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»John Fowles Center for Creative Writing

The John Fowles Center for Creative Writing serves to promote and advance the discipline of creative writing in all its aspects: fiction, poetry, drama, creative non-fiction and film.

The Center offers students and non-students alike an opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for the "written word" and those who write it. Each year a distinguished group of national and international writers is invited to Chapman University, making these writers available not only to the Chapman community, but to the Orange County and, by extension, the Southern California community as well.

Now into its second decade, The John Fowles Center for Creative Writing has invited to Chapman such national and international writers as: Salman Rushdie, Luisa Valenzuela, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gioconda Belli, Alicia Partnoy, Raymond Federman, Steve Katz, Ronald Sukenick, Raúl Zurita, Elizabeth George, Ralph Berry, David Matlin, Charles Bernstein, Larry McCaffery, Alicia Kozameh, Fanny Howe, David Antin, and Willis Barnstone.

+-2014 - 2015 Speakers

Oct. 13, 2014: Lan Cao - Argyros Forum, 209 A

Nov. 3, 2014: Ilona Ziok - Argyros Forum, 209 C

Feb. 16, 2015: Ajla Terzic

Feb. 19, 2015: Dacia Maraini - location TBD

Mar. 2, 2015: Muharem Bazdulj

Mar. 30, 2015: Tibor Fischer

Apr. 6, 2015: Kenan Trebincevic

Apr. 13, 2015: Giorgio Pressburger

All of these events are free and open to the public. Readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Henley Reading Room/Leatherby Libraries (unless otherwise specified above).

+-2013 Speakers

Below is a list of 2012-2013 John Fowles Center Literary Forum authors/speakers:

  • Feb. 25: MIGUEL SYJUCO
  • Apr. 01: ANDREW LAM
  • Apr. 22: DAVID MATLIN


While on a sabbatical in 1996 at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, Dr. Mark Axelrod met a professor who had established the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies. One of the Center's distinguishing features was that it invited national and international writers to speak while they happened to be in the UK.

Coincidentally, UEA was looking for other institutions that might have an interest in being part of a consortium to run John Fowles estate as a writers’ retreat after he died. Dr. Axelrod, having known Fowles a decade earlier through some correspondence, agreed to meet with Fowles to discuss the possibility of Chapman joining the consortium.

Dr. Axelrod traveled to Fowles’ estate in Lyme Regis where they discussed future plans; during the conversations, Dr. Axelrod seized the opportunity to ask Fowles if he would be willing to attach his name to a center at Chapman similar to the one at UEA.

John Fowles replied, “If it would be helpful to promote creative writing for students, then by all means.”  And so the John Fowles Center for Creative Writing was born.

During its twelve-year history, the JFC has invited some of the most distinguished writers in the world including Salman Rushdie, Luisa Valenzuela, Lawerence Ferlinghetti, John Ashbery, Gioconda Belli, Alicia Partnoy, Alicia Kozameh, Hiber Conteris, Raymond Federman, Steve Katz, Ronald Sukenick, Raúl Zurita, Elizabeth George, David Matlin, Laurie Stone, Charles Bernstein, Larry McCaffery, Willis Barnstone, Dacia Maraini, Francesca Duranti, Giuseppe Conte and many more. Not only has it become a Chapman University institution, but it has gained regional, national and international notoriety and has become a draw for students and community alike.

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