Sunday, December 10, 2023

Hayes Writers Series Begins Sept. 14 with Poet David Mills

David Mills (Photo courtesy of Lannan Foundation)

WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary will kick off its Hayes Writers Series with featured poet David Mills on Sept. 14.

The annual series is presented by the English Department at William & Mary. It invites professional writers from all genres to visit the campus and share their work and experiences throughout their careers. Public events take place throughout the year.

According to William & Mary, the series was started in 1991 when the college received funds from the estate of Patrick Hayes to create an endowment supporting a festival for writers. In recent years, the festival has evolved into a series, with several events held during the academic year. 

Writers William & Mary has previously brought to campus include novelists Allan Gurganus, Richard Bausch, Madison Smartt Bell, Paul Russell and Tom Disch.

Others include poets Allen Ginsberg, Diane Ackerman, Mark Strand, Amiri Baraka, Charles Wright, Agha Shahid Ali, Toi Derricotte, Dana Gioia, Elizabeth Spires; playwrights Ntozake Shange and Cassandra Medley; biographers Scott Donaldson, Judith Thurman, Brad Gooch, Esther Lanigan; and faculty writers Joanne Braxton, Henry Hart, Hermine Pinson, and Nancy Schoenberger.

According to the Lannan Foundation, David Mills lived in the landmark home of Langston Hughes for three years. An actor as well as a writer, he was inspired to create a one-person dramatic rendition of Hughes’ poems and short stories. Mills has worked in both the dramatic and literary fields for over a decade.

Mills has published the poetry collections “Boneyarn,” “The Sudden Country,” “The Dream Detective” and “After Mistic.” His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, Jubilat, Callaloo, Obsidian, Brooklyn Rail, Diode Journal and Fence.

The Juilliard School of Drama commissioned and produced a play written by Mills, and he wrote the audio script for MacArthur Fellowship winner Deborah Willis’ curated exhibition “Reflections in Black: 100 Years of Black Photography,” which was shown at the Whitney and Getty museums. 

Other writers to be featured later in the series include Paul Hendrickson, Addie Tsai, and Kelli Jo Ford.

The Hayes Writers Series kickoff will take place on Sept 14 at 6 p.m. in the Tucker Theatre on William & Mary campus. For more information about writers to be featured in the series, check out William & Mary’s fall program list.

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