Events and News

Boubacar Boris Diop

Diop observed a longstanding tradition at Dickinson when he posed for a photo, along with students, on the steps of Old West, recreating a 1959 photograph of students and poet Robert Frost. (Photo by Carl Socolow '77)

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.

This spring's Cogan Fellow 2020 is John Orlando 96 — February 24-25, 2020. John Orlando is the Senior Vice President of live-action production at Universal 1440 Entertainment, responsible for long-term slate strategy and day-to-day development/production of the studio’s films. Mr. Orlando was formerly Head of Content at the digital video streaming network Sony Crackle, where he oversaw the full content cycle and the teams responsible for the development, production, and acquisitions of content. His successes include “The Oath,” “StartUp,” “SuperMansion,” and others. Mr. Orlando pushed Sony Crackle to produce the first studio based digital feature and subsequently oversaw a full slate of digital feature films. Before joining Sony, Mr. Orlando began his career at the William Morris Agency, WMA, where he worked in the feature and television literary departments. He then worked in features development at Mr. Orlando Wells Productions and United Artists and as a talent and literary manager at Circle of Confusion. In 2007, Mr. Orlando joined Contradiction Films, an independent producer/financier based in Canada to run production and development. Mr. Orlando lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two young daughters. He earned degrees in English and Environmental Studies from Dickinson College. Go to our Cogan Alumni Fellows page to read more about our 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.

Roberto Saviano, stellfox recipient 2019-20
Roberto Saviano (Photo courtesy of Riccardo Ghilardi)

March 3 at 7 PM - Film Screening and Q&A
March 4 at 7 PM - Stellfox Lecture

Through the Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program, writer-activist Roberto Saviano serves an on-campus residency March 2-5, which includes a public reading, classroom visits and small-group interactions. During the lecture, the Stellfox Award-winner will read and discuss excerpts from Gomorrah (2006) and Piranhas (2016). An on-campus book signing will also take place (date and place TBA).
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.

Previous Stellfox Recipients: 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.