Winter With the Writers Announces 2019 Schedule

The annual literary festival at Rollins opens in February with national bestselling author Mike Birbiglia and features a pair of National Book Awards finalists.

Rollins College will once again partner with the National Book Foundation as part of its annual Winter With the Writers literary festival.

As the Southeast’s sole representative of the National Book Awards on Campus program, Rollins will host the 2019 finalists who will teach master classes, give a joint reading and interview, and sign books.

Since 1927, Rollins College has hosted world-class writers for this event, which is free and open to the public.

2019 Winter With the Writers Season at a Glance

Mike Birbiglia and Jennifer Hope Stein

February 6

Mike Birbiglia is a comedian, storyteller, director, and actor who has performed in front of audiences worldwide, from the Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall. His most recent shows, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and Thank God for Jokes, were both filmed for Netflix. In addition to performing live, Birbiglia is an author and filmmaker who wrote, directed, and starred in the films Sleepwalk with Me and Don’t Think Twice. His book, Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories, was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. As an actor, Birbiglia has appeared on Inside Amy SchumerGirls, and Broad City as well as in the films Trainwreck, The Fault in Our Stars, and Popstar

Stein is the author of Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose, an associate producer on the film Sleepwalk with Me, and consulting producer on the film Don’t Think Twice. She is also a writer for The New One that opened on Broadway at the Cort Theatre.

5 p.m. Screening of Don’t Think Twice, Bush Auditorium

Following the screening, writer, director and star Mike Birbiglia and consulting producer Jennifer Hope Stein will join in via Skype for a Q&A about the film.


Liz Allen

February 7

Liz Allen has been coaching, directing, and performing improv for the past 25 years. She coached the long-running IO (ImprovOlympic) house teams Valhalla, Deep Schwa, and Mission Improvable. A founding member of The IO Roadshow, she has taught hundreds of workshops at colleges and corporations nationwide. For three years running, she won IO’s Del Close Coach of the Year Award, now called the Liz Allen Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2006, with Jimmy Carrane, Allen co-wrote the book Improvising Better and co-created their popular Individual Assessment Workshop.

Allen was honored to coach The Commune, the improv ensemble in Mike Birbiglia’s 2016 feature film Don’t Think Twice. She mentors improv coaches at The Improv Shop in St. Louis and coaches faraway improv teams around the globe.

4 p.m. Master class improv workshop, SunTrust Auditorium


Brian Turner

February 14

A poet and memoirist who served seven years in the U.S. Army, Brian Turner is the author of two poetry collections, Phantom Noise and Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, The New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 PEN Center USA “Best in the West” award, the 2007 Poets Prize, and others. Turner’s work has been published in National GeographicThe New York TimesPoetry DailyHarper’s Magazine, and other journals. He has been awarded a United States Artists Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and more. 

4 p.m. Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m. Bush Auditorium


Barbara Hamby

February 21

Barbara Hamby is the author of six books of poems, most recently Bird Odyssey and On the Street of Divine Love: New and Selected Poems, both published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, which also published Babel and All-Night Lingo Tango. She was a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry, and her book of short stories, Lester Higata’s 20th Century, won the 2010 Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Yale Review. She teaches at Florida State University, where she is Distinguished University Scholar.

4 p.m. Master class, SunTrust Auditorium

7:30 p.m. Bush Auditorium

Hamby is the 2018–19 Irving Bachellor Chair in creative writing at Rollins.


National Book Awards on Campus: Two Finalists

This will be the fifth event of Rollins’ partnership with the National Book Foundation. Rollins represents the Southeastern region of the foundation’s on-campus program, with Amherst College representing the Northeast, Concordia College representing the Midwest, and Sam Houston State University representing the Southwest. Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, and Carol Frost, director of Winter With the Writers, select the current National Book Award winners. Visit the NBA on Campus website for more information.

Jennifer Clement

February 28

Jennifer Clement is the president of PEN International, a worldwide association of writers, and the first woman to be elected since the organization was founded in 1921. Under her leadership, the groundbreaking PEN International Women’s Manifesto was created. Clement is the recipient of the Canongate Prize, the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award, the Gran Prix des Lectrices Lyceenes de ELLE, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship, and her books have twice been The New York Times “Editor’s Choice.” Her recent novel, Gun Love, is an Oprah Book Club Selection and a National Book Award finalist. She lives in Mexico City, where she was raised, and is a member of the prestigious Sistema Nacional de Creadores. 

2 p.m. Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m. Joint reading with Daniel Gumbiner, Bush Auditorium


Daniel Gumbiner

February 28

Born and raised in Northern California, Daniel Gumbiner graduated from Berkeley in 2011 and now lives in Las Vegas, where he works as the managing editor of The Believer. His first book, The Boatbuilder, was long-listed for the National Book Award. 

4 p.m. Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m. Joint reading with Jennifer Clement, Bush Auditorium

The joint reading will be streamed on the Winter With the Writers website and also on the National Book Foundation website. It will be followed by a moderated Q&A and will be available to the 380,000 NBF Twitter followers.