Featured Presenters

Charles Wright was named the 20th U.S. Poet Laureate in June 2014. He shared the National Book Award in 1983 for “Country Music: Selected Early Poems” and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for “Black Zodiac.” Wright was born in Pickwick Dam, Tenn., and attended Davidson College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. From 1966 to 1983, he taught at the University of California, Irvine. He is now a chancellor of The Academy of American Poets and Souder Family Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Other books by Wright include “Chickamauga,” “Buffalo Yoga,” “Negative Blue,” “Appalachia,” “The World of the Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980-1990,” “Zone Journals” and “Hard Freight.” His work also appears in Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts. Wright has also published two works of criticism, “Halflife” and “Quarter Notes.” His translation of Eugenio Montale’s “The Storm and Other Poems” won him the PEN Translation Prize in 1979. In 1993, he received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for his lifetime achievement.

Lulu Miller is an NPR science desk reporter covering human (and occasionally insect) behavior. Miller covers stories that challenge our assumptions about how organisms work — from the story of a blind woman who can see the rain but not her daughter’s smile, to a virus that inspires crickets to have more sex. She was a producer of the public radio program “Radiolab” for five years and is always on the hunt for “stories in which Duct-Tape Solves the Ethereal Sadness,” as she puts it. To hear more about that, take a listen here. In January 2015, Miller joined NPR science correspondent Alix Spiegel to co-host “Invisibilia,” a new series from NPR about the unseen forces that control human behavior — our ideas, beliefs, assumptions and thoughts. “Invisibilia” interweaves personal stories and science in a way that, ultimately, makes you see your own life differently. 

Dexter L. Booth is the author of “Scratching the Ghost” (Graywolf Press, 2013), which won the 2012 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was selected by Major Jackson. His poems appear in Blackbird, The Southeast Review, Ostrich Review, Grist, Willow Springs, Virginia Quarterly and other publications. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Southern California.

Aubrey Hirsch
is the author of a short story collection, “Why We Never Talk About Sugar,” and a chapbook, “This Will Be His Legacy.” Her stories and essays have appeared in American Short Fiction, Hobart, The Rumpus, Third Coast, The New York Times and elsewhere. Hirsh earned her M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh, where she worked as a teaching assistant teaching first-year composition courses as well as introductory courses in creative writing and fiction writing. She has also taught writing and literature courses in Chatham University’s award-winning M.F.A. program and their low-residency M.F.A. program, and at Colorado College. Originally a native of Cleveland, Ohio, she currently lives in Pittsburgh, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh.