Les Bailey Writers Series

Past events

An evening with acclaimed author Brian Doyle

"Grace under duress, stories as food, laughter as a weapon against the dark, courage when it doesn't make any sense, and minor further discussion of basketball, writers, hawks, headlong children, the prevalence of miracles, and thorny holiness."

About Les Bailey and the Les Bailey Endowment


For more information on the series, please contact Olivia Archibald.

Les Bailey Writers Series

Department overviewEnglish (M., m.)Writing (m.) Les Bailey Writers Series Sigma Tau Delta

The Les Bailey Writers Series is a part of the Leslie G. Bailey Endowment, created in honor of beloved Saint Martin’s University English Professor Les Bailey (1942-2010).

The intention of this annual event is to bring writers and authors of note to campus to read and discuss their books, a practice that was an especially meaningful part of Professor Bailey’s teaching philosophy. Les always shared his great love of literature with students, inviting them over the threshold of a book to explore the deeper themes and meanings of life captured in its pages; and to go beyond the book, to discover each author’s history and motivations so a student could reach new insights into a work of poetry or fiction.

As a guide to determine the selection of writers and authors to bring to campus, the Les Bailey Endowment Committee looked to Les’ own definition of the nebulous and value-laden word “literature,” as written for the Saint Martin’s English Department’s mission in the college’s handbook that served the department for many years. He defined the department’s purpose as a commitment to kindling the human spirit with literature. To kindle Les’ spirit, the Endowment Committee is considering authors of poetry, adult fiction, drama and literary nonfiction who help us and our students understand the human family and ourselves via the weight of words, ideas and stories.

The series is open and free of charge to Saint Martin’s students and community, as well as the broader Olympia-area community. It will encompass most importantly meeting(s) with smaller group(s) of students with an interest in writing and literature. The chosen writer will be encouraged to engage with faculty members as well. A public presentation by the chosen writer to read and discuss his/her book(s) also will be included.

Les Bailey Writers Series writer selection committee

Mary Gentry, Chair
Saint Martin's College alumna
Former member Saint Martin's University Board of Trustees
Attorney, retired

David Ammons
Communications director, Office of the Washington Secretary of State

Olivia Archibald
Professor, Saint Martin's University English Department

Jane Laclergue
Owner, Fireside Books, retired

Fr. Kilian Malvey, O.S.B.
Executive director, Saint Martin's University Benedictine Institute
Professor, Saint Martin's University English and Religious Studies Departments

Jan Walsh
Washington State Librarian, retired

College of Arts and Sciences