Repeat Offender: Dav Pilkey created artwork for Banned Books Week featuring his frequently complained-about hero, Captain Underpants. Dav Pilkey hide caption

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Author Junot Diaz says the publishing industry must have uncomfortable conversations about diversity. The alternative, he believes, is "utter, agonizing silence." Rick Reinhard/Flickr hide caption

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The Dey House, a 140-year-old mansion, is home to the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, one of the oldest MFA writing programs in the country. Director Lan Samantha Chang — who attended the workshop as a student — has made it a priority to attract students and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the program. Linda Kahlbaugh/AP hide caption

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"When there is danger, when there is destruction, we kind of feel like we're on the edge of life, fully alive, and that can really bring out some strong prose," says author Mitchell Zuckoff. iStockphoto hide caption

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In addition to her 15 novels, Nadine Gordimer authored several volumes of short stories and nonfiction. Radu Sigheti/Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Radu Sigheti/Reuters /Landov

Irish poet William Butler Yeats makes a recording for the radio. Scroll down to hear him read his poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." Culture Club/Getty Images hide caption

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Maya Angelou, poet in residence at Wake Forest University, talks about the poem she wrote for President Clinton's inauguration from her office in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Sept. 16, 1996. Chuck Burton/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Chuck Burton/AP