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Events and Speakers

Events and News

Acclaimed writer Nick Hornby and creative-writing students and faculty on the steps of Old West, reenacting a photo of legendary poet Robert Frost’s 1959 visit to Dickinson.

Acclaimed writer Nick Hornby (front row, center) and creative-writing students and faculty on the steps of Old West, reenacting a photo of legendary poet Robert Frost’s 1959 visit to Dickinson. Photo by Dan Loh.

Every semester, the English department hosts several lectures, readings, or special events. Below are descriptions of our annual series. Most events are free and open to the public: stop by!

Cogan Alumni Fellowship

Eleanor Cogan

Eleanor Cogan

Dickinson English alumni have all sorts of interesting jobs. Each spring, the Cogan Alumni Fellowship brings a graduate to campus to share life experience and career advice with current students. The residency was named in honor of Eleanor Cogan (1909-2011), who took 52 classes at Dickinson, beginning when she was 70. Mrs. Cogan's adventurous spirit and lifelong curiosity inspires our choice of Cogan speakers.

Christopher Eiswerth ’08 and Katie Jarman ’16 were selected for the 2024 Cogan Alumni Fellowship. They returned to Dickinson on February 26-27, 2024. Christopher Eiswerth ’08 is an attorney at the Department of Justice. Prior to joining the government, he practiced law at a firm in Washington, D.C. and was as a law clerk to Judge Karen Nelson Moore of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Chris also served as a corps member in City Year Cleveland and taught English in South Korea. He is an alumnus of Dickinson College and Harvard Law School. Katie Jarman ’16 serves as a research associate at Higher Ed Insight (HEI), an independent research firm that offers services in strategic learning, evaluation, and custom research. She began her career as a school-based college and career adviser with the College Advising Corps (CAC), before earning her master’s of education in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before joining HEI, Katie worked as a researcher and evaluator at several nonprofit organizations in the Greater Boston Area. Katie is particularly passionate about empowering educators and community-based organizations to utilize research and data to inform their practice and improve outcomes for the communities they serve. Go to our Cogan Alumni Fellows page to read more about our current and past Cogan Fellows.

The Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program

Jean Louise Stellfox ’60 was inspired to become an English teacher after meeting Robert Frost during the poet’s visit to Dickinson in 1959. The Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program, funded by Jean Stellfox’s generous gift and named after her parents, continues to inspire students through literature. Each year, it brings to campus a renowned figure in the arts. While Stellfox recipients visit campus, their influence weaves through the greater college community throughout the academic year.

The Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Writers and Scholars Program welcomed Nick Hornby, an award-winning author and Oscar®-nominated screenwriter, who visited Dickinson this spring to serve a Stellfox residency.

Stellfox 2024, Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby, The 2024 Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers recipient (photo credit Parisa Taghizadeh)

Nick Hornby visited Dickinson February 20-21, 2024, for a public reading, the Stellfox ceremony and book signing. He met with classes and small groups of students, one of the hallmarks of the program’s unique approach to giving students access to leaders in the field. Hornby was presented with this year's Stellfox Award on Wed., February 21, 2024. He delivered a reading of his recent work, followed by a Q&A session. Go to the news article about Nick Hornby's Dickinson Stellfox Residency.

Previous Stellfox Recipients: In February 2023, Ada Limón, 24th Poet Laurate of the United States, was the Stellfox recipient. Dickinson was able to host a public reading, the Stellfox ceremony and book signing following a three year pause. Limón also met with classes and small groups of students. In March 2020, Roberto Saviano read and discussed excerpts from Gomorrah (2006) and Piranhas (2016). Saviano is an advocate for social justice, inclusivity, and human rights. Since 2006, he’s been living under armed guard, after receiving death threats from the Neapolitan Mafia. He continues his fight against crime through his books, public lectures, articles and television appearances. The 2018-19 Stellfox Distinguished Writer was Boubacar Boris Diop a prolific, award-winning Senegalese novelist and journalist. He is widely recognized as one of the most artistically and philosophically serious writers of his generation, with works that are characterized by exploration and reflection on the postcolonial condition in Africa. Acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye was the 2017-18 recipient of The Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program. Nye is one of America's leading contemporary poets. She is a Lannan Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, and has received a Witter Bynner Fellowship, administered by the Library of Congress. The fall 2016 Stellfox recipient was John Patrick Shanley. He is one of America's foremost playwrights and best known for his 2005 play Doubt, winner of four Tony awards, a Drama Desk award and the Pulitzer Prize; he also is a screenwriter and director of the 2008 film adaptation, starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Shanley wrote the screenplay for the 1987 film Moonstruck, which won three Academy Awards, including best screenplay. The spring 2016 Stellfox recipient was Edwidge Danticat who inspired individuals to "Just seek the truth and write about it." Award-winning creative writer Lorrie Moore was the Stellfox Visiting Scholar recipient in the fall 2014. In the spring of 2014 Stellfox recipient Paul Muldoon delivered a literary call to action during his inspiring residency in the spring of 2014. Ian McEwan, the Man Booker-winning writer and the first Stellfox award recipient returned as a 2015 Commencement speaker. Here is a conversation on his work, free speech, and the role the Internet can play in the evolution of literature.