Living Writers

Living Writers is a master class in how works of literature come to be. The program is free and open to everyone: the only prerequisite is a passion for reading.

Get a head start this summer by reading Imbolo Mbue's haunting novel, How Beautiful We Were, a few pages at a time and posting your impressions to Twitter: #ColgateLivingWriters, #ColgateSummerRead, #HowBeautifulWeWere. Find us @ColgateLW. Follow this link for a reading schedule, author podcast, and information about how to join our Zoom book discussion on Monday, Aug. 8.

Join us this fall—in person or online—as we discuss some extraordinary works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Feel free to dip in as you please, reading one book, or three, or even all ten.

Apropos of Ezra Pound’s famous formulation (“Poetry is news that stays news”), we try to select works that offer a temporary refuge from the headlines as well as a deeper engagement with them. This year’s line-up is no exception. Several of the writers on our list seem to be asking some variation on this question: How do we find hope in the face of an apocalypse?

We’re spending the next couple of months updating and populating this webpage. Eventually, you’ll be able to click on each title to view a synopsis and reviews, a brief biography of the author, and our rationale for selecting the book. You can also listen to a three-question podcast with each author and sign up for a Zoom book discussion a few days before their visit to campus. 

Ready to get started right away? We suggest you pick up a copy of How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue and prepare for our daily Twitter read, which will start mid-July. We’ll post updates here and send them via email. Click here to join our mailing list.

Check back soon for more information about this year's authors and books!

September 8

Severance CoverLing Ma
Ling Ma

September 15

The Crane Wife CoverCJ Hauser
CJ Hauser
The Crane Wife

September 22

How Beautiful We Were CoverImbolo Mbue
Imbolo Mbue
How Beautiful We Were

September 29

The Stone Loves the World CoverBrian Hall
Brian Hall
The Stone Loves the World

October 6

A Small PlaceJamaica Kincaid
Jamaica Kincaid
A Small Place

October 20

Essex Clay CoverSir Andrew Motion
Sir Andrew Motion
Essex Clay

October 27

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank CoverNathan Englander
Nathan Englander
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

November 3

TentacleRita Indiana
Rita Indiana

November 10

Possessing Harriet CoverKyle Bass
Kyle Bass
Possessing Harriet

November 17

Weather Book CoverJenny Offill
Jenny Offill

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

Check back soon for

  • A synopsis of each book as well as the reason we chose it
  • Invitations to Monday evening Zoom book discussions with faculty
  • Invitations to Zoom author readings
  • Podcast conversations with Colgate faculty
  • Podcasts, reviews, author biographies, background reading, and more



Colgate Bookstore

All Living Writers books can be purchased online or in person at the Colgate Bookstore. 

Join the conversation on Twitter @ColgateLW