The Archive’s Blackburn Literary Festival

About the Archive’s Blackburn Literary Festival

Every year, the Archive Literary Festival brings nationally acclaimed authors to Duke University and hosts local writers and faculty members for public readings. With past speakers including Bernard Malamud, Richard Eberhart, James Wright, W.D. Snodgrass, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Heller, and Eudora Welty, the Festival has succeeded in bringing a myriad of talents to the University. More recently, such acclaimed poets, novelists, and essayists as Colum McCann, Jonathon Safran Foer, Michael Ondaatje, Sharon Olds, Joyce Carol Oates, Ron Hansen, W.S. Merwin, Don DeLillo, Michael Cunningham, Margaret Atwood, and Alice Walker have read excerpts from their work for Duke students and members of the community. As its history suggests, the Archive Literary Festival is Duke’s premier forum for the celebration of all types of literature.


The Archive Literary Festival is designed to foster and encourage appreciation and discussion of literature in its many forms and functions. The Festival serves as a forum for discussion and appreciation of different modalities of literary expression amongst Duke students and faculty and the local community.

The Archive’s Blackburn Literary Festival at Duke University has a rich and distinguished history. Established in 1959 by Professor William Blackburn, the Festival began as a series of student-run literary gatherings aimed at making literature more accessible to Duke students. The Festival was originally named after The Archive, Duke’s literary magazine (the second-oldest such publication in the country), and, in its first year, hosted writers William Styron and Randall Jarrell. In honor of its founding professor, the festival changed its name 1969, remaining The Blackburn Literary Festival through 2005, when it readopted its original title. Today, the Archive Festival tradition continues, sharing and cultivating a passion for literature throughout the entire Duke community.

Past Festivals

2015 Archive Blackburn Literary Festival (March 2, 2015)

2014 Archive Blackburn Literary Festival (January 30, 2014)

2012 Archive Literary Festival (April 17-19, 2012)

2011 Archive Literary Festival (April 6, 2011)

2010 Archive Literary Festival (April 12-21, 2010)

2009 Archive Literary Festival (April 4-7, 2009)

2007 Archive Literary Festival (March 5 – April 12, 2007)

2006 Archive Literary Festival (February 21 – April 13, 2006)

2004 Blackburn Literary Festival (February 5 – April 9, 2004)

2003 Blackburn Literary Festival (February 27 – March 4, 2003)

2002 Blackburn Literary Festival (April 8-19, 2002)

2001 Blackburn Literary Festival (February 22 – March 8, 2001)

2000 Blackburn Literary Festival (April 5-16, 2000)

1999 Blackburn Literary Festival (March 26-27, 1999)

1998 Blackburn Literary Festival (March 2-11, 1998)

1997 Blackburn Literary Festival (March 31 – April 25, 1997)

1994 Blackburn Literary Festival (March 22, 1994)

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The Literary Magazine of Duke University

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