» John Fowles Center for Creative Writing

John Fowles headshot2019 Literary Arts Reading Series

Please join us next year for the 2019 Literary Arts Reading Series. See a list of authors below and mark your calendars today. Check back for more exciting news and events happening in the Spring!

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, Nobel Laureates Wole Soyinka and Mario Vargas Llosa; Salman Rushdie; Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Charles Bernstein; Edward Albee; Alain Robbe-Grillet; Maxine Hong Kingston; Raymond Federman; Steve Katz; David Antin; Dacia Maraini; Luisa Valenzuela; Elias Khoury; Erri De Luca; Gioconda Belli; Raúl Zurita; Karen Tei Yamashita; Lucian Dan Teodorovici; Zufikar Ghose; Giuseppe Conte, Isabel Allende, Giorgio Pressburger and Claudio Magris among many others.

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2019 & 2020 Speakers


  • Oct. 28: Marco Nereo Rotelli
  • Nov. 11: Alessandro Baricco - 7 p.m.


  • February 24: Mikhail Shishkin - AF 209A
  • March 30: Yuri Andrukhovych
  • April 27: Andrei Kurkov
  • May 11: Oksana Zabuzhko

All readings (except Feb. 24) are in Beckman Hall 404 at 5 p.m. These events are free and open to the public.

View the campus map.


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.

Over the years, 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.

Past Mantissa Journal Issues

Mantissa: The Journal of JFC

Want to be more involved with the John Fowles Center?

Contact us and learn how!