Winter With the Writers Debuts 2020 Season

Rollins’ annual literary festival kicks off in February with alumna Kristen Arnett ’12 and features a lineup of acclaimed authors from around the world.

Rollins is pleased to announce the 2020 roster for its annual Winter With the Writers literary festival, in partnership with the National Book Foundation. Since 1927, the College has hosted the event, which brings renowned authors to campus. This year’s lineup includes a lauded alumna, a MacArthur genius, and two acclaimed National Book Awards finalists.

Rollins is the Southeast’s sole representative of the National Book Awards on Campus program. This year’s event marks the sixth time Rollins has partnered with the National Book Foundation to bring a pair of 2020 finalists to campus. As with previous years, all of this year’s authors will teach master classes, give readings, engage in a Q&A with English professor and program director Carol Frost, and sign books.

The event is free and open to the public.

2020 Winter with the Writers Season at a Glance

Kristen Arnett ’12

February 13

Kristen Arnett ’12 is a queer fiction and essay writer and the New York Times best-selling author of the novel Mostly Dead Things, which debuted in June 2019. It was a Best of 2019 pick at The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, Oprah Magazine, ELLE, The Washington Post, and more.

Arnett was awarded Ninth Letter’s 2015 Literary Award in Fiction, and her debut short fiction collection, Felt in the Jaw, won the 2017 Coil Book Award. She is the 2019-2020 Florida Literary Arts Coalition Writer’s Circuit pick and is a bimonthly columnist for Literary Hub. Her work has appeared at North American Review, The Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, PBS Newshour, McSweeneys, Electric Literature, Bennington Review, Salon, and The Rumpus.

A Florida native, Arnett grew up in Orlando, attended Winter Park High School, and graduated from Rollins College’s Hamilton Holt School. During her time at Rollins, she was an intern for Winter With the Writers and now returns as one of the festival’s accomplished authors. She also holds a master’s degree in library science from Florida State University.

Master Class: 4-5:15 p.m., SunTrust Auditorium
Reading: 7:30 p.m. with book signing to follow, Bush Auditorium


Claudia Rankine

February 20

Claudia Rankine is a Jamaican-born American poet and playwright and the author of five collections of poetry, two plays, and the editor of several anthologies. She also co-produces a video series, The Situation, alongside John Lucas, and is the founder of the Open Letter Project: Race and the Creative Imagination.

Rankine’s best-selling book, Citizen: An American Lyric uses poetry, essay, cultural criticism, and visual images to explore what it means to be an American citizen in a “post-racial” society. Citizen was the winner of the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the NAACP Image Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the LA Times Book Award for poetry. Citizen was was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and selected as an NPR Best Book of 2014. Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times best-seller in the nonfiction category.

Rankine won a distinguished Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017 and was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” in 2016. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.

Master Class: 4-5:15 p.m., SunTrust Auditorium
Reading: 7:30 p.m. with book signing to follow, Bush Auditorium


Special Presentation by the National Book Foundation

February 26

National Book Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lucas will discuss the state of the art of literature in America on February 26 at 5 p.m. in the Rollins College Galloway Room.


National Book Award Finalist Kali Fajardo-Anstine

February 27

Kali Fajardo-Anstine is the author of Sabrina & Corina, a finalist for the National Book Award  in Fiction. The novel was selected as a campus one-read by the University of Colorado and Regis University. Fajardo-Anstine’s fiction has appeared in The American Scholar, Boston Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Idaho Review, Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere. Fajardo-Anstine has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, and Hedgebrook, and she holds an MFA from the University of Wyoming.

Master Class: 2-3:15 p.m., SunTrust Auditorium
Reading: 7:30 p.m. with book signing to follow, Bush Auditorium


National Book Award Finalist Ilya Kaminsky

February 27

Ilya Kaminsky is the author of the widely acclaimed Deaf Republic, a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award  for Poetry, which Kevin Young, writing in The New Yorker, called a work of “profound imagination.” Poems from Deaf Republic were awarded Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize and the Pushcart Prize. Kaminsky is also the author of Dancing In Odessa and Musica Humana.

Kaminsky has won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and the Foreword Magazine’s Best Poetry Book of the Year award. Recently, he was on the short list for the Neusdadt International Literature Prize. His poems have been translated into numerous languages, and his books have been published in many countries, including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Spain, and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize. His poems have been compared to works by Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, and Marina Tsvetaeva.

Master Class: 4-5:15 p.m., SunTrust Auditorium
Reading: 7:30 p.m. with book signing to follow, Bush Auditorium