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Pearl S. Buck Writers in Residence to read from work

Fran Wilde, left, and Lesley Wheeler

Randolph’s 2020-21 Pearl S. Buck Writers in Residence will be on campus for a reading and book signing in September.

Both Fran Wilde and Lesley Wheeler completed their residencies remotely last year and were unable to participate in any in-person readings, a hallmark of the College’s Visiting Writer Series.

The Visiting Writers Series Relaunch & Reunion Reading Gala, featuring both Wilde and Wheeler, is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. in the Alice Ashley Jack Lounge.

Wilde directs the genre fiction M.F.A. concentration at Western Colorado University. She holds both an M.F.A. in poetry and a master’s in information architecture and interaction design. She’s taught poetry and writing for all ages, as well as web development, computer programming, and game design.

During her Randolph residency last fall, she led a five-week workshop with students focusing on speculative fiction. Similar to futurecasting, the genre speculates about worlds unlike our own and often overlaps with science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.

Her own novels and short stories have been finalists for four Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award, and two Hugo Awards. Her first poetry collection, Clock Star Rose Spine, was released in August.

Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, is a past finalist for the Library of Virginia Award for her 2010 poetry collection Heterotopia. The poetry editor of Shenandoah, she has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation in New Zealand, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the American Association of University Women.

During her spring 2021 residency, Wheeler taught Randolph students a master class in poetry focusing on ““weird ways of writing poems about uncanny encounters, haunted histories, and future transformations.”

Her debut novel, Unbecoming, was recently published, on the heels of the 2020 release of her fifth poetry collection, The State She’s In. An essay collection, Poetry’s Possible Worlds, will be published this year.


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