Bernheim Writers in Residence Update

By Martha Slaughter

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is very pleased to announce that Jen Percy and DA Powell will be residing at Bernheim during the coming year.

la-la-ca-0120-jennifer-percy-002-jpg-20140122Jen Percy ( will be living and working at Bernheim from May 1st – May 17th, 2015.  Jen Percy is the author of the nonfiction book DEMON CAMP (Scribner) which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick and a New York Times Notable Book of 2014.

Percy graduated from Middlebury College with a BA in English and Environmental Studies and two MFA’s from the University of Iowa in fiction and nonfiction. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, Percy is also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, an Iowa Arts Fellowship at the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, and a Truman Capote Fellowship at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has also received a David Relin Prize in Fiction and a William Raney Scholarship in Nonfiction from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She writes for the New York Times, Harper’s, The Oxford American, and The New Republic. She teaches writing at New York University.

While in residence there will be two readings by Jen Percy. One will take place at the Bernheim Visitor Center at Bernheim, Sunday, May 3rd, from 3-4:30, followed by an informal reception. A second reading will take place in Louisville on Friday, May 8, at 7 PM, at The Bard’s Town (1801 Bardstown Rd.) as part of the InKY Reading Series, sponsored by Louisville Literary Arts, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest and Sarabande Books.


DA Powell photo 3DA Powell ( is a poet from San Francisco who will be staying and working at Bernheim from October 1-October 31, 2015.

DA. Powell was born in Albany, Georgia, on May 16, 1963. He attended Sonoma State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1991, and his master’s in 1993. He received his M.F.A. degree from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 1996. Powell is the author of the trilogy of books Tea (Wesleyan, 1998), Lunch (2000), and Cocktails (Graywolf, 2004)—which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poetry collection Chronic (2009) received the Kingsley Tufts Award and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent book is Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys: Poems (2012).

His subjects range from movies, art, and other trappings of contemporary culture to the AIDS pandemic. Powell’s work often returns to AIDS, and his first three collections have been called a trilogy about the disease. As Carl Phillips wrote, in his judge’s note for Boston Review’s Annual Poetry Award, of Powell’s work, “No fear, here, of heritage nor of music nor, refreshingly, of authority. Mr. Powell recognizes in the contemporary the latest manifestations of a much older tradition: namely, what it is to be human.”

Powell has received a Paul Engle Fellowship from the James Michener Center, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America, among other awards. He has taught at Columbia University, the University of Iowa, Sonoma State University, San Francisco State University, and served as the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Poetry at Harvard University. He currently teaches at the University of San Francisco. While at Bernheim Powell plans on observing the change of seasons and hopes to see the peak of Kentucky’s fall foliage. The dates and locations of Powell’s public readings will be announced.


The Bernheim Writing Residency was established in 2013 as collaborative partnership between Sarabande Books, The Baltic Writers Residency and Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.

Participants in the summer residency spend two to six weeks at Bernheim Forest, an idyllic 14,000-acre nature preserve near Louisville, Kentucky. Each resident lives in a private, fully-equipped cottage on the grounds and enjoys access to Bernheim’s extensive forest, gardens and arboretum. Residents offer a public reading or discussion during their tenure and may devote the rest of their time to writing in a pristine, natural setting.

The application period for the 2016 summer residency will open in the fall of 2015. See for more details.







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