March 28-30: Southern Literary Festival welcomes Tim O’Brien, Natasha Trethewey, Kevin Wilson, Dan Albergotti, Madge McKeithen

The Southern Literary Festival, March 28-30, will feature several open-to-the-public events with well known authors including award-winning novelist Tim O’Brien, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey, novelist Kevin Wilson, acclaimed poet Dan Albergotti and creative nonfiction writer Madge McKeithen. Columbus State University hosts this year's Festival in cooperation with The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians and the Columbus Public Library.

Colleges and universities from around The South are invited to become members of the Southern Literary Festival. The annual membership fee of $200 registers your institution for the festival and allows students to participate in the festival's annual student writing contests. Learn more here. Special workshops and writing contests are available to members. About 200-300 attendees are expected at this year's program.

Here are the events that are open to public:

Thursday, March 28

7:30-9 p.m. Reading with Kevin Wilson and Madge McKeithen. CSU's Riverside Theatre Complex.

9-11 p.m. Open Mic on stage along Broadway in downtown Columbus.

Friday, March 29

7:30-9 p.m. Tim O'Brien speaks at the Springer Opera House

Saturday, March 30

10 a.m.-noon Q&A and reading with Natasha Trethewey and Dan Albergotti. CSU's Riverside Theatre Complex.

About the authors

Tim O’Brien is an American novelist and short story writer of great acclaim. An infantry soldier and Purple Heart recipient in the Vietnam War, much of his fiction involves the lives of soldiers before, during, and after that period. His 1978 novel Going After Cacciato, set in Viet Nam, won the National Book Award for fiction. His 1989 collection of stories The Things They Carried was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Critics Circle Award and was awarded France's Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. His 1994 novel In the Lake of the Woods was awarded the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians and was named best novel of the year by Time magazine. Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried will be the Columbus area’s Big Read book for 2013. Book talks and other events related to the Big Read will be announced. O’Brien’s public reading — which also be the headlining event of the Southern Literary Festival — will be at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 29, at the Springer Opera House.

Natasha Trethewey is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and the current, recently named Poet Laureate of the United States. Author of three volumes of poems, she has also recently published the nonfiction work Beyond Katrina: a Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A native of Gulfport, she was named Poet Laureate of Mississippi in 2012. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. At Emory University she is Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing. Natasha Trethewey will appear on a Q&A panel about poetry, along with the poet Dan Albergotti, on Saturday, March 30, at 10 a.m. She will give a public reading from her work at 11 a.m., immediately following the Q&A session.

Kevin Wilson is the author of the collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth (Ecco/Harper Perennial, 2009), which received an Alex Award from the American Library Association and the Shirley Jackson Award, and a novel, The Family Fang (Ecco, 2011), which was a New York Times Bestseller and named one of the top ten books of 2011 by Time, People, Esquire, Kirkus Reviews, and Barnes and Noble. His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, One Story, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere, and has appeared in four volumes of the New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best anthology. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the KHN Center for the Arts. He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife, the poet Leigh Anne Couch, and his son, Griff, where he teaches fiction at the University of the South. Kevin Wilson will lead the Southern Literary Festival workshop on fiction and will read publicly from his work on Thursday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m.

Dan Albergotti is the author of the collection of poems, The Boatloads, selected by Edward Hirsch as the winner of the 2007 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions and published in April 2008. His poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Mid-American Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals. His chapbook, Charon's Manifest, won the 2005 Randall Jarrell/Harperprints Chapbook Competition, and one of his poems was reprinted in Best New Poets 2005. His poem "Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale" won the 2005 Oneiros Press Poetry Broadside Contest and was printed in a limited letterpress edition in March 2007. He has been a scholar at the Sewanee and Bread Loaf writers' conferences and a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. In spring 2008 his poem "What They're Doing" was selected for a Pushcart Prize. A graduate of the MFA program at UNC Greensboro and former poetry editor of The Greensboro Review, he currently edits the online journal Waccamaw (www.waccamawjournal.com) and teaches creative writing and literature courses at Coastal Carolina University.

Madge McKeithen: Her first book, Blue Peninsula (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006), now also on Kindle and NOOKbook, tells in fragments of her turn to poetry in the wake of her older son’s undiagnosed degenerative neurological disorder. Her work can also be read at these links--“Paul Newman On Sixth Avenue.” Lost and Found: Stories from New York(Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood Books, 2009), an essay about her father in her hometown paper, an essay about going public (library) with her love for poetry in Topograph (2010) and a dark true love story in TriQuarterly vol. 137, reprinted in Utne Reader (Nov-Dec 2010). Her essay “What Really Happened” appears in Best American Essays, 2011 (October 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Her review of a memoir by Kelle Groom was published in The New York Times Book Review in August 2011. Madge McKeithen lives in New York, teaches at the New School and in private workshops, writes online atmadgemckeithen.com, and tweets @MadgeMcKeithen.