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Plan II Honors

Joynes Reading Room Literary Speaker Series

2018-2019 Speaker Series 

Unless noted otherwise, all talks take place at 7 p.m. in the Joynes Reading Room; all are free and open to the public.  For more information, call 512-471-5787 or write

March 11: novelist Andrea Lawlor
In a New York Times article celebrating the popular success of new literature by trans authors, Peter Haldeman wrote that Andrea Lawlor’s debut novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, “literally embodies the notion that gender is fluid rather than binary.” The protagonist, who has the ability to change genders at will, is “the kind of mythical creature that readers usually encounter in works such as Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” according to Michael Valinsky in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Lawlor will read from the book, discuss its themes, and answer questions from the audience.

Check back soon for additional info on these upcoming speakers:

April 1: documentary filmmaker Bahman Maghsoudlou

April 4: novelist Kendra Fortmeyer

April 15: poet Jericho Brown

May 1: novelist Lance Olsen

Earlier Spring Speakers:

January 31: poets Jennifer Chang and Henk Rossouw
On Thursday night, January 31, the Plan II Honors Program and UT’s New Writers Project will host a public reading for visiting poets Jennifer Chang and Henk Rossouw. This event is free and open to the public, and will take place in the Joynes Reading Room (CRD 007) in the Carothers Building at 2501 Whitis Avenue on the UT campus. The event will start promptly at 7 p.m. No RSVP is required.

Jennifer Chang is the author of The History of Anonymity and Some Say the Lark, which was long-listed for the PEN Open Book Award and won the 2018 William Carlos Williams Award. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Poetry, and A Public Space, and her essays have appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, New England Review, New Literary History and The Volta. An associate professor of English at George Washington University, she co-chairs the advisory of Kundiman and will be the visiting poet at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program this Spring. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her family. 

Henk Rossouw is from Cape Town, South Africa. His 2018 book-length poem, Xamissa, won the Poets Out Loud Editor’s Prize. Rossouw teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 

February 13: philosophy scholar Paul Woodruff
Eros Philosophos
Will falling in love make you a better philosopher? Plato says yes, but only if you are a very special person. Will falling for philosophy make you a better lover? Same answer from Plato. In this talk, Dr. Woodruff will ask how wisdom and love are connected, discuss Plato's answer, and suggest his own.

Professor Woodruff has authored several books of original philosophy and scholarship; and has translated classical texts, including Plato's Symposium. He served as director of the Plan II Program for 15 years, and was UT Austin's inaugural dean of Undergraduate Studies. is a professor of philosophy and was director of the Plan II Honors Program for 15 years. This event will be free and open to the public. The Joynes Reading Room (CRD 007) is located in the Carothers Building at 2501 Whitis Avenue on the UT Austin campus. The event will start promptly at 7 p.m. No RSVP is required.

February 19: Texas Warrior Chorus
7:30 p.m. 
The Warrior Chorus is a veterans’ organization that presents stories in words, images sounds, movements and artworks about the what veterans and their families go through. Members of the chorus spent ten weeks last summer studying ancient Greek texts relating to the experience of war communally and publicly performed in Homeric epics and ancient Athenian drama. To learn more about the Warrior Chorus, visit this blog by Tamar Price. The Texas Warrior Chorus is one of three nodes nationally, under the direction and sponsorship of the Aquila Theatre at NYU, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the UT Austin Department of Classics and the Armstrong Centennial Professorship in the UT College of Liberal Arts. Contact Academic Advisor Tom Palaima ( or Veteran Director Bart Pitchford ( for more information.  Texas author and Vietnam veteran Ovidio Garcia (My War, My Art MCM Books 2019) will be guest commentator.

February 28: legal scholar Mary-Rose Papandrea
Mary-Rose Papandrea is the Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a guest of the Plan II Program and the UT First Amendment Scholars Program, Professor Papandrea will present a public lecture on “The Free Speech Rights of UniversityStudents” at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 28th, in the Joynes Reading Room. This event is free and open to the public.

March 5: neuroscientist Norman Doidge


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