Festival Guest Writers

For the last 20 years of his life, poet Robert Frost, a friend of President Wallace Alston, would visit the Agnes Scott campus every spring on his way to Florida, staying for a week or so on campus to give readings, meet with students and faculty, and enjoy spring in Decatur. In the Frost tradition, since 1972 Writers’ Festival guests have come to campus to visit classes, meet with students and faculty, give formal readings and craft talks, and lead workshops for finalists in the festival writing contest.

Below is a list of guest writers hosted since the festival began in 1972.

  • 1972 May Sarton, Michael Mott, Marion Montgomery
  • 1973 Robert Penn Warren, George Garret
  • 1974 Hollis Summers, Larry Rubin
  • 1975 Richard Eberhardt, Josephine Jacobsen
  • 1976 Reynolds Price, Michael Mott, Nathalie Fitzsimmons Anderson ’70
  • 1977 Eudora Welty, Guy Davenport, Josephine Jacobsen
  • 1978 John Young, Larry Rubin, Josephine Jacobsen
  • 1979 Harry Crews, Donald Davis, Josephine Jacobsen
  • 1980 Howard Nemerov, Josephine Jacobsen
  • 1981 James Merrill, Theodore Weiss, Josephine Jacobsen
  • 1982 Margaret Atwood, Doris Betts, Josephine Jacobsen
  • 1983 Donald Justice, Josephine Jacobsen, Gretchen Schultz
  • 1984 Richard Wilbur, Linda Pastan, Gretchen Schultz, Kay Stevenson
  • 1985 Maxine Kumin, Greg Johnson, Gretchen Schultz
  • 1986 Denise Levertov, Andrew Lytle, Memye Curtis Tucker '56
  • 1987 Tillie Olsen, Memye Curtis Tucker '56, Jane Zanca '83
  • 1988 Michael Harper, Anne Rivers Siddons, Memye Curtis Tucker '56
  • 1989 James Dickey, Memye Curtis Tucker '56, Elizabeth Bartlett
  • 1990 Josephine Jacobsen, Alfred Uhry, Memye Curtis Tucker '56, Dorothy Sussman '87, Jane Zanca '83
  • 1991 Gloria Naylor, Sharon Olds, Memye Curtis Tucker '56
  • 1992 Rita Dove, Robert Coover, Greg Johnson, John Stone, Memye Curtis Tucker '56
  • 1993 Jorie Graham, Charles Johnson, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Memye Curtis Tucker '56
  • 1994 Carolyn Forché, Melissa Fay Greene, Lee Abbott, Mary Kratt
  • 1995 Michael Harper, Peter Carey, Julie Kalendek, Memye Curtis Tucker '56
  • 1996 Alicia Ostriker, Philip Lopate, Joy Williams, Sally Ann Stevens
  • 1997 Jane Smiley, Katha Pollitt, Pearl Cleage, Anjail Rashida Ahmad ’92
  • 1998 Jamaica Kincaid, Thylias Moss, Sherman Yellen
  • 1999 Tim O'Brien, Eavan Boland, Frank Manley, Memye Curtis Tucker '56
  • 2000 Joyce Carol Oates, Li-Young Lee, Jim Grimsley, Robert Earl Price
  • 2001 John Updike, Marsha Norman, Sharon Olds, Anjail Rashida Ahmad ’92
  • 2002 Marilyn Nelson, Bapsi Sidhwa, Scott Russell Sanders
  • 2003 Julia Alvarez, Greg Williamson, Cary Bynum
  • 2004 Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Bo Ball
  • 2005 Oliver Sacks, Linda Hogan, Caroline Murnane ’00
  • 2006 Paul Muldoon, Percival Everett, Nathalie Fitzsimmons Anderson ’70
  • 2007 Suzan Lori Parks, Yusef Kumanyakaa, Beatriz Rivera-Barnes
  • 2008 Martín Espada, Rubén Martínez, Gillian Lee-Fong ’00
  • 2009 Anita Desai, Junot Diaz, Sabrina Marks
  • 2010 Scott Russell Sanders, Paul Guest, Sarah Scoles '05
  • 2011 Jennifer Nettles '97, Danzy Senna, Arda Collins
  • 2012 Joy Harjo, Benjamin Percy, Jacqueline Goldfinger ’00
  • 2013 Gish Jen, Cristina Garcia, Anjail Rashida Ahmad ’92
  • 2014 Nick Flynn, Terrance Hayes, Louisa Hill '09
  • 2015 Chris Abani, Tracy K. Smith, Jennifer Bartell '05
  • 2016 Richard Blanco, Dani Shapiro, Charleen McClure '10
  • 2017 Claudine Rankine, Patrick Phillips, Kayla Miller '11
  • 2018 Eula Biss, Mat Johnson, Jacqueline Goldfinger '00
  • 2019 Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Nikky Finney, Gillian Lee-Fong '00
  • 2020 Festival Canceled. Scheduled guests Lidia Yuknavitch, Tina Chang, and Anna Cabe '13 served as judges for the Writers' Festival Contest
  • 2021 Rita Dove, Jacqueline Goldfinger '00
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