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Durst Distinguished Lectures

Renowned writers read their work, share their expertise, and offer insight into their creative process—right here on campus.

Durst Distinguished Lecture Series

Headshots of all Durst Lecturers who will be presenting in the Fall 2020 semester

Fall 2020 Readings & Conversations

September 22–Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenya

October 6–Yiyun Li

October 19–Jaquira Diaz

October 28–Cathy Park Hong

November 5–Gaiutra Bahadur

November 17–Vinson Cunningham

Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chairs in Literature

  • Edwidge Danticat 

    Edwidge Danticat

    Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature, 2019-20

  • Kevin Young 

    Kevin Young

    Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature, 2018-19

  • Michael Chabon CREDIT Benjamin Tice Smith 

    Michael Chabon

    Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature, 2017-18

  • Claudia Rankine 

    Claudia Rankine

    Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature, 2016-17

  • Manohla Dargis ’85 

    Manohla Dargis ’85

    Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature, 2015-16

Unparalleled Opportunity

As a small public college, Purchase is proud to introduce students to the level of expertise provided by the Durst Distinguished Lectures—outstanding opportunities for students and local community members alike to interact with accomplished authors.

The roster of current and past Durst Lecturers have won an impressive array of literary honors and fellowships, including:

  • National Book Awards
  • National Book Critic’s Circle John Leonard Prize
  • National Book Critic’s Circle Award in Poetry
  • Lannan Foundation Fellowships
  • MacArthur Foundation Grants
  • Pulitzer Prizes
  • Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships
  • Man Booker Prizes for Fiction
  • Rona Jaffe Writers Award
  • NAACP Image Award
  • LA Times Book Award for Poetry
  • NEA Fellowship in Prose
  • Asian American Writers Workshop Literature Award
  • Academy Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets
  • Martin Luther King Memorial Prize
  • Young Lions Fiction Awards
  • Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber Award

Special Thanks

The Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature Endowment supports the Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature, awarded to a distinguished professor whose work bridges literature and the visual or performing arts, and the Durst Distinguished Lecture Series, for visiting professors and other lecturers.

This generous support has benefited the college and especially enriched the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Humanities, and the Literature and Creative Writing programs at Purchase College.