Poets’, authors’, playwrights’ free readings are inviting options for five chilly evenings

Playwright and novelist Kia Corthron reads Saturday at Lesley University. (Photo: Bruce E. Rodgers)

A series of free evening readings by poets, authors and playwrights is offered Friday to Jan. 11 at Lesley University. The readings feature visiting writers Megan Marshall and Kia Corthron.

Marshall, an Emerson College professor whose “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014 – after her first biography, “The Peabody Sisters,” was awarded the Francis Parkman Prize and Mark Lynton History Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer – will read at 7 p.m. Jan. 11.

Corthron, who reads at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, is a finalist for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize for her book, “The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter,” and she has been named this year’s resident playwright at Chicago’s Eclipse Theatre, whose three-show season will feature her plays. As the “All Lesley Reads” author, the everyone involved in the university’s Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program is reading and discussing the first act of her play, “A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick” before Saturday. Corthron’s reading from the new novel will be followed by a staged reading of a 30-minute segment from the play.

The readings will also feature Jason Reynolds, last year’s Kirkus Prize winner and a National Book Award finalist, as well as other faculty members in Lesley’s MFA program.

All of the free readings take place in the Marran Theater, 34 Mellen St., on Lesley University’s Doble Campus in the Agassiz neighborhood near Harvard Square.

The full schedule begins at 5 p.m. Friday with Sharon Bryan (poetry) and Jason Reynolds (writing for young people); and continues at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with Corthron (writing for stage and screen, fiction and writing for young people); 6:30 p.m. Sunday with Roland Merullo (nonfiction) and Tony Eprile (fiction); 6:30 p.m. Jan. 9 with Stephen Haven (poetry) and Sinan Unel (writing for stage and screen) and ends at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 with Marshall (nonfiction).

Picture Book Seminars

In addition, there will be free “Picture Book Seminars” with Yolanda Scott, the associate publisher and editorial director at the Watertown-based Charlesbridge publishing house, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Scott’s workshops will discuss “What Hooks Me?” – what makes a manuscript stand out from the crowd and what are traps to avoid – and “Children, Children, What Do You See?” to teach proper picture-book terminology and help creators become comfortable discussing visual elements of books such as trim size, orientation, jacket, cover and endpapers.

For information, call Jana Van der Veer at (617) 349-8369 or send email to jvanderv@lesley.edu.

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