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Contemporary Catholic Writers Reading and Discussion Group

Inspired by Dana Gioia’s essay “The Catholic Writer Today” (First Things, 2013) and the myriad responses it has evoked since its publication, the CUA Contemporary Catholic Writers Group was founded in 2015 to raise awareness and appreciation of literary works by living Catholic writers and to engage the CUA community in the current broader conversation regarding the future of the Catholic literary imagination. While the group gives special attention to American Catholic writers, it also includes occasional selections of international writers and works in translation. A few times each year, the group also complements this primary focus on contemporary Catholic literature with discussions of past Catholic writers and of current (non-Catholic) writers who deal with questions of faith. 

An English graduate student initiative, this reading and discussion group is sponsored by CUA’s English department and is open to CUA graduate students and faculty from all departments, as well as independent scholars---Catholic and non-Catholic alike---who are interested in the relationship between literature and faith. Meetings are held on a monthly basis during the academic year. Guest lectures, poetry readings, and other literary events are held throughout the year and are free and open to the public.

For more information about Contemporary Catholic Writers, please contact Jessica Schnepp ( and visit the “CUA Contemporary Catholic Writers” Facebook page to receive updates and event invitations. Details for monthly events are also made available on The Nest ( 





Upcoming Events

St. Peter's B List: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints

A Poetry Reading featuring Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, Susan L. Miller, and other poets from St. Peter’s B-List: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints, edited by Mary Ann B. Miller.

Friday, November 18, 2016
Hannan 108

Poetry reading will be followed by book sales, author signings, and light reception.

Free and open to the public. Register at the link for tickets




Fall 2016 Reading List

Meeting One:

Friday, September 23

  • Silence, Shusaku Endo 

Meeting Two:

Friday, October 21

  • The Oracles Fell Silent, Lee Oser

Meeting Three:

Friday, November 11

  • Saint Sinatra and Other Poems, Angela Alaimo O'Donnell

Meeting Four:

Friday, December 9

  • St. Paul Lives Here (In Minnesota), Zach Czaia



Past Events

  • Poetry Reading with Dana Gioia:  6pm Friday, April 22, 2016
    Keane Auditorium, The Catholic University of America
  • “The Stranger World”: An Evening of Poetry and Music with Ryan Wilson: 7pm Monday, March 21, 2016
    Pryzbyla Center Great Room A, The Catholic University of America
  • "Art is a Jealous God: Aesthetic Autonomy and the Claims of the Divine" Guest lecture with James Matthew Wilson, Ph.D. (Villanova University):
    6pm Friday, February 5, 2016 Hannan 108, The Catholic University of America


2015-2016 Reading List

Fall 2015:

Meeting One:

  • “Has Fiction Lost Its Faith?” Paul Elie

  • “The Catholic Writer Today,” Dana Gioia

  • “Cultural Anorexia: Doubting the Decline of Faith in Fiction,” Gregory Wolf

  • Charming Billy, Alice McDermott

Meeting Two:

  • Mariette in Ecstasy, Ron Hansen

Meeting Three:

  • “The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry,” James Matthew Wilson

  • Some Permanent Things, James Matthew Wilson

Spring 2016:

Meeting Four:

  • In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Tobias Wolff

Meeting Five:

  • “How to Think Like a Poet,” Ryan Wilson

  • Selected Poems, Ryan Wilson 

Meeting Six:

  • 99 Poems: New and Selected, Dana Gioia

Summer 2016:

  •  Lit: A Memoir, Mary Karr
  • Gilead, Marilynne Robison