FELIX: A Series of New Writing is dedicated to providing an audience in Madison, Wisconsin for new writing and experimental literary events. Founded in 2003, the series has been committed to showcasing the work of writers and editors involved in small or independent presses. In 2012, this mission was expanded to highlight our interest in new and innovative work by writers who experiment with publishing, genre, performance, new media and technology, and the boundaries between the arts and between disciplines. The FELIX series aims to create dynamic literary events for the university and larger Madison literary community.
The series is named after Felix Pollak, a poet and longtime UW-Madison librarian with a special love for and dedication to small literary magazines. Pollak, a Jew and a liberal anti-fascist, studied law and theater in his native Vienna before emigrating to the United States following the German occupation of Austria in 1938. Pollak earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan and worked for several years in the Northwestern University Library’s Special Collections before coming to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1959 as a curator of rare books. While at the UW-Madison, Pollak took on responsibility for developing the Sukov collection (now known as the Little Magazine Collection), one of the nation’s finest collections of small literary magazines, many of which were published by independent presses. He retired from this position in 1974, and remained active in Madison’s cultural and literary community until his death in 1987. Just after his death, Ron Wallace, the founder (in 1975) and co-director of the Program in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published a detailed tribute to Pollak in the March 1988 issue of The Wisconsin Academy Review. Wallace is currently the Felix Pollak Professor of Poetry at UW-Madison and edits the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series, which, since 1994, has awarded an annual Felix Pollak prize.
The FELIX reading series is currently curated by a group of UW-Madison graduate students in the Literary Studies English Ph.D. program: Sunny Chan, Rachel Carroll, Sara Thomas, and Amy Gaeta. The series was founded in 2003 by David Pavelich and Barry Osborne, and past curators have included Rebecca Steffy Couch, Anna Vitale, Jennifer Conrad, Lisa Hollenbach, Ray Hsu, Hai-Dang Phan, Laura Sims, and Steel Wagstaff. Previously supported through the generosity of the Friends of the UW-Madison Library, the FELIX reading series is now sponsored by the Department of English and the Anonymous Fund of UW-Madison.
Past readers for FELIX have included: Kara Candito, Linh Dinh, Patrick Durgin, Johannes Göransson, Andy Gricevich, Gabriel Gudding, Carla Harryman, Matt Hart, Anthony Hawley, Brenda Hillman, Cynthia Marie Hoffman, Michael Hofman, Amaud Jamaul Johnson, Kent Johnson, Kimberly Johnson, Myung Mi Kim, Eric Lorberer, Joyelle McSweeney, Philip Metres, K. Silem Mohammad, Anna Moschovakis, Mark Nowak, Hoa Nguyen, Peter O’Leary, Nate Pritts, Elizabeth Robinson, Jesse Seldess, Kerri Sonnenberg, Susan Schultz, Cole Swenson, Stacy Szymaszek, G. C. Waldrep, William Waltz, Dana Ward, Tyrone Williams, Rebecca Wolff, and Matvei Yankelevich.