Featured Events

Hands reached into a huddle


Multicultural Alumni Weekend
November 10 - 11
Grinnell, IA


Grinnell-in-London Reception
6:30 - 9 p.m.
The Groucho Club


20th Gathering at the Berghoff
6 - 9:30 p.m.
Chicago, IL

See all events >>

News from Campus

Alumni News
Writers@Grinnell: Carmen Machado and Alissa Nutting

Carmen Maria Machado is the author of the story collection Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press), which is currently shortlisted for the 2017 National Book Award in fiction. Her memoir House in Indiana is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2019. She is a fiction writer, critic, and essayist whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Guernica, Electric Literature, AGNI, NPR, Gulf Coast, Los Angeles Review of Books, VICE, and elsewhere. Her stories have been reprinted in Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best Horror of the Year, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and Best Women’s Erotica. She was named as a "Writer to Watch" for Fall 2017 by Publisher's Weekly. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Michener-Copernicus Foundation, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the CINTAS Foundation, the Speculative Literature Foundation, the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, the University of Iowa, the Yaddo Corporation, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is the Artist in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.  

Grinnell College assistant professor Alissa Nutting is the author of three books, including Made for Love, which was published in July 2017 by Ecco Press/HarperCollins. Along with her writing partner Dean Bakopoulos, she is currently developing a television series based on the novel for Paramount. Her story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls will be reissued by Ecco in Summer 2018, as part of its Art of the Story series, and Ecco will publish her collection of nonfiction essays in 2019.

Special Campus Memo: Grinnell Prize Week Events

Sept. 27, 2017

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, I will award the $100,000  Grinnell College Innovator in Social Justice Prize to Gina L. Clayton, an attorney, activist and advocate for women. She founded and directs the Essie Justice Group, an organization that supports women with incarcerated loved ones and helps the women mobilize to advocate for reform of the criminal justice system.

Gina Clayton's innovative work supports the one in four women and nearly one in two black women who have a family member in prison. "Essie is about sisterhood because our hypothesis is that sisterhood creates change," Clayton says. "In our healing-to-advocacy model, which was built by women with incarcerated loved ones for women with incarcerated loved ones, we focus on three pillars: advocating for self, advocating for family, and then advocating for community."

The award ceremony, keynote, and lunch will take place in room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. Throughout Prize Week, Oct. 2-5, students, faculty, staff and guests will have the opportunity to interact with Clayton and learn about best practices in designing, organizing, and implementing initiatives that address social justice issues facing our world today.

A complete list of events during Grinnell Prize Week follows.

Monday, Oct. 2, Rosenfield Center, Room 101:

  • Alumni Panel Discussion: Careers that Intersect with the Industrial Prison Complex from noon-1 p.m. Alumni panelists represent a broad cross-section of fields (law, social work, theater, museums, education) that intersect with the prison industrial complex. Panelists will discuss their career paths, their work, and the social justice issues they both witness and are addressing through the various aspects of their careers. Lunch will be served.

  • Grinnell Prize Retrospective Reception from 4:15-5:15 p.m. Since 2011 the College has awarded the Grinnell Prize to 20 deserving individuals who have worked with 14 different social innovation organizations. Come learn what our past prize winners are now doing! Hors d'oeuvres will be served.

  • Panel Discussion: Grinnell Liberal Arts in Prison Program from 7:30-9 p.m. will feature formerly incarcerated students, along with Emily Guenther '07, director of the Prison Program, and Clark Lindgren, professor of biology, all of whom will discuss their experiences with the program.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, Rosenfield Center, Room 101

  • Grinnell Prize Award Ceremony and Keynote Address by Clayton from 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Lunch will be served.

  • Panel Discussion: The Power of Our Stories: Achieving Mental Health and Criminal Justice Transformation Through Women's Advocacy from 7:30-9 p.m. with Clayton and representatives from the Essie Justice Group, as well as Tammy Nyden, associate professor of philosophy, Dionne Benson-Smith and representatives from Mothers on the Frontline will discuss the power and perils of uplifting the experiences of women in advocacy work. Panelists will explore the significance of bringing women's stories into stigma-laden public debates, through a focus on advocacy at the intersection of mental health and incarceration.

Wednesday, Oct. 4, various locations:

  • Workshop: Gender, Patriarchy and State Control in the Age of Mass Incarceration with Clayton from 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101. This conversation with founder and executive director of Essie Justice Group, Gina Clayton, will explore the intersections of patriarchy and the rise of the prison industrial complex. The session will engage students in a conversation about the historical and present day forms of state control experienced by people who do not identify as men, present a new analysis, and discuss observations of intersectionality in the decarceration movement. Lunch will be served. RSVP required: noltonvi[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

  • Coffee with Clayton from 3-4:30 p.m. at Saint's Rest Coffee Shop.

  • Workshop: Building Power from the Margins: Strategic and Principled Community Organizing with Clayton from 7:30-9 p.m. in the Digital Liberal Arts Lab. This workshop will provide students with a primer on fundamental community organizing principles and examine how they translate into scalable social change strategy. Specifically, Gina Clayton and Essie Justice Group member leaders will share the origins and application of their award-winning nominations recruitment model and examine primary challenges and opportunities faced by base-building organizations today. RSVP required: noltonvi[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

Thursday, Oct. 5, Rosenfield Center, Room 101:

  • Kickoff and Community Panel: Collaborations in Social Innovation - SPARK, a Community-Based Social Innovation Challenge from 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Whale Room of the Dining Hall. Sponsored by the Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership, this year's challenge focuses on poverty-related issues. RSVP required for those who do not have a Grinnell College meal plan.

The Grinnell Prize reflects the College's longstanding commitment to educating individuals who will make the world a better place. I hope all of our students benefit greatly from interacting with this year's Grinnell Prize recipient in classrooms and informal settings.

Raynard S. Kington


Special Campus Memo: Title IX

Sept. 22, 2017

Today the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) issued a notice to inform colleges and universities that the department has rescinded two pieces of Title IX guidance and has replaced them with new interim guidance. While the interim guidance gives colleges the discretion to use a "clear and convincing" standard of evidence, Grinnell will continue to use our "preponderance of the evidence" or more-likely-than-not standard as defined in the Grinnell College Policy, Procedures and Guide to Preventing, Reporting, and Responding to Sexual Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence.

The work the College has done to prevent and respond to reports of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment has positioned us well for the future. We remain committed to responding promptly and equitably when we learn of possible sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. We will continue to use an outside investigator and a third-party adjudicator for student cases. We also will continue to provide remedies and support measures for both complainants and respondents. The new guidance states that colleges may facilitate informal resolutions, including mediation, and we are looking into the implications of this change. At this time we do not believe the announcement will affect our policies and procedures. Should any changes be required by the DOE, we will inform the campus community. Meanwhile, we have more work to do and our Title IX work will continue. We are grateful for the many, many individuals who work to support our community and foster a safe learning environment for all Grinnellians.

Grinnell's Sexual Respect website provides information about the Title IX policies, procedures, and resources available to our community.

As always, we encourage College community members to contact the Title IX Office (titleix[at]grinnell[dot]edu or call 641-269-4999) if you have questions or concerns, or are seeking support.

Title IX Office

Writers@Grinnell: Kiese Laymon & Dwayne Betts

Award winning authors Kiese Laymon and Dwayne Betts will read from their work and discuss writing on Thursday, September 28, as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield 25 Center (JRC) room 101.

In addition, a conversation with Kiese Laymon and Dwayne Betts will be held at 4:15 p.m. in JRC 101.

Kiese Laymon is currently a Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony, and Guernica. He is a contributing editor of Oxford American. Three essays in How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America have been included in the Best American series, the Best of Net award, and the Atlantic's Best Essays of 2013. He was selected a member of the Root 100 in 2013 and 2014 and Ebony Magazine Power 100 in 2015.

Reginald Dwayne Betts, is a poet, memoirist, Yale law graduate, and activist. He is the author of three books: the recently published Bastards of the Reagan Era, the 2010 NAACP Image Award winning memoir, A Question of Freedom, and the poetry collection, Shahid Reads His Own Palm. Dwayne is currently enrolled in the PhD in Law Program at the Yale Law School. He has earned a J.D. from the Yale Law School, an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College’s M.F.A. Program for Writers, and a B.A. from the University of Maryland and served on a presidential advisory board during the Obama administration.

Writers@Grinnell: Jamaal May and Tarfia Faizullah

The Saadi Simawe Memorial Reading will be given by award winning poets, Jamaal May and Tarfia Faizullah  on Thursday, October 5th as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in the Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

In addition, May and Faizullah will lead a roundtable discussion, which is free and open to the public, at 4:15 p.m., also in the Faulconer Gallery.

Jamaal May is the author of Hum (Alice James Books, 2013) and The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books, 2016). His first collection received a Lannan Foundation Grant, American Library Association’s Notable Book Award, and was named a finalist for the Tufts Discovery Award and an NAACP Image Award. Jamaal’s other honors include a Spirit of Detroit Award, the Wood Prize from Poetry, an Indiana Review Prize, and fellowships from The Stadler Center, The Kenyon Review, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. Jamaal May’s poetry explores the tension between opposites to render a sonically rich argument for the interconnectivity of people, worlds, and ideas. He co-directs OW! Arts with Tarfia Faizullah.

Bangladeshi American poet Tarfia Faizullah grew up in Midland, Texas. She earned an MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University program in creative writing. Her first book, Seam (2014), won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Focused around a long sequence “Interview with a Birangona,” the book explores the ethics of interviewing as well as the history of the birangona, Bangladeshi women raped by Pakistani soldiers during the Liberation War of 1971. Faizullah received a Fulbright award to travel to Bangladesh and interview the birangona. Faizullah lives in Detroit where she teaches at the University of Michigan. Her second book is Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf Press, 2018).

This event is dedicated to the memory of Saadi Simawe...

Saadi Simawe joined Grinnell’s English department in 1992. He gained tenure in 2000, went on to SFS in 2008, and transferred to emeritus status in 2012. His Ph.D. was awarded by the University of Iowa and his teaching and research interests included Arabic language and literature, Middle Eastern literatures, and the study of literary interconnections between the West and the Islamic East. From 1994 to 1998, he was director of the Grinnell Writers’ Conference, inviting significant authors to come to Grinnell to read from their work. He convened a Race and Ethnicity Reading Group of faculty members, and helped plan a number of symposia at the College.

In addition to teaching and service to the College, Simawe taught at Nanjing University as part of the Grinnell-Nanjing exchange and was a Fulbright teacher-scholar at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. He specialized in African-American literature and maintained a keen scholarly interest in the constructions and expressions of blackness in Arabic literature. He brought this into his classes, introducing in his African-American literature courses elements from Arabic and Islamic literature and Grinnell recognized his scholarship with a Rosenbloom Award for Interdisciplinary Study of the Arts in 1999. In 2000, he published Black Orpheus: Music in African American Fiction from the Harlem Renaissance to Toni Morrison. He also published widely on Arabic literature.

A native of Iraq, Simawe was imprisoned as a dissident under the Saddam Hussein regime during the 1970s. He came to the United States for graduate studies and never returned to Iraq. After becoming a U.S. citizen, he frequently traveled abroad to maintain a close network with the Iraqi diaspora. He was well known as a sensitive translator and an advocate for Arabic literature, particularly Iraqi art and literature.

Simawe was highly regarded by early career faculty at Grinnell as an excellent and thoughtful mentor. A scholar whose body of work bridged cultures, he was known to deploy a formidable wit and a wonderful sense of language to confront the sorrows of history. Regarded by all as a lovely, gentle man with a soaring heart and quiet sense of humor, he will be missed by his faculty colleagues, his students, and the many writers who knew him.

See all news »

Support Grinnell

Seize the opportunity. Make your gift today.

Grinnell College Street Banner