2018 Festival

All events free and open to the public.


At the Existentialist Café

In the heady days and nights of pre-war Europe, intellectuals often gathered to eat, drink, and talk at places like Paris’s famous Café Les Deux Magots. It was in these...

Thursday, September 13, 12:00 PM

Fiction, Poetry, Drama

Epic Transformations

Some of the great works of the last hundred years have been re-workings of epic poems from cultures around the world. Professor of Classics Emily Greenwood leads a conversation about...

Thursday, September 13, 12:00 PM


Close Looking: Olivia Laing on David Wojnarowicz

In her recent book The Lonely City , Olivia Lang explores urban loneliness by way of art, taking up as one of her subjects the American artist and AIDS activist...

Thursday, September 13, 12:30 PM


Pope's Montaigne: A Conversation with Sarah Bakewell

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library owns Alexander Pope’s annotated copy of the first English translation of French writer and philosopher Michel de Montaigne's Essais . Curator Kathryn James...

Thursday, September 13, 1:30 PM


Art of Playwriting

Professor Marc Robinson talks shop with two of America's finest playwrights, Lucas Hnath and Suzan-Lori Parks , at the Yale Cabaret. Marc Robinson is Professor of English and Theater Studies...

Thursday, September 13, 2:30 PM


The Scandal of Translation

Hilda Hilst was one of the most important Brazilian writers of the twentieth century, and yet until recently little of her work was translated into English. Two of her translators,...

Thursday, September 13, 3:00 PM


Anticipating an Audience for African Writing

When Jennifer Makumbi wrote Kintu , her epic novel of Uganda, western publishers told her that the book was “too African.” Matthew Shenoda talks with Makumbi and her American publishers,...

Thursday, September 13, 4:00 PM

Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Drama

On Becoming a Writer

Join prize director Michael Kelleher for a conversation with Lorna Goodison , Lucas Hnath , Cathy Park Hong , and Olivia Laing about their own journeys to becoming writers. Michael...

Thursday, September 13, 5:30 PM

Fiction, Poetry

Endeavors: Delusions of Whiteness in the Avant-Garde

In her 2014 essay “Delusions of Whiteness in the Avant-Garde” Cathy Park Hong writes, “to encounter the history of avant-garde poetry is to encounter a racist tradition.” Professor Tavia Nyong'o...

Friday, September 14, 11:45 AM

Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry

Memories, Secrets, and Lies: Writing on Family

How do you write about family honestly without alienating the people you are writing about? Prize director Michael Kelleher engages Lorna Goodison , Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi , and Olivia Laing...

Friday, September 14, 12:00 PM


Close Looking: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi on William Etty

A chance encounter with William Etty’s 1837 painting The Sirens and Ulysses at a museum in her hometown of Manchester, England inspired Jennifer Makumbi’s current novel-in-progress. Kate Ezra engages Makumbi...

Friday, September 14, 1:30 PM

Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry

An Imagined Encounter: Langston Hughes and Xavier Villaurrutia

In “Blues,” one of the final stories in Counternarratives , John Keene imagines a one-night stand between Langston Hughes and the Mexican poet Xavier Villaurrutia. Beinecke curator Melissa Barton talks...

Friday, September 14, 2:00 PM


Close Looking: Lorna Goodison on Jacob Lawrence

Lorna Goodison is best known for her poetry, her essays, and her stories, but she is also a trained visual artist who once painted in the Arts Students League alongside...

Friday, September 14, 2:30 PM

Fiction, Nonfiction

Portraying Artists

How to balance the life of the artist with the artist's work? Langdon Hammer, one of America's most distinguished literary biographers, talks with Olivia Laing , John Keene , and...

Friday, September 14, 4:00 PM


Writing Songs with Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks loves music almost as much as she loves theater. Music and song suffuse her plays. Come listen as she plays guitar, sings, and talks about the art of...

Friday, September 14, 5:00 PM