Phil Klay to Host Fall Inspired Writers Series

Phil Klay to Host Fall Inspired Writers Series

Photo collage of David Philips, Megha Majumdar, Phil Klay, and Kaitlyn Greenidge

(L-R): Kaitlyn Greenidge, David Philips, Megha Majumdar, and Phil Klay

Professor and author Phil Klay will lead the MFA in Creative Writing Program's virtual series of free author talks this fall. The series begins on Thursday, Sept. 16.

On Thursday, September 16 at 7:30 p.m., Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Philipps and Inspired Writers Series host Phil Klay will discuss Philipps’ new book, Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALs. Considered a war hero by some and a war criminal by many of the members of his own platoon, former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher rose to national prominence when Donald Trump pardoned him for his misconduct overseas. Utilizing a large array of sources including interviews, court documents, and contemporary texts and emails, Philipps' book carefully reconstructs the events of Gallagher’s deployment, the debates that raged among the members of his unit, and the disturbing response of their leadership when they came forward with concerns about war crimes. 

On (new date!) Monday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m., Klay will engage in a conversation with Kaitlyn Greenidge titled “The Weight of History and the Search for Freedom.” Hailed by The New York Times as “a feat of monumental thematic imagination” and by Publisher’s Weekly as a “genius work of radical historical fiction,” Whiting-prize winner Greenidge’s Libertie explores the questions of personal freedom, trauma, motherhood, and Black liberation through the story of Libertie Sampson, a Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn whose doctor-mother expects Libertie to follow in her trailblazing path.

On Thursday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m., Megha Majumdar and Klay will speak on the topic of “Politics and Power.” In her universally acclaimed book, A Burning, Majumdar tells the story of the aftermath of a terrorist attack in modern India through the lives of three characters caught up in the subsequent political hysteria. In what The New Yorker’s James Wood declared an “immersive” and “masterly” narrative, Majumdar richly inhabits different voices and perspectives in a tale at once sophisticated about the workings of power and deeply humanistic in its depictions of characters struggling at the margins.

"We have some incredible authors coming up," said Klay, author and professor in Fairfield's MFA program. "Megha and Kaitlyn are some of the most exciting and critically lauded young novelists working today, and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Philips' investigation into the Navy SEALs is an astonishing work of reporting, an engrossing read, and a deeply important analysis of an institution that continues to play an outsized role in the ongoing war on terror." 

As a companion speaker series to the College of Arts and Sciences' MFA program, Inspired Writers Series events are designed to not only provide encouragement and inspiration for writers, but also to inform, entertain, and enlighten any participant with lively discussions from top authors. All events are free and open to the public.

A veteran himself, series host Phil Klay is at the helm of the Fairfield MFA veterans’ community, leading workshops and supporting veteran writers. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province as a public affairs officer before receiving his MFA from Hunter College of The City University of New York. Released this past October by Penguin Press, Missionaries is Klay's debut novel. His short story collection Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award, and Missionaries was chosen by former President Barack Obama as one of his favorite books of 2020, and was also named one of “The 10 Best Books of 2020” by The Wall Street Journal.

For information about the Inspired Writers Series, please visit

Learn more about Phil Klay and MFA Veterans Community

Tags:  Top Stories,  College of Arts & Sciences


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