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Mary O’Donoghue, 2023 Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies, Kicks Off Villanova’s Literary Festival

Photo courtesy of Isabel Choi.

To celebrate the kick-off of the 25th annual Literary Festival at Villanova, I attended the Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies Mary O’Donoghue’s poetry reading. The event began with a couple speeches of appreciation from Jennifer A. Joyce, PhD, Associate Director, Center for Irish Studies; Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD; and Geraldine Byrne Naso, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, who personally congratulated O’Donoghue on her new post. 

O’Donoghue’s reading invited people to sit and listen. The slightly warm yet cozy atmosphere of the President’s Lounge truly made the poetry reading seem like a personal performance. As an English major myself, I had high hopes for this event, and I was not disappointed. O’Donoghue’s poetry is deeply artistic and emotion-packed. She read a total of three poems, but one struck me most. Her villanelle, “My Daughter in Winter Costume,” inspired by the sculpture, Daughter in Winter Costume (1922) by John Storrs, uses biting language to give the stoic sculpture a personal dimension. In the formulaic villanelle style, the poem continually repeats the same lines, yet O’Donoghue delivered a different mood each time. 

The event concluded with a Q&A session with O’Donoghue who explained a bit of her writing process and struggles as a poet. Overall, the kick-off was enriching and a delightful way to spend my evening. Be sure to join us for the next Literary Festival event on Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m. in Falvey Library’s Speakers’ Corner featuring a reading and talk by Tsering Yangzom Lama

Isabel Choi ’26 is a Communication & Marketing Assistant at Falvey Library.





Foto Friday: It’s Lit



We’re gearing up for Lit Fest at Falvey Library! Check out the display on the first floor and be sure to stop by Speakers’ Corner for a reading and talk by Tsering Yangzom Lama on Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m.

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library. Photo courtesy of Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication & Marketing at Falvey Library.





TBT: Wes Moore

This week’s Throwback Thursday (TBT) is a whiteboard drawing of author Wes Moore. Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication and Marketing, crafted the artwork to celebrate Moore’s arrival to Villanova’s campus on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. Author of the 2014 Villanova One Book selection, The Other Wes Moore, Moore has been the focus of current events as he is the Democratic nominee for governor in the 2022 Maryland gubernatorial election. Moore’s most recent book, Five Days, co-authored with Erica Green, “which tells the story of Baltimore in the days that followed the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.”

Dig deeper and explore Moore’s books below:

Villanova’s One Book committee has announced that Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas has been selected as the campus book for the 2022-23 academic year.

In Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, Vargas shares the personal account of his life as an undocumented immigrant living in America. Vargas was born in the Philippines and at the age of 12 was sent to the United States illegally by his mother—a fact which he didn’t discover until he went to apply for a driver’s permit and learned his papers were fake. In the years since, Vargas has struggled with his identity, has had a sense of homelessness, and has been frustrated with the fact that there is no clear way to achieve citizenship. Through his work as a reporter and writer, he has been a champion for the human rights of all immigrants.

Villanova University will welcome Vargas to campus to speak on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room, Connelly Center, as a part of our annual One Book Villanova Lecture during the St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration. A book signing and light refreshments will follow the talk. Please note that you don’t have to have read Dear America to attend the book talk! There will be a limited number of copies available at the event.

Following the author’s visit on September 28, the One Book Committee will continue to focus on the themes and topics presented by Vargas in Dear America by working with campus departments and groups to sponsor topical events so the community can continue the conversation. Be sure to check Campus Currents and Wildcat Newswire for further updates.

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.





Foto Friday: Literary Festival Lineup

By Kallie Stahl 

The 22nd Annual Villanova Literary Festival begins Thursday, Feb. 20! A reception and book signing with the author will follow each reading. All events begin at 7 p.m. The festival, co-sponsored by the English Department, the Creative Writing Program, the Honors Program, Africana Studies, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, The Writing Center, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Falvey Memorial Library, is free and open to the public.

Dinaw Mengestu — Thursday, February 20, Dougherty Hall, West Lounge 

Mengestu is the author of three novels, all of which were named New York Times Notable Books: All Our Names (2014), How To Read the Air (2010), and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007). He is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction, Guardian First Book Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other honors.

Bryan Washington — Tuesday, March 24, Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner 

Washington’s debut collection of short stories, Lot, was published by  in 2019. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New York TimesThe New York Times MagazineThe New Yorker, BBC, The Paris Review, Tin House, and numerous other publications. He’s also a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 winner, and the recipient of an O. Henry Award.

Brenda Shaughnessy — Thursday, April 2, Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner 

Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, including The Octopus Museum (2019), So Much Synth (2016) and Our Andromeda (2012), which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, The International Griffin Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. A 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Shaughnessy is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark.

Robin Coste Lewis — Tuesday, April 21, Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner 

Coste Lewis is the poet laureate of Los Angeles. In 2015, her debut poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus, won the National Book Award in poetry–the first time a poetry debut by an African-American had ever won the prize in the National Book Foundation’s history. Lewis’ writing has appeared in various journals and anthologies such as Time MagazineThe New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Paris ReviewTransition, and Best American Poetry.

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.






Last Modified: February 14, 2020

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