2021 Writers' Festival Guest Authors

Distinguished authors return for Agnes Scott College's 50th Annual Writers' Festival, the oldest continuous literary event in Georgia!

The 2021 visiting writers are Rita Dove, who appeared at the 1992 Writers' Festival, and Agnes Scott alumna writer Jacqueline Goldfinger '02, who appeared at the 2016 and 2019 Writers' Festivals.



Rita Dove

Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar, she attended Miami University of Ohio, Universität Tübingen in Germany and the University of Iowa. In 1987 she received the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and from 1993-1995 she served as U.S. Poet Laureate. Author of a novel, a short story collection, a book of essays, and ten volumes of poetry -- most recently Sonata Mulattica, her poetic treatise of 19th century Afro-European violin prodigy George Bridgetower (winner of the 2010 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award) and Collected Poems 1974-2004 (winner of a 2017 NAACP Image Award) -- she also edited The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry (2011) and, in 2018/19, a weekly poetry column for The New York Times Magazine. Her song cycle Seven for Luck, with music by John Williams, was premiered by the Boston Symphony, and her play The Darker Face of the Earth had successful runs at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Royal National Theatre in London, among other venues. Rita Dove's next volume of poems, Playlist for the Apocalypse, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in the summer of 2021, and a new song cycle, Standing Witness, with music by Richard Danielpour, will premiere at Tanglewood and the Kennedy Center in 2021 as well.

Rita Dove's numerous honors include the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, Lifetime Achievement Medals from the Library of Virginia and the Fulbright Commission, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets as well as 28 honorary doctorates, among them from Yale and Harvard. In 1996 she received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and in 2011 the National Medal of Arts from President Obama -- the only poet ever to receive both medals. She has served as president of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and as chancellor of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. An elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, where she has been teaching since 1989. 




Jacqueline Goldfinger

Jacqueline Goldfinger (she/they) grew up in the rural South and is best known for her work in the Southern Gothic genre. She won the Yale Drama Prize, Smith Prize, Generations Award, Brown Martin Award, Barrymore Award, and Philadelphia Critics Award. Her plays have been on The Kilroy’s List (twice). She's been nominated for the Weissberger Award, Blackburn Prize, Tait Black Prize, and Foote Prize. Her book, Bottle Fly, published by Yale Press, was a finalist at the International Book Awards. Her plays have been produced at theaters including: The Kennedy Center, Perseverance Theatre, The Court Theatre/New Zealand, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Capital Stage Company, Hangar Theatre, The Seattle Public, Theatre Exile, Unicorn Theatre, The Vortex, and the NYC International Fringe Festival. Her plays have been developed at theaters including: New Georges/Off-Broadway, The National Theatre/London, Wilma Theatre, La MaMa, Disquiet/Lisbon, McCarter Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Barrow Group/Off-Broadway, Arden Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Kitchen Dog Theater, Sacred Fools, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, and Kansas City Rep.

Her choral librettos include Set Myself Free for Amuse Singers (NYC) and Halcyon Days for Voces8 (UK). She and Composer Melissa Dunphy are working on a new opera which will world premiere in 2023 at Oberlin Opera tentatively titled Alice Tierney. She is a Musical Book Writer at The Official BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop as well as an Affiliated Artist at New Georges, National New Play Network, and The Lark Playwright’s Center. She is a member of the writers’ lab at The Barrow Group. Her work has been supported by YADDO, Opera America, National Endowment for the Arts, The Millay Colony, Grenada Artist-In-Residence at UC Davis, The Lark’s Playwrights Week, The Orchard Project, Audrey Residency, Drama League, Emerson Stage, Sewanee Writers Conference, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Independence Foundation, and The Mitten Lab, among others. Her work is published by Yale Press, Concord Theatricals, Playscripts, Smith & Krause, and Mormolyke Press. You can read her unpublished work on the New Play Exchange. She is currently commissioned by The Wilma Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Oberlin Opera/Opera America, EST/Sloan Foundation, Thrown Stone Theatre/Offutt Charitable Trust, and Florida Studio Theater.

She teaches playwriting and dramaturgy classes and workshops around the country. In 2012, she co-Founded The Foundry, a free three year playwrights lab for emerging playwrights in Philadelphia, and the program continues today as part of PlayPenn’s Education Program. In 2017, she Founded Page By Page, an inexpensive online resource for playwrights and new work makers, which now continues under the Executive Directorship of Rachel Lynett. She is a believer in lifelong learning and artistic evolution; she believes in making theatre accessible to all communities. She earned her MFA from the University of Southern California and her BA from Agnes Scott College.