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Welcome to NWFSC READS

NWFSC’s Annual Celebration of Literacy

ATTENTION: Due to COVID-19, this event has been cancelled. Please view our COVID-19/ Coronavirus Response Plan for more information.

NWFSC READS is an annual celebration of literacy held every April featuring a week-long series of events, ranging from a book drive to cake decorating — all leading up to the main event, a performance and book signing by a featured guest author.

In the News: Poet Richard Blanco has an anthem for Americans after El Paso (USA Today)

2020 NWFSC READS Author Announced: Richard Blanco (Cancelled)

"How to Love a Country" poems by Richard Blanco

Photo Credit:

As Presidential Inaugural Poet for Barack Obama, memoirist, public speaker, educator, and advocate, Richard Blanco has crisscrossed the nation inviting communities to connect the heart of human experience and our shared identity as a country.

Blanco will speak from 7 – 8 p.m. during the Blackwater Review reception on April 20 in the Sprint Theater, with a book signing to follow. Books will be available for purchase. (Cancelled) 

Read Biography

Author Bio

Richard Blanco Press Photo. Photo Credit Alissa Morris

“Richard Blanco’s mother, seven months pregnant, and the rest of the family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Madrid where he was born. Forty-five days later, the family immigrated once more to New York City, and eventually settled in Miami. Only a few weeks old, Blanco already belonged to three countries, a foreshadowing of the negotiations of cultural identity, community, and belonging that would shape his life and continue to inform his work. As a poet, memoirist, and essayist, Blanco is a sought-after speaker who captivates audiences around the nation and the world with his dynamic storytelling and powerful readings.  Advocating for diversity, LGBTQ rights, immigration, arts education, cultural exchange, and other important issues of our time, Blanco routinely speaks at a variety of venues and functions, including fundraisers and galas, professional development conferences, middle and high schools, universities, commencement ceremonies, writing conferences, and literary festivals.” – Richard Blanco Biography 

READS Week 2020 Events (Cancelled)

Please note that all event dates are subject to change, and that specific event dates are to be announced at a later time.

Richard Blanco will headline the READS Week Event on April 20, 2020 from 7-8 p.m. in the Sprint Theater, Mattie Kelly Arts Center.

For questions, please contact Dr. Beverly Holmes at

Children’s Book Drive

April 13-20 (Cancelled)

Phi Theta Kappa will be collecting new and gently used children’s books to be donated to “Children in Crisis.” Look for collection boxes around campus. For questions, please contact Ms. Donna Pierson at

Edible Book Contest Sponsored by the LRC and Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore

April 13, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Cancelled)

Edible books are simply books created from food. This year in celebration of our distinguished poet we are going to add an edible poem category, too! No baking skills needed; entries can be made from bread, fruits, cheeses, vegetables, even soup! Prizes are given for the best representation of a poem, adult book, children’s book, faculty/staff entry, and non-cake book. Be sure to visit the LRC to view the entries and vote for the People’s Choice award. Visit the LRC’s Edible Book Contest page for more information, or contact with any questions.

The NWFSC Film Club presents a free screening of Moonlight. (Cancelled) 

April 13, 6:30 p.m. @ The Film Classroom (Building 110, Room 328) (Cancelled)

NWFSC READS is joining with the NWFSC Film Club to screen Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016), which shares some common themes with Richard Blanco’s memoir and other works. Moonlight is a powerful coming-of-age film that tells the story of Chiron, an LGBTQ person of color who grows up in an impoverished community in Miami. We follow him through three different time ages: when he’s 10, 16, and 30-something. The film explores issues of sexuality, masculinity, class, race, and otherness. Moonlight won not only Best Picture in 2017 (after La La Land was mistakenly announced instead)– it is also one of the best films of the decade.  It’s rated R for some sexuality, drug use, brief violence, and language throughout. There will a discussion following the screening, and free food. Everyone is welcome!

Poetry Slam Sponsored by the Raider Writers (Cancelled) 

April 16, 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. @ Tyler Recital Hall (Building 110)

Three rounds, three poems, each delivered within a three-minute timeframe.  Judges will evaluate Round #1, then reduce the field by half.  After Round #2, the final two contestants will “slam off” for cash prizes.  Sign-up begins at 1:30 p.m.  Bring your best poems and best delivery style.  A $50 cash prize will be awarded to first place, $25 for second. For more information contact Dr. Vickie Hunt at

The 2020 Blackwater Review Reading, featuring student poets and writers

April 17, 6 p.m. @ McIlroy Gallery at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center (Cancelled)

Blackwater Review invites you to preview the literary and artistic achievements of the students published in this year’s issue. Selected poets and writers will read and perform their pieces at this casual event. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, visit the Blackwater Review submission site or contact Dr. Vickie Hunt at

Blackwater Review Reception

April 20, 5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. @ McIlroy Gallery at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center (Cancelled)

Join us for the official unveiling of the 2020 issue of the Blackwater Review. The award-winning literary and fine arts journal highlights the creative talent of NWFSC students. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Dr. Vickie Hunt at

NWFSC READS Visiting Authors

  • 2021: Elizabeth Acevedo, Cancelled due to Covid-19 precautions
  • 2020: Richard Blanco, Cancelled due to Covid-19 precautions
  • 2019: Sebastian Junger
  • 2018: Jeannette Walls
  • 2017: Andre Dubus III
  • 2016: Sarah Kay/Phil Kaye
  • 2015: Richard Blanco
  • 2014: Michael Cunningham
  • 2013: Julianna Baggott
  • 2012: Taylor Mali
  • 2011: Frank X. Walker/Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno
  • 2010: Geraldine Brooks
  • 2009: Ann Patchett
  • 2008: Tobias Wolff
  • 2007: Kaye Gibbons
  • 2006: Robert Olen Butler
  • 2005: David Kirby/Barbara Hamby

Funding for READS 2020 and 2021 provided by the NWF Foundation, the Mattie Kelly Fine and Performing Arts Center, the Susan Myers Learning Resource Center, the Collegiate High School, and NWF Student Government Association.