2017-2018 BACHE Visiting Writers’ Series

This year, we are delighted to have Karen Bender and Chris Abani join us as our esteemed writers for the BACHE visiting writers’ series!

Karen Bender Photo

Karen Bender joins us for 5 readings in Birmingham, October 23-25. Karen Bender is the author of the story collection Refund (Counterpoint Press in 2015), which 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 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.



Chris Abani will join us for five readings, March 19-21.

AbaniChris 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. Abani is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago.


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