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Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series

Visiting Authors: 1989-1999

1999 Merle Collins: Novelist, Poet, Short Story Writer

Winner of Guggenheim Fellowship

Major works: Because the Dawn Breaks; Angel; Rain Darling; Rotten Pomerack; The Colour of Forgetting;

Lady in a Boat; The Governor’s Story: The Authorised Biography of Dame Hilda Bynoe


Merle Collins 1999 CAALS guest.jpg

1998 Ernest J. Gaines (1933-2019):  Novelist, Short Story Writer

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, MacArthur Fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, Emmy Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Lifetime Achievement in Fiction, the John Dos Passos Award, and National Medal of Arts

Major works: Catherine Carmier; Of Love and Dust; Bloodline; A Long Day in November; The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman; In My Father’s House; A Gathering of Old Men; A Lesson Before Dying; Mozart and Leadbelly



1997 Virginia Hamilton (1936-2002): Children’s Writer

Winner of Newbery Medal, Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, Regina Medal, Hans Christian Anderson Award for Writing, MacArthur Fellowship, Edgar Award, National Book Award, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and Coretta Scott King Award 

Major works: Zeely; The House of Dies Drear; The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu; The Planet of Junior Brown; M.C. Higgins the Great; Arilla Sun Down; The Justice Trilogy; Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush; The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl; Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed; A Little Love; Junius over Far; The People Could Fly; The Mystery of Drear House; A White Romance; In the Beginning; The Dark Way; Cousins; Drylongso; Many Thousand Gone; Plain City; Her Stories; Jaguarundi; When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing; A Ring of Tricksters; Second Cousins; Bluish; The Girl Who Spun Gold; Time Pieces; Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl


1996  Rita Dove: Poet Laureate of the United States, 1993-1995

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, National Humanities Medal, Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, Chancellor, Academy of American Poets, the American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences award, National Medal of Arts, NAACP Image Award, and the Wallace Stevens Award

Major works: The Yellow House on the Corner; Museum; Fifth Sunday; Thomas and Beulah; The Other Side of the House; Grace Notes; Through the Ivory Gate; Lady Freedom among Us; The Darker Face of the Earth; Mother Love; On the Bus with Rosa Parks; American Smooth; Sonata Mulattica; Collected Poems: 1974- 2004; Playlist for the Apocalypse

1995  Jamaica Kincaid Novelist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Memoirist

Winner of Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, Morton Dauwen Zabel Award, Guggenheim Award for Fiction, Prix Femina Étranger,the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2004 award, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2009 award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Fiction; Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award

Major works: At the Bottom of the River; Annie John; A Small Place; Lucy; The Autobiography of My Mother; My Brother; Poetics of Place; My Garden (Book); Talk Stories; Mr. Potter; Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya; See Now Then



1994  Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006):  Science Fiction Author

Winner of the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and MacArthur Fellowship

Major works: Patternmaster; Mind of My Mind; Survivor; Kindred; Wild Seed; Clay’s Ark; The Xenogenesis

Trilogy; Lilith’s Brood; The Evening and the Morning and the Night; Parable of the Sower; Bloodchild and

Other Stories; Parable of the Talents; Fledgling; Seed to Harvest


1993 Sherley Anne Williams (1944-1999): Poet, Novelist, Essayist

Winner of Emmy Award, American Library Association Caldecott Award and a Coretta Scott King Book Award; National Book Award nominee

Major works: Give Birth to Brightness; The Peacock Poems; Some One Sweet Angel Chile; Dessa Rose; Working Cotton; Girls Together

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1992  John Edgar Wideman:  Novelist, Essayist

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, MacArthur Fellowship, the John Dos Passos Award, the Anisfield Wolf

Lifetime Achievement Award, The American Academy of Arts and Letters award, and the American Book


Major works: A Glance Away; Hurry Home; The Lynchers; Brothers and Keepers; The Homewood Trilogy;

Reuben; Fever; Philadelphia Fire; All Stories are True; Fatheralong; The Cattle Killing; Two Cities; Hoop Roots;

God’s Gym; Fanon; Briefs; Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File, American Histories: Stories; You Made Me Love You: Selected Stories 1981-2018; Look for Me and I'll Be Gone: Stories


1991  Paule Marshall (1929-2019): Novelist Winner of the American Book Award, the John Dos Passos Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, and MacArthur Fellowship

Major works: Brown Girl, Brownstones; Soul Clap Hands and Sing; Merle and Other Stories; The Chosen Place, The Timeless People; Praisesong for the Widow; Reena and Other Stories; Daughters; The Fisher King; Triangular Road


1990 Mary Helen Washington: Essayist, Scholar, Editor; Distinguished University Professor of English, University of Maryland; Winner of the Lyndhurst Prize

Major works: Black-Eyed Susans; Midnight Birds; Invented Lives; Memory of Kin; The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s

1989  Gloria Naylor (1950-2016): Novelist

Winner of the National Book Award, Candace Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Lillian Smith Award

Major works: The Women of Brewster Place; Linden Hills; Mama Day; Bailey’s Café; The Men of

Brewster Place; 1996

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Mary Helen Washington 1990
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