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UST Hosts Distinguished Authors at Summer Literary Series on June 16-28, 2022

The annual Summer Literary Series at the University of St. Thomas brings distinguished authors and scholars to Houston to share the joy and beauty of the written word. The public is invited to join UST on campus for a series of readings, lectures and performances, which feature the best in contemporary literature and reflections on enduring classics.

The Summer Literary Series complements the UST Summer Writers Institute and Summer Graduate Residency, two ongoing features of the highly regarded Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. This MFA is the only one committed expressly to a renewal of the craft of literature within the cosmic scope, long memory and expansive vision of the Catholic literary and intellectual tradition.

*Thursday-Friday, June 16-17  
 Monday-Friday, June 20-24 
 Monday-Tuesday, June 27-28

7:15 – 8:45 p.m.

Jones Hall, 3910 Yoakum Blvd, 77006                      

Free and open to the public

Street parking available, or visitor parking for $10 
in Moran Parking Center, 3807 Graustark

Event Schedule

June 16
7:15-8:45 pm
Welcome: James Matthew Wilson 
Keynote Reading: Joshua Hren

Wilson is the Cullen Foundation Chair in English Literature and the founding director of the MFA in Creative Writing at UST. An award-winning scholar of philosophic-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles and reviews on all manner of subjects secular and divine. Wilson is a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, and his work appears regularly in First Things, The Wall Street Journal, The Hudson Review, Modern Age and more. He has published 11 books. His most recent book of poems, The Strangeness of the Good (Angelico, 2020) received the Catholic Media Award in poetry.

Joshua Hren, founder of Wiseblood Books and co-founder of the MFA in Creative writing at UST, regularly publishes essays and poems in such journals as First things, America, Public Discourse, Commonweal, National Review and more. He has written seven books, two short story collections and a book of poems. He published the book Contemplative Realism A Theological-Aesthetical Manifesto in 2022.

June 17
7:15-8:45 pm
Keynote Reading: Micheal O’Siadhail  
Reception following the talk
Join the event via Zoom here.  

Leading Irish poet for several decades. His 2018 work “The Five Quintets” arguably cements his status as Ireland’s greatest living poet. O’Siadhail shows an astonishing range in his public and private poetry; notable also is his technical mastery of many classical poetic forms, together with his invention of new forms and his linguistic range (he is fluent in 6 languages and conversational in two).

June 20
7:15-8:45 pm
Welcome: James Matthew Wilson
Keynote Reading: Dana Gioia 
Reception following the talk.
Join the event via Zoom here.

Gioia is an internationally acclaimed poet and writer, former California Poet Laureate and chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts.  He is the first person in his family to attend college.  From 2003 to 2009 Gioia served as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts where he helped create and launch the largest programs in the agency’s history, including Poetry Out Loud, The Big Read, Shakespeare in American Communities, and Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience.

In Washington, Gioia created a bipartisan majority in Congress to raise the NEA budget each year of his Chairmanship. He was twice confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. Business Week magazine called him “The Man Who Saved the NEA.

He is the first person in his family to attend college. He received a B.A. and MBA from Stanford and an M.A. in comparative Literature from Harvard. For 15 years he worked as a businessman before quitting at 41 to become a full-time writer. His essay, "Can Poetry Matter?" sparked a revival of American poetry in meter, rhyme, and narrative and his essay "The Catholic Writer Today" was an inspiration and cornerstone to the founding of our MFA program.

June 21
7:15-8:45 pm
Event: The Future of Catholic Letters: A Conversation with Dana Gioia and Robert Royal
Reception following the talk.
Join the event via Zoom here. 

Robert Royal is a Catholic author and the president of the Faith & Reason Institute based in Washington, D.C. He received a B.A. and M.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D from The Catholic University of America. From 1980-1982, he was editor-in-chief of Prospect magazine. From 1986-1999, he served as vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, under President George Weigel. He is editor-in chief of The Catholic Thing, an online publication.

June 22
7:15-8:45 pm
Keynote Lecture: Robert Royal, “The Poetry of John Paul II”

June 23
7:15-8:45 pm
Keynote Lecture: Cynthia Haven, “Czeslaw Milosz in California”

Ms. Haven is a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar.  She is  the author of Czesław Miłosz: A California Life and Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard .  The Miłosz book was published in 2021 by Heyday Books in Berkeley. She writes regularly for The Times Literary Supplement and has also contributed to The New York Times book Review, The National, The Wall Street Journal, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and more. She is currently working on a Rene Girard anthology for Penguin Modern Classics to be published in 2023.

June 24
7:15-8:45 pm
Keynote Reading: Catharine Savage Brosman

Ms. Brosman is an American poet, essayist and scholar of French literature and a former professor at Tulane University, where she held the Gore Chair of French Studies. She attended Rice University and studied in France as a Fulbright scholar. Brosman has published numerous single-authored and edited books on French literature, including five volumes in the Dictionary of Literary Biography Series. Her poems have been published by journals in the United State, England and France. These works have been reprinted in anthologies, magazines and newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.

June 27
7:15-8:45 pm
Keynote Lecture: Kevin Doak, “Endo’s Silence and Ayoko’s Miracles”

Mr. Doak is professor and Nippon foundation Endowed Chair. Professor Doak specializes in the study of nationalism and democratic thought and culture in modern Japan, as well as in the literary, cultural and philosophical expression of public thought and values. He has served as the co-editor of the Journal of Japanese Studies. His writings in Japanese have been prominently published in major Japanese magazines and journals. He is the winner of the 2014 First Terada Mari Japan Study Award. His current research focuses on issues related to politics and religion (especially Catholicism) in modern Japan, ranging from jurisprudence fiction and literary works to theology.

June 28
7:15-8:45 pm
Keynote Reading: Natalie Morrill

Ms. Morrill is an editor, writer and post-secondary educator keen to work with authors of narrative works. She is an award-winning author published through HarperCollins Canada and Canadian literary journals. She received the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Fiction. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and lives in Ottawa, ON, Canada. She is also the fiction editor for Dappled Things Magazine, an American journal of faith and arts.