Marygrove is proud to be entering the fourth decade of the Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series. From the great Gloria Naylor in 1989 to National Slam Champion Elizabeth Acevedo in 2019, Marygrove has brought significant African American authors to the attention of thousands in the Metro Detroit community.

Marygrove is thrilled to introduce Detroiters to the work of Roxane Gay as our 32nd Contemporary American Author. This is the most exciting way to enter a new decade of our signature event in the city of Detroit. Gay is one of today’s most talked-about writers because her work is edgy and thought-provoking on current issues involving feminism, race, gender, popular culture.


This series at Marygrove is an annual event bringing a nationally-known author to our campus for a public lecture and seminar with students. It began when the late Frederick P. Currier, a former Marygrove College trustee, attended a reception on campus and remarked that he would like to bring a national writer to Marygrove for a weekend. Mr. Currier's start-up check soon followed his suggestion, and in 1989 nearly 600 guests of the College heard Gloria Naylor inaugurate the series.


The Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series and Defining Detroit, a program of Marygrove's Institute for Detroit Studies, have brought to Detroit audiences the recipients of eleven MacArthur "Genius" Grants, nine National Book Awards, six Pulitzer Prizes, eight Guggenheim Fellowships, five Pushcart Prizes, three Emmy Awards, and one Man Booker Prize. In addition, the two series have welcomed three U.S. Poets Laureate and one Presidential Inaugural Poet.


Since then, through the generous support of corporate donors, foundations, advertisers, friends, alumni, the Marygrove College Board of Trustees, and the Lillian and Donald Bauder Endowment, we have been able to keep the Authors Lecture Series free and accessible to the entire metropolitan Detroit community. To date, nearly 8,500 people have joined us at the Friday night public reading to hear outstanding writers share their work. The Friday evening reading/lecture is followed by a reception and book signing.