Many writers and scholars visit the Knox campus each term supported by the English Department and the Caxton Club, a scholarly and creative presentation series by faculty, visiting scholars and artists.
- Aleksandar Hemon, author, "The Making of Zombie Wars" and "The Lazarus Project."
- Rita Dove, American poet and essayist and former U.S. Poet Laureate.
- Marilynne Robinson, novelist, "Lila" and "Gilead."
- Osama Alomar, Arabic poet.
- Ross Gay, poet and editor, "Against Which" and "Bringing the Shovel Down."
- Beth Charlebois, scholar of Shakespeare and performance.
- Jaspreet Singh, novelist, essayist, short story writer and a former research scientist.
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, film critic, "Form factor: A non-boring look at the ‘how' and ‘why' of film style."
- Tisha Turk, Director of Academic Support for Writing and Speaking at Grinnell College, "Fan Videos, Fandom, & Digital Literacy: a discussion on multimedia in the Liberal Arts."
- Gretchen Henderson, writer, "Poetics of Embodiment: (dis)Ability, Creativity, and the Shape of Space."
- Reeve Parker, scholar of English Romantic poetry and drama
- Wendy Hyman, Renaissance scholar, "What Early Modern Scientists Learned from Poets."
- Wayne Koestenbaum, poet and cultural critic.
- Annette Wannamaker, scholar of children's literature.
- Valerie Traub, a leading Shakespearean critic and author of Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture.
We have a policy of recognizing outstanding student work. Each year, the following prizes are awarded by outside judges:
- The Howard Wilson Prizes in Literary Criticism: awarded to students writing the best pieces of literary criticism
- The Lorraine Smith Prize in English: awarded to a sophomore for writing the best essay in an English course
- The Elizabeth Haywood English Research Award: given annually to support a student project in England.
- The Nina Marie Edwards Memorial Fund: provides assistance to juniors and seniors carrying out independent or Honors projects in English and Creative Writing
- The Davenport Awards in Poetry, Playwriting, and Fiction: for outstanding original work
- The Procter Fenn Sherwin Prize in Fiction: awarded to a senior who submits the best original short story
- The Bev White Prize in Fiction: given to a beginning writer for the most outstanding piece of creative writing
- The Scripps Prize: awarded to a graduating senior with the highest grades in English.