Fletcher Lecture Series

The 2023 Fletcher Lecture will feature New Orleans, Louisiana-based novelist Maurice Carlos Ruffin on October 12, 2023 at 6 PM in Gouaux Hall, 100 Afton Dr, Thibodaux, LA 70301 on the campus of Nicholls State University.

Ruffin will read from his work, discuss his work as a author, and answer audience questions.

Ruffin is the author of the forthcoming historical novel, The American Daughters, which will be published in 2024. He is the recipient of the 2023 Louisiana Writer Award. He also wrote The Ones Who Don’t Say They head shot portrait of Maurice Carlos RuffinLove You. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize.

A former corporate lawyer and restaurateur, Ruffin is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at Louisiana State University. Ruffin’s work primarily focuses on the lived experiences and history of the diverse Black community of New Orleans where he was born and resides.

MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Kiese Laymon says of Ruffin’s work, “Ruffin, more than any of the greats I read, searches for that idea, that style, that genre we think is impossible to do well, and he makes it look easy. What he is doing in these short stories is breathtaking. They are so singular and so reliant on each other for wholeness.”

For 37 years The Fletcher Lecture Series has brought major writers and literary figures to campus to speak and interact with students. Past Lecturers have included such luminaries as Robert Penn Warren, Ernest J. Gaines, Noel Polk, Lee Smith, Gerald Early, Maxine Hong Kingston, Marianne Robinson, Mona Lisa Saloy, Yuri Herrera, and the filmmaker Behn Zeitlin.

The 2023 recipients of the Linda Stanga Award for Excellence in Literary Studies and the 2023 Noel Toups Award will also be recognized.

This program is funded under a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of either the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

All Fletcher Lecture Series events are FREE and OPEN to the public.

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Past Lecturers:

Robert Penn Warren and Eleanor Clark 1985

Andrew Lytle 1986

Cleanth Brooks 1987

Clyde Edgerton, Hamlin Hill, James Cox, and William Bedford Clark 1988

Lewis P. Simpson 1989

Mary Bess Widden, Nancy Walker, and Jane Curry 1990

Donald E. Stanford 1991

Sybil Kein 1992

Ernest J. Gaines 1993

Edgar Bowers 1994

Kevin L. Cope 1995

X. J. Kennedy 1996

Lee Smith 1997

Fred Chappell 1998

Tim Gautreaux 1999

Noel Polk 2000

Timothy Steele 2001

Shelley Fisher Fishkin 2002

Maxine Hong Kingston 2003

Peggy Prenshaw 2004

Ellen Gilchrist 2006

Randall Kenan 2006

Gerald Early 2007

Sam Pickering Spring 2008

Marilynne Robinson Fall 2009

Olympia Vernon 2010

Darrell Bourque 2011

Joseph Boyden 2012

Benh Zeitlin 2013

Mona Lisa Saloy 2014

Ava Leavell Haymon 2015

Nick Spitzer, 2016

Kate Bernheimer, 2017

Yuri Herrera, 2018

Mary Miller, 2019


Paul Prudhomme

Chris Kerageorgiou and Goffredo Fraccaro

John Folse

Alex Patout

Gerard Thabuis

Frank Brigsten

Andrea Apuzzzo

Marcelle Bienvenu

Enola Prudhomme

Greg and Mary Sonnier

Mike Fennelly

Kevin Graham

Leah Chase

Wayne and Debbie Pierce

Hubert Sandot

Terrell Brunet

Undergraduate Humanities Symposium

The 2023 Humanities Symposium @ Scholars Expeaux will be held on April, 13-14, 2022. Abstracts are due by March 7, 2022. Abstracts can be submitted here.

The Undergraduate Humanities Symposium showcases humanities-based scholarly activities of undergraduates at Nicholls State University. All undergraduate students at Nicholls are eligible to participate. The Symposium is sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. David Middleton, Sigma Tau Delta, the Department of English, Modern Languages, & Cultural Studies, and the Office Sponsored Research.

The Humanities Symposium @ Scholars Expeaux also features screenings of student films and a preview of the upcoming Mosaic issue.

Papers in any area of the humanities–English, History, Art, Art History, Music, Film Studies, as well as the social sciences and education are welcome. Typically papers presented are versions of a paper you’ve written for one of your courses or that you’re in the process of writing.

The Symposium takes place in the spring semester. Nicholls faculty and staff serve as judges and mentors to undergraduate students conducting and presenting their research. Students participating in the Symposium are eligible for awards and the winners attend the Scholars Expeaux Award Ceremony.

The Symposium began in the spring of 2012.

Q: What’s a symposium?

A: A symposium is simply a conference or meeting where people gather to discuss a particular subject. The faculty committee will organize the presentations into panels that share a similar theme or approach.

Q: How long can my presentation be?

A: Your presentation should be 15 minutes long.  That means your reading copy of your paper should be roughly 8 pages long (double spaced).

Q: I’m not sure if I can say everything I need to in 15 minutes.

A: Don’t worry, no one expects you to say everything about a topic in 15 minutes. Moreover, there will a question and answer period during which you can add in things that you didn’t have time to cover.

Q: Can I use a PowerPoint presentation, show images, or movie clips during my presentation?

A: Yes.

Q: Do I have to read my paper as part of my presentation?

A: While presentation styles differ across disciplines and even depending on the personality of the presenter, one common and widely accepted practice among scholars in the humanities is for presenters to read their papers.

Q: Am I eligible for an award if I don’t present?

A: No. To be eligible for an award, you must orally present your paper.

Q: Am I eligible for an award if I don’t submit my paper?

A: No. To be eligible for an award you must submit a paper version of your presentation.

Q: Who should submit an abstract and participate in the Humanities Symposium?

A: Any undergraduate student who has taken a humanities class–Art History, Literature, a modern foreign language, History, etc.

–Any student who might be interested in going to graduate school.

–Any student who might be interested in going to professional school.

Q: Do I need to have my paper written by the time I submit my abstract?

A: No. Many times, scholars will submit an abstract for a paper they have yet to write. Think of an abstract as an outline or as a proposal. Your paper doesn’t have to 100% match your abstract; as long as it is on the same general topic you’ll be fine.

Q: Does it cost anything to participate in the Humanities Symposium?

A: No and in fact you could win money via one of the awards.

Q: Can I submit my paper as part of a pre-formed panel consisting of three or four other papers?

A: Yes. Many times, scholars collaborate and submit an abstract for a pre-formed panel of three or four papers.


Department of Languages and Literature

Office Location:
251 Peltier Hall
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2023
Thibodaux, LA 70310
Phone: 985-448-4453
Fax: 985-449-7110


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