Voices of the Rainbow: Celebrating the Oral Tradition

Since 1993, the English Department at LIU Brooklyn has hosted this series of over 300 poetry and fiction readings by both established writers and emerging talents, from Brooklyn and around the world. These have included a Nobel Prize winner (Derek Walcott) and several Pulitzer Prize winners (Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Muldoon, Junot Diaz, Tracy K. Smith, Gregory Pardlo) as well as many other well-renowned writers (see scrolling list of past readings at the bottom of this page).

Each event in the series has welcomed at least one full LIU Brooklyn class to the audience, but audience size at our events has averaged over 50 listeners and sometimes even exceeded 100. For a time, the series also hosted readings for students and faculty at LIU Brooklyn's now-shuttered extension campus sites in Bushwick and East New York. All readings have been free and open to the public. Over the series' quarter century run, the writers we've welcomed to campus have shared work with thousands of LIU students as well as guests from the surrounding community. 

Largely funded by the Provost's Office and the Office of the Dean of Conolly College, events have been presented in collaboration with other departments and programs, including the Department of Teaching and Learning, the Department of Foreign Languages & Literature, the Creative Writing MFA Program, Honors College, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, and the Gender Studies Program. The series has also received funding support from NYSCA.

Unfortunately, reduced funding support and delayed payment by the university of stipends to the writers have made it harder and harder in recent years to keep the series going. 

As a result, in Spring 2018, after 25 wonderful years, we will be co-sponsoring our final reading, by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa.

Watch The Longest Island for information about the next event. You will also find Voices of the Rainbow events listed in the calendar on our LibraryThing venue page.

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