Stellar Group of Pulitzer Prize Winners, Former U.S. Poet Laureate, National Book Award Winner to Participate in Feb. 23–25 Festival

LitFest 2024 poster that includes books covers of writers who will speak at the event.

(AMHERST, Mass., Feb. 7, 2024)—From Feb. 23–25, Amherst College will host the ninth annual LitFest, a festival celebrating fiction, nonfiction, poetry and spoken-word performance along with the College’s extraordinary literary life. This year’s lineup of luminaries includes three Pulitzer Prize winners—novelist Paul Harding, poet and memoirist Natasha Trethewey, and science writer Ed Yongas well as National Book Award winner Justin Torres; stand-up comedian, author and actor Aparna Nancherla ’05E; and renowned poets Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris

Since its inception in 2016, nearly 40 renowned writers—including Michael Chabon, Natalie Diaz, Masha Gessen, Min Jin Lee, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Zadie Smith and Jesmyn Ward—have participated in LitFest, many as a result of a partnership between Amherst College, its award-winning literary magazine The Common and the National Book Foundation (NBF) Presents program. More information about the events, the writers and the livestreams is available at The 2024 authors’ schedule is below (all times are EST); books featured can be purchased in advance from independent retailers Amherst Books or

Friday, Feb. 23

  • A conversation with National Book Award winner Justin Torres and finalist Paul Harding. Moderated by Amherst College Assistant Professor of English Amelia Worsley and with introductions and remarks by President Michael A. Elliott and Natalie Green, National Book Foundation director of programs and partnerships. Presented in partnership with the National Book Foundation and Jones Library.  
    Johnson Chapel, 5 p.m. 

Saturday, Feb. 24 

  • Readings by Amherst Alumni Authors and The Common Student Interns. Introductions and remarks by Olive Amdur ’23, literary editorial fellow of The Common. Amherst alumni authors: Lisa Biggs ’93, Blair Kamin ’79 and Anne Pierson Wiese ’85. The Common interns: Sam Spratford ’24, Sarah Wu ’25, Alma Clark ’25, Kei Lim ’25, Morry Ajao ’26, Sophie Durbin ’25.  
    Friendly Reading Room in Frost Library, 3 p.m.
  • Former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry Natasha Trethewey in Conversation with President Michael A. Elliott. Presented in partnership with the UMass Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers program.  
    Johnson Chapel, 5 p.m., with livestream option 

Sunday, Feb. 25

  • Phosphorescence Special Edition: A Poetry Event with Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris. Hosted by Jane Wald, the Jane and Robert Keiter Family Executive Director of the Emily Dickinson Museum.        
    Friendly Reading Room, Frost Library, 1 p.m., with livestream option
  • An Immense World: Reporting on Science in Challenging Times: Science Journalist and Pulitzer Prize Winner Ed Yong in Conversation with Vanity Fair Editor-at-Large Cullen Murphy ’74       
    Johnson Chapel, 3 p.m.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Comedian and Actor Aparna Nancherla ’05 in Conversation with The Common Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Acker ’00     
    Johnson Chapel, 5 p.m.

This year’s festival is sponsored by the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College, The Common magazine and The Emily Dickinson Museum and is made possible by the generous support of the Croxton Lecture Fund, established in 1988 by William M. Croxton ’36. 

About LitFest

In addition to welcoming prestigious writers to campus, LitFest aims to illuminate Amherst’s distinguished literary history and the tradition of creative writing at “the writing college,” as well as the extraordinary resources and opportunities available for current and prospective students, scholars and others. Among the College’s rich offerings are chances to study with renowned faculty and alumni authors; the College’s award-winning literary magazine, The Common, and its Literary Publishing Internship that teaches participating students editorial skills and the ins and outs of publishing; extensive holdings of manuscripts related to Emily Dickinson, Richard Wilbur ’42 and other authors and poets; and the College-owned Emily Dickinson Museum in downtown Amherst and Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. 

About Amherst College

Amherst College prepares students to use ideas to make a difference in the world. Since its founding, in 1821, in Western Massachusetts, Amherst has demonstrated steadfast confidence in the value of the liberal arts and the importance of critical thinking. Today, its financial aid program is among the most substantial in the nation, and its student body among the most diverse. Small classes, an open curriculum and a focus on undergraduate education ensure that leading scholars engage daily with talented, curious students, equipping them for leadership in an increasingly global and complex world.