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Grand Valley Writers Series

The Grand Valley Writers Series has a long history of bringing distinguished and emerging writers to campus to read from their work, visit classes, and interact with students across GVSU's campus. In past years, the Grand Valley Writers Series has been proud to host a dynamic and diverse range of writers on campus including Traci Brimhall, Jericho Brown, Peter Ho Davies, Tarfia Faizullah, Jamaal May, Roxane Gay, Ryan Harty, Steven Johnson, Amina Gautier, Dinty W. Moore, Claudia Rankine, David Shields, Kellie Wells, and many others. 

Grand Valley Writers Series 2016-17

Donovan Hohn

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Craft Talk: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2215/16
Reading & Book signing: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., Lake Superior Hall 174

Donovan Hohn is the recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, and a Knight-Wallace Fellowship. His work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and Outside, among other publications. His book Moby-Duck was a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Prize for Excellence in Journalism, and runner-up for both the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. A former features editor of GQ and contributing editor of Harper’s, Hohn now teaches creative writing at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Donovan Hohn

Donovan Hohn

Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins

Derek Palacio

Derek Palacio

Claire Vaye Watkins & Derek Palacio

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Craft Talk: 2:30 - 3:45 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2266
Reading & Book signing: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., Lake Superior Hall 174

Claire Vaye Watkins earned her MFA from the Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, Tin House, The Paris Review, One Story, Glimmer Train, Best of the West, Best of the Southwest, The New York Times and many others. A recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, Claire was also one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” She is the author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. A Guggenheim Fellow, Claire is on the faculty of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada. (photo credit: Heike Steinweg)

Derek Palacio received his MFA in Creative Writing from the Ohio State University. His short story “Sugarcane” appeared in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013, and his novella, How to Shake the Other Man, was published by Nouvella Books. His debut novel, The Mortifications, is forthcoming in 2016 from Tim Duggan Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group. He is the co-director, with Claire Vaye Watkins, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada. He lives and teaches in Ann Arbor, MI, and is a faculty member of the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program. (photo credit: Dane Hillard)

Amorak Huey & Caitlin Horrocks

Professors Amorak Huey & Caitlin Horrocks

Amorak Huey & Caitlin Horrocks

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Faculty Reading & Book signing: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Amorak Huey is author of the poetry collection Ha Ha Thump (Sundress Publications, 2015) and the chapbook The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2014). His poetry and essays have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2012The Southern ReviewBrevityPoet LoreThe CollagistThe Cincinnati Review, and many other print and online journals. Before coming to Grand  Valley State, he worked for more than a decade as an editor and reporter for newspapers in Florida, Kentucky, and Michigan, including serving as assistant sports editor at The Grand Rapids Press.

Caitlin Horrocks is a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction. Her debut story collection, This Is Not Your City, was named a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle. Her stories and essays appear in anthologies such as The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize StoriesThe Pushcart Prize, Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers, True Stories, Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine,and in journals such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Tin HouseOne Story, Salon, and elsewhere. Her awards include the Plimpton Prize and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the MacDowell Colony. She is fiction editor of The Kenyon Review. She is currently working on a novel and a second story collection, both forthcoming from Little, Brown.

Vievee Francis & Matthew Olzmann

Monday, February 27, 2017
Craft Talk: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m, DEV 203E, Pew Campus
Reading & Book signing: 7:30 - 8:50 p.m., University Club, Pew Campus

Vievee Francis is the author of three books of poetry, Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006), Horse in the Dark (winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Second Book Prize), and the recently released Forest Primeval (Northwestern University Press) which was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award. She is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Prize and a Kresge Fellowship. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Best American Poetry (2010, 2014), Poetry Magazine, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, among others. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Dartmouth College and an Associate Editor for Callaloo

Matthew Olzmann is the author of Mezzanines, selected for the Kundiman Prize. His second book, Contradictions in the Design, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in November, 2016. He’s received scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, the Kresge Arts Foundation and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Necessary Fiction, Brevity, Southern Review and elsewhere. He teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Vievee Francis

Vievee Francis

Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann

Bich Minh Nguyen

Bich Minh Nguyen

Bich Minh Nguyen

A Conversation and Reading with Bich Minh Nguyen
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Reading & Book signing: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Kirkhof Center 0072
Co-sponsored by the Kutsche Office of Local History, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Frederick Meijer Honors College, and the Department of English

Bich Minh Nguyen is the author of three books, all with Viking Penguin. Stealing Buddha's Dinner, a memoir, received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center and was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year. Short Girls, a novel, was an American Book Award winner in fiction and a Library Journal best book of the year. Her most recent novel, Pioneer Girl, is about the mysterious ties between a Vietnamese immigrant family and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Nguyen's work has also appeared in publications including The New York Times and the FOUND Magazine anthology. She is at work on a series of essays about high school, music, and the Midwest, called Owner of a Lonely Heart. She has also coedited three anthologies: 30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty YearsContemporary Creative Nonfiction: I & Eye; and The Contemporary American Short Story. Nguyen currently directs and teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. She and her family live in the Bay Area. 

Austin Bunn

Thursday, April 13, 2017
Craft Talk: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2215/16
Reading & Book signing: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Austin Bunn is the author of The Brink, published by Harper Perennial and selected as a Lambda Lit finalist and Electric Literature "Best Short Story Collection of 2015." He wrote the script for Kill Your Darlings, with the film's director John Krokidas, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and won the International Days Prize at the Venice Film Festival. His work has appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe Atlantic, Zoetrope, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Science and Nature Writing, and elsewhere. His monologue, "Basement Story," won the Missouri Review Audio Essay Prize and has been broadcast on WBEZ, Third Coast, Australian Radio, and Michigan Public Radio. His award-winning short documentaries, "Lavender Hill" and "In the Hollow," have screened nationally and internationally at Frameline (SF), OutFest (LA), InsideOut (Toronto), Provincetown International Film Festival (MA), Sidewalk Film Festival (AL), Milwaukee Film Festival (WI), MEZIPATRA (Czechoslovakia), USN Expo (Italy), and elsewhere. He is a graduate of Yale and the Iowa Writers' Workshop and teaches at Cornell University. (photo credit: Bob Hazen)

Austin Bunn

Austin Bunn


Be sure to check out past seasons of the Grand Valley Writers Series. Any questions about the series should be referred to Grand Valley Writers Series Coordinator and Assistant Professor Todd Kaneko (kanekot@gvsu.edu, 616-331-8064)