The International Writers Center opened in October 1990, with William Gass, the David May
Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities, as director and Lorin Cuoco as
associate director. To inaugurate the center, the Special Collections mounted an exhibit, A
Temple of Texts: Fifty Literary Pillars, consisting of 50 works of literature and philosophy
that have influenced Gass as a writer. A limited-edition catalogue with Gass's comments
about each work was published in conjunction with the exhibit.
Since that time the center has hosted numerous visiting writers and conferences. The Center
continues to flourish, though a new name, The Humanities Center, was added in 2003. Since
2001, Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, and distinguished American
cultural critic, has directed the center.