Founded 40 years ago by the novelist and professor Frederick Busch, Living Writers is a signature program of Colgate University. It’s both a for-credit course (Engl. 360), offered every fall for 50 undergraduates, and a companion program for alumni, parents, community members, and friends of Colgate. The course and the program are led by faculty in the Department of English with generous support from the Olive B. O'Connor Fund as well as the President and the Provost/Dean of the Faculty.

Only Colgate students can enroll in the for-credit course, but anyone can participate—at any level—in the not-for-credit program. The Living Writers community is made up mostly of Colgate alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and residents of the village of Hamilton.

It’s easy! Pick one or more books from our list and start reading. Listen to our three-question podcast with the author, then check out some of the background reading we’ve compiled for you. Join Colgate faculty and others for a Zoom book discussion, then join us again—in person or via Zoom—for the author’s appearance on campus.

For 10 tips on how to get the most out of Living Writers, click here.

Note: the individual book pages are still under construction but will go live later in the summer. There, you’ll find everything you need, including dates and Zoom links.

A day or two after each author event, we’ll send an email with a link to an archived recording. These recordings will be available until December 31, 2022.

Join our email list. Feel free to pass along the link to anyone else who might be interested.

Living Writers is completely free.

This is the one question without an easy answer! We sometimes compare the book selection process to complex flower arranging. We’re looking for diversity in every sense of that word: ethnic diversity, national diversity, gender diversity, and age diversity. Every year, we try to bring well-known writers as well as early-career ones. We try to bring people working in multiple genres and forms. Some years we try to focus on a particular theme; most years, we simply let a few shared questions burble to the surface. If you read a book that knocks you sideways and you want to suggest it to us, please do. You can reach us at

An audience Q&A will follow each presentation. Obviously, it will be easier to ask a question if you’re physically present, but if you’d like to pose one through the Zoom chat function, our moderator will be happy to try to ask it for you.

The Colgate University and Hamilton Village libraries have all of this year’s Living Writers books. They’re also available from the Colgate Bookstore, which will ship them to you for free.

A book-signing will follow each of our live events this fall. If you’re unable to attend in person, contact Kate Reynolds at the Colgate Bookstore ( to arrange for a signed copy.