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, Claire Vaye Watkins, Derek Palacio, Maggie Smith, Amina Gautier, Dinty W. Moore, Claudia Rankine, David Shields, Vievee Francis, Matthew Olzmann, and many others. 

Grand Valley Writers Series 2019-2020

Brian Oliu & Tasha Coryell

Monday, September 16, 2019
Craft Talk: 3pm
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30pm, Multi-purpose Room, Pew Library


Brian Oliu is originally from New Jersey and currently lives and teaches in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is the author of two chapbooks and four full-length collections, most recently the lyric-memoir i/o, and Enter Your Initials For Record Keeping, a collection of essays on the video game NBA Jam. Recent essays on topics ranging from long-distance running to professional wrestling to doughnuts appear in The CollagistCatapultThe RumpusRunner’s WorldGay MagazineWaxwing, and elsewhere.

Tasha Coryell is originally from Minnesota and currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her first collection of stories,Hungry People, was published by Split Lip Press in 2018. Other stories, poems, and essays appear in The RumpusDiagramThe CollagistPank, and elsewhere. In addition to teaching and writing, Tasha is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric. 

Oliu and Coryell headshots

Brian Oliu & Tasha Coryell

Stephen Mack Jones

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Craft Talk: 1-2 p.m., Kirkhof 2270
Reading & Book Signing: 6-7:30 p.m., Library Multipurpose Room


Stephen Mack Jones is a published poet, award-winning playwright and winner of the Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellowship.  He was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan.  He moved to Detroit upon graduation from Michigan State University and has remained in the metro-Detroit area.  He worked in advertising and marketing communications before turning to fiction.  In 2018, the International Association of Crime Writers presented Stephen with the prestigious Hammett Prize for literary excellence in the field of crime writing.  Stephen’s first adult fiction book, August Snow, was named a 2018 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. The Nero Wolfe Society awarded August Snow the 2018 Nero Award. 

Stephen Mack Jones Headshot

Stephen Mack Jones

Caitlin Horrocks & Beth Peterson

Faculty Reading
Monday, February 3, 2020

Reading & Book Signing, 6-7:30 p.m., Multi-purpose Room, Pew Library


Caitlin Horrocks is author of the novel The Vexations and the story collection This Is Not Your City, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her stories and essays appear in The New YorkerThe Best American Short StoriesThe PEN/O. Henry Prize StoriesThe Pushcart PrizeThe Paris ReviewTin House, and One Story, as well as other journals and anthologies. She served as fiction editor of the Kenyon Review from 2012-2018, and remains on the advisory board. She teaches at GVSU and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. 

A wilderness guide before she began writing, Beth Peterson has an MFA from the University of Wyoming and a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Missouri. Her essays have appeared in Fourth GenreRiver TeethMid-American ReviewPost RoadPassages NorthFlywayAssayThe Pinch and other publications.  Her first essay collection, Theory of World Ice, is about glaciers, volcanoes, and disappearing people. Beth lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she is an assistant professor in Grand Valley State University’s Writing Department.


Chris Haven

Caitlin Horrocks

Gale Marie Thompson

Beth Peterson

José Olivarez

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Craft Talk: 6-7 p.m., DeVos 111D 
Reading & Book Signing: 7:30-8:30 p.m., University Club

José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants and the author of the book of poems Citizen Illegal, a finalist for the PEN/ Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by NPR and the New York Public Library. In 2018, he was awarded the first annual Author and Artist in Justice Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he is co-editing the forthcoming anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. He is the recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Poets House, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the Conversation Literary Festival.  His work has been featured in The New York TimesThe Paris ReviewChicago Magazine, and elsewhere.


Jose Olivarez

José Olivarez

Sarah Einstein

Monday, March 30
Craft Talk: KC 2270
Reading & Book Signing: 6-7:30pm, Multi-purpose Room, Pew Library

Sarah Einstein is the author of Mot: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press 2015), Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014), and The Tripart Heart (Sundress, 2019). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The SunNinth LetterPANK and other journals. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. Currently, she is at work on a travel memoir set in the constructed West Virginia of Bethesda Game Studio’s Fallout 76. She teaches creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and online for Iota: The Conference of Short Prose.

Sarah Einstein

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 Associate Professor Amorak Huey (