Warren Baird English Symposium Series - Kingswood Oxford

Warren Baird English Symposium Series

Tayari Jones, Symposium author visit at Kingswood Oxford in West Hartford

Welcoming our greatest Writers, Poets, & Playwrights –

an Extraordinary Opportunity


Founded in 1983 by Warren Baird (then chair of the English department), the one-of-a-kind Baird English Symposium has welcomed some of the nation’s greatest writers, poets, and playwrights, including Arthur Miller, John Updike, Jane Smiley, William Styron, Tony Kushner, Joyce Carol Oates, Edward Albee, and others.


Each spring, the selected author visits campus for a reading and various student-centered events. To prepare, students in all grade levels read at least one work by the visiting writer. Students in a Senior Seminar class study the author’s work exclusively. Prior to the Symposium, they visit all other English classes and teach students about the author’s life and work.


On the day of the Warren Baird English Symposium, the visiting author:

  • Addresses the Upper School and Middle School in separate assemblies

  • Eats lunch with students nominated by their English teachers

  • Presides over an open class, providing students the opportunity to ask questions about his or her work and life as a writer

  • Performs an evening reading (following dinner) for members of the KO community, along with English teachers from public, parochial, and independent schools in the Greater Hartford area

Author Tayari Jones visits Kingswood Oxford

A Look Back…




  • Tayari Jones, writer

  • Tracy K. Smith, poet and U.S. Poet Laureate

  • Min Jin Lee, writer

  • Sarah Ruhl, playwright, writer

  • Colson Whitehead, writer

  • Peter Heller, writer & journalist

  • Elizabeth Strout, writer

  • Gish Jen, writer

  • Jennifer Egan, writer

  • Sherman Alexie, writer

  • Tony Kushner, playwright

  • Jonathan Safran Foer, writer

  • Nick Hornby, writer

  • Julia Alvarez, writer

  • Stewart O’Nan, writer

  • Bharati Mukherjee, writer

  • Peter Matthiessen, writer

  • Tim O’Brien, writer

  • John Updike, writer

  • Ann Beattie, writer

  • Richard Ford, writer

  • Galway Kinnell, poet & writer

  • Tobias Wolff, short story writer

  • Jane Smiley, writer

  • Donald Hall, poet & essayist

  • Marge Piercy, poet & writer
  • John Edgar Wideman, writer
  • Arthur Miller, playwright
  • Michael Dorris, writer
  • Gwendolyn Brooks, poet
  • William Styron, writer
  • Alice Childress, writer
  • William Kennedy, writer
  • Joyce Carol Oates, writer
  • Edward Albee, playwright
  • Richard Wilbur, poet & U.S. Poet Laureate
  • Stephen Donaldson, writer
  • Budd Schulberg, screenwriter
  • Kenneth Koch, poet
  • E.L. Doctorow, writer



Min Jin LeeOn Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, Kingswood Oxford was thrilled to virtually welcome the National Book Award-nominated writer Min Jin Lee, author of two bestselling novels, Pachinko (2017) and Free Food For Millionaires (2007).  

During these assemblies, Ms. Lee gave a brief talk, read from one of her works, and engaged in a Q&A session moderated by Symposium students. Below are recordings of both the Middle School and Upper School assemblies she presented a talk and reading. An incredibly powerful and engaging speaker, Lee exhorted students to be the change. “The world needs your attention,” she said. “If you pay careful attention, you will have what you need to make good decisions, to make good relationships, and you will be able to create good things that you hold dear to your heart.” 


Middle School Recording

Upper School Recording

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Founding year for the Sympoisum

U.S. Poet Laureate

Tracy K. Smith visited campus in 2022

Min Jin Lee

2021 writer was National Book Award-nominated


All students read at least one work by the writer