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What is the Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Lecture?

The Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Lecture is a biennial lecture series that honors the recipient of the Maxine Cushing Gray Visiting Writer Fellow. This highly anticipated event typically occurs in late fall. Our next lecture will be Fall 2022. We expect to announce our next awardee in Spring 2022.

Susan Orlean event photo

2020 Maxine Cushing Gray Visiting Writing Fellow, Susan Orlean, presented on Zoom on Oct. 28th, 2020.

What is the Maxine Cushing Gray Visiting Writers Fellowship?

The Maxine Cushing Gray Endowed Libraries Visiting Writers Fellowship was established in 1985 at The Seattle Foundation by friends and admirers of the late Maxine Cushing Gray. The fellowship was established to honor her wide-ranging contributions and to recognize future generations of established writers of exceptional merit. The fellowship includes a one-time monetary award honoring a Northwest writer of notable achievement. In 2004 the fund was moved to the UW Libraries.

Founding members of the Endowment are R.M. Campbell, Meade Emory and Judith A. Whetzel.

Make an online gift to The Maxine Cushing Gray Endowed Libraries Visiting Writers Fellowship

Who was Maxine Cushing Gray?

Black and white photo of person walking outside.

Maxine Cushing Gray was a prominent Northwest critic and editor for nearly 40 years. Gray worked tirelessly to see that all artists, as well as writers, were given just recognition and financial compensation for their work. As a music and dance critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Argus, and founding editor/publisher of Northwest Arts, she not only nurtured the development of artists in the Northwest, but often acted as their conscience. She sought to keep all public bodies accountable and was an advocate for artists seeking an individual voice. She set standards of criticism, fought acceptance of the mediocre and encouraged the young. We are proud to have her extensive papers here at the University of Washington Libraries for students, scholars and community users.

This biennial fellowship is awarded to an established poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist or critic, who is a writer of sustained achievement and whose intent is serious and talent noteworthy with roots in the Pacific Northwest.


Past Awardees

2018 Fellow, Yussef El Guindi,meets with students after his lecture.

2018 Fellow, Yussef El Guindi, meets with students after his lecture.

2020      Susan Orlean
2018      Yussef El Guindi
2016      Barry Lopez
2014      Heather McHugh
2012      Timothy Egan
2010       Charles R. Johnson
2008      Madeline DeFrees
2007      David Laskin
2006      Robert Schenkkan

Seattle Foundation awardees through 2005

Murray Morgan
David Wagoner
Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher (joint award)
Ivan Doig
Jonathan Raban
Denise Levertov
Dick Dunn
Shawn Wong