Living Writers

Since 1980, Living Writers has been a for-credit, on-campus course for 50+ undergraduates. Since 2010, it has also been a self-paced, not-for-credit program for alumni, parents, and friends of Colgate. A passion for reading is the only prerequisite.

This fall, we’ve picked 10 life-changing works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by 10 acclaimed writers. We rarely curate the list around a particular question or theme — instead preferring to let one burble to the surface as we read. This year, the phrase “architecture of longing”— coined by Hanif Abdurraqib, winner of a MacArthur “genius” award and author of There’s Always This Year — seems especially resonant. Everyone we’ve encountered in these pages is yearning for something, whether it’s community, connection, freedom, beauty, joy, or transcendence.

Not sure how Living Writers works? Scroll through our Living Writers FAQs. If you’re trying to decide which book(s) to read along with us this fall, and join us at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 26 for a Zoom kickoff. There, you'll hear from other Living Writers participants which titles they've been devouring, and why.

Living Writers Kickoff Registration

2024 Living Writers Book List 

September 5

The Moon That Turns You BackHala Alyan

Hala Alyan
The Moon That Turns You Back


September 12

There's Always Next YearHanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib
There’s Always This Year

September 19

JamesPercival Everett

Percival Everett


September 26

CairnPeggy Shucker

Peggy Shumaker

October 3

Seek YouKristen Radtke

Kristen Radtke
Seek You


October 17

Up HomeRuth Simmons

Ruth J. Simmons
Up Home

October 24

The Tree DoctorMarie Mutsuki Mockett
Marie Mutsuki Mockett
The Tree Doctor


October 31

Fruit of the Drunken TreeIngrid Rojas Contreras
Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Fruit of the Drunken Tree


November 7

Rainbow, RainbowLydia Conklin
Lydia Conklin
Rainbow, Rainbow

November 14

Royal GhostsSamrat Upadhyay
Samrat Upadhyay
The Royal Ghosts


I appreciate that my college is creating this opportunity for me to engage intellectually with prominent writers, along with a Colgate professor and other students of all ages.

Goldie Blumenstyk ’79, senior writer, Chronicle of Higher Education



Colgate Bookstore

Living Writers books are available from the Colgate Bookstore for 10% off until Aug. 1, 2024. 

Living Writers is hosted by the Department of English and Creative Writing with generous support from the Olive B. O'Connor bequest as well as the Office of the President, and the Office of the Provost and Dean of Faculty. 

Living Writers is made possible every year with support from the Office of University Communications and from ITS.