Authors Christina Stoddard ’99 and Jennifer Whitaker ’02 are the featured speakers for the first Visiting Writers Series event this fall at Randolph. Both alumnae will read their award-winning poetry in the Alice Ashley Jack Lounge of the Smith Memorial Building Wednesday, September 21, at 8 p.m.
Stoddard is the author of Hive, which was selected by Lucia Perillo for the 2015 Brittingham Prize in Poetry (University of Wisconsin Press). Her poems have appeared in various journals including storySouth, DIAGRAM, and Spoon River Poetry Review. Originally from Tacoma, Washington, she received her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was the Fred Chappell Fellow. Stoddard is an associate editor at Tupelo Quarterly and a contributing editor at Cave Wall. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the managing editor of a scholarly journal in economics and decision theory.
Whitaker is the author of The Blue Hour, chosen by Denise Duhamel as winner of the Brittingham Prize and published in 2016 by the University of Wisconsin Press. Her poems have appeared in journals including Radar Poetry, New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Four Way Review. Originally from Midlothian, Virginia, Whitaker earned her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is an assistant poetry editor at storySouth. She currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she is director of the University Writing Center at UNCG.
In honor of Randolph’s 125th anniversary, a poem by founder and first President William Waugh Smith will also be recited. Jim Peterson, retired English professor, emeritus, and former director of the Creative Writing Program, supervised both Stoddard’s and Whitaker’s senior honors thesis at the College and will introduce the two alumnae.
“It’s very exciting to have Christina and Jennifer here to help us celebrate our 125th anniversary and give us a chance to honor the amazing work they’ve done,” said Laura-Gray Street, English professor and coordinator of Randolph’s Creative Writing Program. “The Visiting Writers Series this fall gives us a strong balance of poetry and prose, and allows our students to interact with an impressive range of accomplished writers.”
The Visiting Writers Series is funded by the Carolyn Wilkerson Bell ’65 Visiting Scholar Program Fund. The other two authors slated to speak this fall are Catherine Meeks on October 5 and Mark Haskell Smith on November 2. Meeks is the current Randolph Writer-in-Residence and Smith is the current Peal S. Buck Writer in Residence.
All Visiting Writers Series events are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit http://www.randolphcollege.edu/english/visiting-writers/.