MURRAY, Ky. — The department of English and philosophy at Murray State University will soon host the next two visiting authors in the 2017–18 Reading Series: David Madden (Nov. 2) and Jesse Donaldson (Nov. 7).

David Madden, author of 14 works of fiction, will read from his work Thursday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Clara M. Eagle Art Gallery on the Murray State campus. A book signing and reception will follow the reading. This event is free and open to the public.

Madden’s most recent publication is “Marble Goddesses and Mortal Flesh,” a collection of four novellas. His other works include “The Suicide’s Wife” and “Sharpshooter: A Novel of the Civil War,” both novels that were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His short story collections include “The Shadow Knows,” winner of a National Council on the Arts Award, as well as “The New Orleans of Possibilities,” “On the Big Wind” and “The Last Bizarre Tale.” Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1933, Madden graduated from the University of Tennessee, served in the Army, earned a master’s degree at San Francisco State and attended Yale School of Drama on a John Golden Fellowship. He served as a former writer-in-residence at UNC-Chapel Hill, Clark University, Lynchburg College, among others, and as a distinguished visiting scholar at the University of Delaware. He also held the chair of excellence at Austin Peay State University and is now Robert Penn Warren professor emeritus of creative writing at Louisiana State University.

Jesse Donaldson, a Kentucky native, novelist and memoirist, will read from his work Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center Ohio Room. A book signing and reception will follow the reading. This event is free and open to the public.

Donaldson was born and raised in Kentucky before attending Kenyon College and Oregon State University. He later became a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. In a starred review of Donaldson’s fiction debut, “The More They Disappear,” Booklist writes, “Forget genre labels. This is a stunning novel, period.” Donaldson’s latest work, “On Homesickness: A Plea,” is part memoir, part meditation on nostalgia and part catalog of Kentucky history and myth. Organized according to Kentucky geography, with one passage for each of the Commonwealth’s 120 counties, “On Homesickness” examines whether people can ever return to the places they’ve called home. Donaldson’s visit to Murray State is part of his statewide book tour, during which he is giving a reading from “On Homesickness” in every county in Kentucky.

For further information about the readings, please contact Dr. Carrie Jerrell at

A headshot of David Madden.
David Madden (pictured) will be on Murray State’s campus Thursday, Nov. 2, for the Murray State Reading Series.


A headshot of Jesse Donaldson.
Jesse Donaldson (pictured) will be on Murray State’s campus Tuesday, Nov. 7, for the Murray State Reading Series.
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