In 1985, thanks to the support of Dr. Robert Alexander, Distinguished Chancellor Emeritus, the Department of English established an annual visiting writers’ series. Since its inception, the series has been dedicated to extending the learning experience beyond the classroom by providing, free of charge, public readings of important contemporary poetry and prose to USC Aiken faculty and students and members of the greater community.

In the first decade, the series was directed by Dr. Stephen Gardner, who worked with representatives from the South Carolina Arts Commission to have USC Aiken declared as a host site for authors that the Commission brought to our state for multiple-campus residencies. Among the literary luminaries featured in the series during those years were a number of Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, including novelist Michael Chabon and poet Yusef Komunyakaa.

In 1995, the series was renamed for longtime Aiken residents James and Mary Oswald, who created an endowment to enhance departmental initiatives to promote general interest in the English language and its literatures. Stewardship of the series changed hands in 1997 when Dr. Tom Mack and Dr. Phebe Davidson assumed responsibility. Since then, the roster of distinguished visiting authors has multiplied to include such significant writers as Judith Ortiz Cofer (1998), Josephine Humphreys (1999), John Jakes (2000), Allan Gurganus (2001), Robert Olen Butler (2002), and Sharyn McCrumb (2005).

For more information on the series, please write Dr. Andrew Geyer at the Department of English, USC Aiken, 471 University Parkway, Aiken, SC 29801, call 803/648-6851, or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Oswald Series Visiting Writers

pdf 2016-2017
Rick Bragg and Larry D. Thomas
pdf 2015 - 2016
Richard Blanco, David Joy
pdf 2014 - 2015
Phillip Gardner, Terrance Hayes
pdf 2013 - 2014
George Singleton, Terry Dalrymple and Jan Seale
pdf 2012 - 2013
Stephen Graham Jones and Nikky Finney
pdf 2012
Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
pdf 2011 - 2012
John Lane and Ron Rash
pdf 2011
Percival Everett, Sue Monk Kid, SC Academy of Authors
pdf 2009 - 2010
Marianne Gingher, Elise Blackwell
pdf 2008 - 2009
Richard Bausch, Jill McCorkle
pdf 2007 - 2008
Moira Crone, Elizabeth Cox, Southern Poetry Anthology
pdf 2006 - 2007
Brock Clarke, Rebecca McClanahan
pdf 2005 - 2006
George Singleton, Silas House
pdf 2004 - 2005
Phebe Davidson, Sharyn McCrumb
jpg 2004
Jon Tuttle
jpg 2003 - 2004
John Dufresne, Jon Tuttle
jpg 2002 - 2003
Robert Olen Butler, Cathy Smith Bowers
jpg 2001 - 2002
Allan Gurganus, Janette Turner Hospital
jpg 2000 - 2001
John Jakes
jpg 1999 - 2000
Josephine Humphreys, Dorothy Perry Thompson, Amiri Baraka
jpg 1998- 1999
Steven W. Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, Ron Rash, Bret Lott
jpg 1997 - 1998
Michael Klein, Judith Ortiz Cofer
jpg 1996 - 1997
Jim Peterson, Nikki Giovanni
jpg 1995 - 1996
Kwame Dawes, Cecile Goding
jpg 1994 - 1995
Dorothy Perry Thompson, Yusef Komunyakaa, John Lane