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2018 Poets & Writers Festival

Genre, Inspiration, & Process: A Reading & Conversation with One Book, One Philadelphia Author Jacqueline Woodson
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
9:30 to 11:10 a.m., Center for Business and Industry, corner of 18th and Callowhill streets,
Room C2-28

Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award Finalist novel, Another Brooklyn, reads like prose poetry, while Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir in verse. Discover how she melds genres in her works. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and the program will start at 9:40 a.m. Book signing to follow.
Co-sponsored with the Free Library of Philadelphia and the College’s Diversity Book Club

Author Scott Gould: Writing the Short Story
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
12:40 to 1:20 p.m., Winnet Student Life Building, Great Hall, Room A (Second Floor)

Scott Gould’s work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Carolina Quarterly, New Madrid Journal, The Bitter Southerner, Black Warrior Review, New Ohio Review, The Raleigh Review, New Stories from the South and New Southern Harmonies, among others. He is a two-time winner of the Artist Fellowship in Prose from the South Carolina Arts Commission and a past winner of the Fiction Fellowship from the South Carolina Academy of Authors. His collection of stories, Strangers to Temptation, was published by Hub City Press in June 2017. Gould chairs the Creative Writing department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities.

O’Henry Award-winning Novelist Viet Dinh
Two events!
Thursday, March 29, 2018 
9:40 to 11:10 a.m.: Author Reading and Q&A on the Novel After Disasters
Winnet Student Life Building, S2-3

11:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Book Signing and Discussion of Dinh’s Short Story “Substitutes”
Winnet Student Life Building, S2-08

Viet Dinh was born in Vietnam and raised in Colorado. He teaches at the University of Delaware and has won a prestigious O. Henry prize and an NEA Fellowship for his fiction writing. His first novel, After Disasters, was a finalist for the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award.

About After Disasters: Lyrically and grippingly written from multiple points of view, the 2016 novel is set in India after a January 26, 2001, earthquake which virtually destroyed the city of Bhuj, killing over 12,000. Three main characters make overwhelming events personal. The novel begins with Ted, an American member of the Disaster Assistance Response Team after receiving training through USAID, and focuses on relationships with an Indian doctor and a British rescuer trained as a fire-fighter. The novel evokes personalized views of a global community where the members interact over years in their work as first responders to natural and unnatural disasters caused by flood, earthquake and the folly of war.

Set in Vietnam during the fall of Saigon, “Substitutes” centers on a class of sixth graders too poor to escape the communism sweeping their country. The schoolboys watch a cycle of teachers come and go within less than a year. Dinh’s use of first-person plural narration shows the student’s differing reactions to each instructor—“disciplined with Mr. Hanh, sweet with Miss Bui, compliant with Mrs. Pham, and rebellious with Mr. Luu. Every one of them disappears, and according to the boys they have most likely sailed down the Mekong River in search of a safer place rather than staying in a country divided.... Then comes their last instructor, a North Vietnamese soldier, General Khang, who does not dispel their dreams of escape, but encourages it in his propaganda-like speech” (Linda Tran, writing for Five Points). “Substitutes” is a surprisingly funny story with a though-provoking twist at the end. Dinh will discuss the work's creation: how he combined his family's past with historical research to create a moving portrait of Vietnam through the eyes of children.
Co-sponsored with the International Festival

The Community College of Philadelphia Faculty Showcase of Writers
Monday, April 9
5:30 to 8 p.m., Winnet Student Life Building, S2-3

Join the College’s distinguished faculty members as they read from their latest poetry and prose in what has become an annual tradition. The lineup will be announced soon! Watch for details on Facebook. Refreshments will be served.

About the Festival
Now in its 22nd year, the Festival offers special thanks to the partners who help the city’s college celebrate written arts. These include the Free Library of Philadelphia’s One Book, One Philadelphia program; the President’s Council on Diversity and the Diversity Book Club; the Office of Student Life; the Division of Liberal Studies; the English Department; International Festival; and the Center for International Understanding. All events are held at Community College of Philadelphia.

Room Locations

  • The Winnet Student Life Building is located on 17th Street between Spring Garden and Callowhill streets. The Great Hall is on the second floor.
  • The Klein Cube is located on the second floor of the Pavilion Building on 17th Street between Spring Garden and Callowhill streets.
  • The Center for Business & Industry is at the corner of 18th and Callowhill streets
  • Photo IDs are required for guests entering Vollege buildings (student IDs, a work ID, a driver’s license, etc.).
  • For visiting high school students, College tours can be arranged through our Welcome Center.

For more information, visit “Spring Poets & Writers Festival – Community College of Philadelphia” on Facebook. Poets & Writers Festival events are sponsored by the Office of Student Life and coordinated by faculty members Kelly McQuain and Jeff Markovitz.

Check the Campus Map for Event Locations.