Annual Writer-in-Residence Program

Jericho Brown reading

Photo by Jojo Baccam courtesy Little Village Magazine.

The Magid Center hosts an annual Visiting Writer-in-Residence Program to encourage cross-discipline and cross-genre collaboration. Each year, our visiting Writer-in-Residence helps us provide programming that showcases cross-genre and/or interdisciplinary work that combines writing and other artistic media, such as film, theater, dance, and art.


Junot DiazThe Magid Center proudly hosted Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz. While in Iowa City, Diaz read in Phillips Hall and did a Q&A at the Dey House. 

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is the recipient of the Ella Baker Award, from the Hurston/Wright Foundation – The Ella Baker Award recognizes writers for work that advances social justice.



Lydia DavisThe Magid Center was honored to host the powerhouse novelist, short story writer, essayist, and translator Lydia Davis as our Writer-in-Residence for the 2015-2016 year. During her visit in April, Lydia gave a public reading in Van Allen Hall, hosted an intimate lunch with undergraduate students in downtown Iowa City, and led a vibrant Q&A session in the Dey House library. 



Jericho Brown and Amber DermontIn 2015 we were proud to host two acclaimed Writers-in-Residence, poet Jericho Brown and screenplay and fiction writer Amber Dermont. During their two-day residency, Jericho and Amber gave a public reading at Prairie Lights Books, led a Q&A with students and community members, met with the editorial board of UI's first-year undergraduate literary magazine Ink Lit Mag to share their insights on writing and publishing, and gave an interview on KRUI's The Lit Show.


Denis JohnsonOur 2013-2014 Writer-in-Residence was award-winning fiction writer Denis Johnson, who gave a reading of his fiction, led a Q&A with graduate and undergraduate students, and worked with a group of actors to present a staged reading of play he had written called Psychos Never Dream.



Bret Anthony JohnstonOur inaugural Writer-in-Residence was Bret Anthony Johnston, fiction/film writer and Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University. Bret gave a reading at our local independent bookstore (Prairie Lights), met with students, gave a public talk on the difficulties of teaching writing, gave an interview for KRUI's The Lit Show, and collaborated with a local independent theater to screen a movie he had written called Waiting for Lightning.