories amidst stark racial divisions of the late 1960s.

During the spring of 2017, Haygood taught a Washington College course on memoir writing for the English department, as well as connecting with other parts of the College and the local community. Several hundred copies of Tigerland were donated to students at Kent County High School, whom the author met with across several days of events and conversations.

The recipient of numerous fellowships and literary awards, Haygood was recently honored with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in recognition of a writing career that demonstrates enduring literary value, advances peace, and increases understanding between and among individuals. 

As part of his return to campus, on March 9, Haygood will introduce Spike Lee's classic 1989 film Do the Right Thing at 7:00 p.m. in Norman James Theatre. This event is part of the monthly Washington College Film Series, hosted by the Communication and Media Studies Program. 



Literary House Series Presents: Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith

Poetry Reading: Tuesday, March 21, 6:00 PM Workshop: Wednesday, March 22, 6:00 PM


All events are in-person at the Rose O'Neill Literary House. For the health and safety of our visitor and our staff (who are or care for immune-compromised people), please bring a mask with you to the event.

Aaron Smith is the author of five books of poetry, all published by the Pitt Poetry Series: Blue on Blue Ground, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize; Appetite; Primer; The Book of Daniel; and, most recently, Stop Lying (January 2023). His work has been reviewed in The New Yorker, and Booklist calls Smith "a frighteningly gifted and complex poet."

HIs work has appeared in such publications as Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and The Best American Poetry. Born He is an associate professor of creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Kent County Poetry Festival

April 1-2, 2023 (all events in-person)
co-sponsored by the Rose O'Neill Literary House


Saturday, April 1, 1:00 PMRaimond Center (101 Spring Ave)
Lit House Director James Hall leads a reading and conversation with local poets Jeff Coomer, Lindsay Lusby, Erin Murphy, and Amanda Newell.



Saturday, April 1, 7:00 PM ET
Norman James Theater on the Washington College campus. Free and open to the public. Get tickets here.

Patricia Spears Jones in Conversation with Maureen Corrigan


Patricia Spears Jones

Arkansas born and raised; resident of New York City for more than four decades, Patricia Spears Jones is the recipient of The Jackson Poetry Prize, one the most prestigious awards for American Poets via Poets & Writers, Inc.  In language that is simultaneously sensuous, wise-cracking, explicit, and rollicking, Spears Jones describes a world rich in beauty and longing, with pain tempered always by joy.


Sunday, April 2, 2:00 PM ET at Bob Ortiz Studios in Chestertown.
Free and open to the public. Sign up for the open mic here.


Hosted by the Rose O'Neill Literary House: “Talk to the Wall” - Readings in conversation with Necessary Trouble: Truthtelling and Changemaking in America, an exhibit of Americans Who Tell the Truth portraits


Langston Hughes AWTT

When: Monday, April 10, 5:30 PM
Where: Rose O'Neill Literary House

Students, faculty, and members of the community are invited to read selected/original prose or poetry that speaks to the people, issues, and civic engagement highlighted by artist Robert Shetterly’s portraiture, an upcoming Washington College Art exhibit.


Center for Environment & Society and the Rose O’Neill Literary House Presents: Marine Archeologist Mensun Bound


mensun bound


Wednesday April 12th, 2023

7:00 PM - Talk in Decker Theater                        

8:15 PM - Book signing & Reception in Underwood Lobby 

Join us for an evening with Mensun Bound, the director of exploration for the expedition that found Ernest Shackleton's lost ship, Endurance in the Antarctic sea ice in 2022, as he shares his story of the discovery, as well as information from his newly-released book—The Ship Beneath the Ice: The Discovery of Shackleton's Endurance—which chronicles his adventures. (The book is available now in the Washington College Bookstore.) A book signing and wine and cheese reception will follow his talk in the Underwood Lobby.

This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required, as seating is limited.  Click here to reserve your free tickets.

MENSUN BOUND was Director of Exploration on the 2019 and 2022 expeditions to locate Shackleton’s Endurance. Previously Triton Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, he is a leading marine archeologist who has discovered many of the world’s most famous shipwrecks.


The Starr Center and the Rose O'Neill Literary House Present: A Conversation with Author & Historian Edward Ball



When: Monday, April 24th, 5:30 PM
Where: Litrenta

Author, historian, and 2022-23 Patrick Henry Fellow Edward Ball will discuss his research for his new book project, Sold Down the River, which explores the forced migration of about a million enslaved people who were uprooted from the Chesapeake and resettled in the Mississippi Delta in the 50 years before the Civil War.


The 2023 Senior Reading


2023 Senior Reading

When: Tuesday, April 25th, 6:00 PM
Where: Rose O'Neill Literary House

Join us as we celebrate and hear graduating senior writers read from their original work. The Literary House will also announce the winners of the Literary House Genre Fiction Prize, the William W. Warner Prize for Creative Writing on Nature and the Environment, and the Jude & Miriam Pfister Poetry Prize. 

There will be food and beverages!

Masks are requested.


Cherry Tree, Issue Nine, Virtual Launch Reading



Tuesday, May 9, 7:00 PM

Help us to welcome the release of Cherry Tree, Issue Nine! To celebrate, we'll hosting a vitual reading, featuring some of our poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and literary shade contributors.



Older Events:



A Generative Workshop with Pádraig Ó Tuama (only for WC students)

O Tuama solo

Pádraig Ó Tuama will lead a generative poetry workshop for Washington College students.

Friday, April 8, 4:00-5:00 PM ET
Rose O'Neill Literary House
In-person event for students only. (We can accommodate 25 students on a first-come, first-served basis.)

For more details about Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work, please see his biographical note below.


Kent County Poetry Festival Presents Pádraig Ó Tuama

(full festival schedule below; free but tickets required)

otuama corrigan

Pádraig Ó Tuama reads and discusses his poetry with Maureen Corrigan. Q&A and book signing to follow. Tickets are free and required--just click here.

The Lit House is delighted to cosponsor of the Kent County Poetry Festival, a collaboration with Kent Cultural Alliance and The Bookplate, among other Chestertown organizations.

Saturday, April 9, 7:00 PM EST
In-Person Event at the Garfield Theater
For more details, please visit the Kent Cultural Alliance website here.

Poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centres around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. His work has won acclaim in circles of poetry, politics, religion, psychotherapy and conflict analysis. Pádraig presents Poetry Unbound with On Being Studios, a podcast that takes a deep dive into a single poem. His poems are featured or forthcoming in many prestigious journals and venues. This year, he is Poet in residence at the Morton Deutsch International Centre for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College, Columbia University. You can read more about his current project on peace, which lies at the intersection of language and social psychology, here.

Maureen Corrigan is one of America’s most trusted and beloved book critics. Her distinctive voice is at once incisive and accessible, like a well-read friend who always sends you home with a good book to read. For more than twenty years Maureen has been the book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air. She is also a columnist for The Washington Post and The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University where her courses are very popular. She is the author of two books of her own; Leave me Alone I’m Readingand So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures, which was named one of the ten best books of the year by Library Journal.

Full Schedule

all events are in person, free, and require advance ticketing by clicking here.

kcpf schedule

April 8: Closed workshops for Kent County High School and Washington College students

April 9:
1-2:30: Local Poets @ the Garfield
Beth Dulin, Meredith Davies Hadaway, James Allen Hall, and Robert Earl Price

7-9: Pádraig Ó Tuama reading and conversation with Maureen Corrigan at the Garfield

April 10:
2-5:00: Poetry Slam at Ortiz Studios (207 S. Cross Street # 103). 


Literary House Series Presents Sigrid Nunez

sigrid nunez


Virtual Public Event

Register by clicking here.

Thursday, April 14, 6:00 PM EST
Virtual Public Event

Register by clicking here.


Sigrid Nunez has published eight novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, Salvation City, The Friend, and, most recently, What Are You Going Through. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. The Friend, a New York Times bestseller, won the 2018 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize. In France, it was longlisted for the 2019 Prix Femina and named a finalist for the 2019 Prix du Meilleure Livre. It was also a finalist for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award. Nunez’s other honors and awards include a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, the Rome Prize in Literature, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. This year she was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has also appeared in several anthologies, including four Pushcart Prize volumes and four anthologies of Asian American literature. One of her short stories was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2019. Her work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.


Literary House Series Presents: Class of 2022 Senior Reading

Literary House2022 SENIOR READING

Monday, April 25
6:00 PM EST
Register here.

Hear graduating senior writers read from their original pieces! The Literary House will also announce the winners of the Literary House Genre Fiction Prize, the William W. Warner Prize for Creative Writing on Nature and the Environment, and the Jude & Miriam Pfister Poetry Prize. 


2022 Harwood Lecture on American Journalism with Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah 

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022
4:30 PM EST
Virtual Public Event

Narrative journalist, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Magazine Award for her GQ profile “A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof,” discusses her work as a prominent feature and profile writer.

Register here to receive the Zoom link.


Qualtrics sign-in form link for events for CRW/JEP minors.