College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute

College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute serving the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University (LAI) is a unique organization, founded in 1997, to foster creative writing, publishing, and interaction between students and writers. LAI brings nationally recognized authors to the college for a visiting writers series (Writers Writing), promotes literary events, holds conferences (Inside Books), supports publications (S. Mariella Gable Prize), and encourages the artistry of fine letterpress (Welle Book Arts Studio). With its local and national partners, such as Graywolf Press, LAI is able to bring writers and their work together with readers on campus, in Minnesota, and beyond.

Joyce Carol Oates Public Reading: February 19, 7:00 p.m. Escher Auditorium, The Benedicta Arts Center

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of multiple best-selling novels and critically-acclaimed collections of short fiction, as well as essays, plays, poetry, and a memoir.  Writing in The Nation, critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. said, “A future archeologist equipped only with her oeuvre could easily piece together the whole of postwar America.” 

She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  In 2010, President Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal.





Spencer Reece Poetry Reading: March 26, 7:00 p.m. Upper Gorecki
An additional documentary viewing March 25, 7:00 p.m. Upper Gorecki

Spencer Reece is an ordained Episcopalian priest and currently works as a chaplain in Spain.  His first poetry book, The Clerk’s Tale (2004), was chosen for the Bakeless Poetry Prize by Louise Glück, and later adapted into a short film produced by James Franco.  His poetry collection, The Road to Emmaus (2013), was nominated for the National Book Award.

From 2012-2013 Reece taught poetry in a Honduran orphanage, and compiled and published a book of his students’ poems: Counting Time Like People Count Stars: Poems by the Girls of Little Roses, San Pedro Sula, Honduras (2017). Reece’s experiences with these students was also filmed and produced into a documentary: Voices Beyond the Wall: Twelve Love Poems from the Murder Capital of the World.



Jamel Brinkley, the 2018 CSB/SJU Mariella Gable Award recipient, is a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in Fiction. His book, A Lucky Man, is a collection of nine stories that the New Yorker called “a trenchant exploration of race and class, vividly conveying the tension between social codes of masculinity and the vulnerable, volatile self." Congratulations Jamel!

Mary Dana Hinton, CSB President

"The written word has come under tremendous pressure in this digital era. Our students now must move deftly between virtual and physical texts, between brief, fleeting messages and powerful, enduring literature. Writing has been at the center of the liberal arts tradition at the College of Saint Benedict since our founding and we remain committed to educating students in the twin arts of reading and writing...The Literary Arts Institute stands as a vital expression of our century-long history of promoting the very finest in scholarship and the arts."