Karen BenderKaren Bender


Monday, October 23
  • 3:30pm Reading at Montevallo
  • 7:00pm Reading at Samford

Tuesday, October 24
  • 11:00am Reading BSC

Wednesday, October 25
  • 10:10am Reading Miles
  • 6:00pm Reading at UAB

Karen Bender is the author of the story collection Refund, published by Counterpoint Press in 2015. Refund was a Finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, on the short list for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize, and on the longlist for the Story Prize. It was also a Los Angeles Times bestseller. Bender is also the author of the novels Like Normal People, (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and A Town of Empty Rooms (Counterpoint Press, 2013). 

Her short fiction has appeared in magazines including The New Yorker, Granta, Ploughshares, Zoetrope, Story, Narrative, The Harvard Review, Guernica, and The Iowa Review. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. She has won two Pushcart prizes and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rona Jaffe foundation. Two of her stories have been read in the Selected Shorts program on NPR. She is also the co-editor of the nonfiction anthology Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion.

Bender is currently a Visiting Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University. She has taught creative writing at Tunghai University in Taiwan, the MFA programs at Warren Wilson College, Antioch Los Angeles, Chatham University, the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and at the Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival. Bender grew up in Los Angeles, and has lived in New York and Iowa City, where she attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Chris AbaniChris Abani


Monday March 19
  • 3:30pm Reading at Montevallo
  • 7:00pm Reading at Samford

Tuesday, March 20
  • 11:00am Reading at BSC

Wednesday, March 21
  • 10:10am Reading at Miles
  • 6:00pm Reading at UAB

Chris Abani is an acclaimed novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter, and playwright. Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, he grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria, received a BA in English from Imo State University, Nigeria, an MA in English, Gender, and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. He has resided in the United States since 2001.

Abani’s fiction includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), nominated for the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award, Song For Night (2007), The Virgin of Flames (2007), Becoming Abigail (2006), GraceLand (2004), and Masters of the Board (1985). His poetry collections are Sanctificum (2010), There Are No Names for Red (2010), Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (2010), Hands Washing Water (2006), Dog Woman (2004), Daphne’s Lot(2003), and Kalakuta Republic (2001).

He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Graceland, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. Through his TED Talks, public speaking, and essays, Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility. His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as Witness, Parkett, The New York Times, O Magazine, and Bomb. Abani is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago.

The schedule and author biographies also can be found here.

For more information contact Bryn Chancellor at bchancellor@montevallo.edu