Distinguished Visiting Writers Series

Paolo Bacigalupi

September 17th 2015


New York Times-bestselling author, Paolo Bacigalupi, will discuss “The Water Knife” and the future of the Colorado River as part of ASU’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative.


In Paolo Bacigalupi’s most recent science fiction novel, “The Water Knife,” Phoenix is dried up and California and Nevada are not too far behind. The millions of people who rely on the Colorado River to survive are not only thirsty, but fighting for their lives. It’s a compelling story that captures a not-so-distant future. Will Phoenix eventually collapse? Will the river dry up?

As part of Arizona State University’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, a partnership between the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and Center for Science and the Imagination, Bacigalupi will visit ASU on Thursday, September 17 to share the inspiration behind “The Water Knife” and discuss how he uses creative writing to imagine the future of the Southwest. Bacigalupi follows award-winning author Margaret Atwood as the second guest lecturer for the Initiative.


Edwidge Danticat

October 15, 2015

Please join us for an evening with Edwidge Danticat on October 15, 2015. The program will begin at 7:30pm at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Stage II Theater, and will feature a reading by Ms. Danticat, followed by an open question and answer session with the audience. After the reading, guests will have the opportunity to meet the author during a book­signing in the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, directly across from the theater. This event is free and open to the public.


Edwidge - Headshot

A 2009 MacArthur Fellow, Edwidge Danticat is the author of several critically acclaimed fiction and nonfiction books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of BonesThe Dew BreakerCreate Dangerously, and Claire of the Sea Light. She is also the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United StatesBest American Essays 2011Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2. She has written four books for young adults and children, AnacaonaBehind the MountainsEight DaysThe Last Mapou, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. This year, she will publish a picture book, Mama’s Nightingale, and a young adult novel, Untwine.


Zadie Smith

April 12th, 2016

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHJoin us in welcoming Zadie Smith, Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 7:00pm for a reading and discussion at the Tempe Center for the Arts. This event is part of the 2016 Piper Center Distinguished Visiting Writer Series, and is co-sponsored by the Institute for Humanities Research as part of their Distinguished Lecturer Series. 

Zadie Smith, a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University, has been recognized for her vibrant insights into contemporary multicultural life from the start. She received numerous awards for her first novel, White Teeth (2000) including the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Guardian’s First Book Award. The novel would later be adapted for a television broadcast in 2002.

Her success with White Teeth was followed with short stories and novels, such as The Autograph Man (2002) and On Beauty (2005), both of which have gone on to receive a number of awards, including the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction for the latter. Her most recent novel, NW (2012), was named as one of the New York Times’ ’10 Best Books of 2012’. Smith’s upcoming collection of essays, Feel Free, will be published next year.


Past Distinguished Visiting Writers have included Margaret Atwood, Michael Schiffer, Amy Tan, David Quammen, Michael Ondaatje, and Michael Chabon, among many others.

View our full list of past visiting writers »


**For more notable writers coming to ASU to read and discuss their work, check out the MFA Reading Series!**