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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Notable Writers Come To Bennington Campus For Series Of Free Readings In January

Poet Jericho Brown stands in front of a National Book Foundation background.
Greg Allen
Associated Press / Invision

Poets Jericho Brown and Carmen Giménez Smith —both 2019 National Book Award finalists  — are among those participating in Bennington College’s Writers Reading series in January.

Mark Wunderlich, director of the Bennington Writing Seminars graduate program, said poetry readings are celebrated events at Bennington.

"It's common for us to have a hundred students at a poetry reading. Here at the college, it's our version of football," Wunderlich said.

Other writers participating in the series on the campus come January include New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino, short story author Amy Hempel and novelist Jamel Brinkley.

The Writers Reading series is free and open to the public. Eight evening readings, featuring two or three writers each, take place on campus from Jan. 9-17.

Wunderlich, who himself will be reading as part of the series, describes becoming a writer as an extension of being a reader.

"We first come to literature as readers. And then we want to participate, we want to speak forward in time," Wunderlich said. "We want to speak to the zeitgeist. And we also want to answer back to those writers who we've read and appreciated from the past. And I think that this is a program that really has that at its core."

The Bennington Writing Seminars is also celebrating its 25th year. According to Wunderlich, it was one of the first MFA programs of its kind in the U.S. when it launched, but the number of low-residency programs available has since grown.

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A thin grey line.

More from NPR — Some of the writers participating in Bennington College's Writers Reading series in January had works selected for NPR's Book Concierge in 2019:

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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