The River City Writers Series (RCWS) is one of the longest running reading series
in the nation, serving the University of Memphis and Mid-South community since 1977. The
series welcomes prominent authors to campus to participate in a public reading, an
interview hosted by our MFA program and often, an intensive workshop for select MFA
students. Past speakers have included Gwendolyn Brooks, John Updike, Seamus Heaney
and many others.
The series not only serves the local literary community, but also is a key component
in our Creative Writing program. MFA graduate, Jenny Lederer notes, "I've been fortunate
enough to interview one of my personal favorite authors. It's really a great opportunity
to interface in a very intimate setting with these writers who you normally wouldn't
have access to."
Series Director Cary Holladay explains that students have the opportunity to have
a chance to not only have a conversation with acclaimed authors but also learn the
business side of a writer's craft as they help organize and publicize the series,
useful skills as students look to become literary professionals. "It's always been
really inspiring and helpful to be exposed to a lot of working artists," says Lederer.
"It's very inspirational to see people actually making their dreams into a career
and learn from them and the value of their experience."
The RCWS is sponsored by Student Event Allocation, the English Department, the Creative
Writing Club, Sigma Tau Delta, The Hohenburg Foundation, the National Endowment for
the Arts and South Arts. All events are free and open to the public.
If you are interested in donating to the RCWS or would like more information, please
contact RCWS Director, Cary Holladay, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (901) 678-4692.