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 2022-2023

Aaron Burch

Thursday, October 6, 2022
Talk about Literary Editing: 11:30 a.m. - 12:45p.m., KC 2263
Reading & Conversation: 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., KC 2263

Aaron Burch's debut novel, Year of the Buffalo, will be released in November 2022. He is also the author of the memoir/literary analysis Stephen King’s The Body; a short story collection, Backswing; and a novella, How to Predict the Weather. He is the founding editor of Hobart and, more recently, its offshoot journals, HAD and WAS. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI, where he teaches writing at the University of Michigan.

Photo of Aaron Burch

Aaron Burch

Kimberly Burnham and Van Allen Plexico

Virtual Panel on Self-Publishing

Friday, October 28, 2022
11:00 a.m. - noon: Virtual Panel via Zoom (contact the writing department for link) OR watch with a group in Honors 218.
noon - 1:00 p.m.: Brown Bag Discussion with GVSU Writing Faculty in Honors 218

Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine) is a poet and health and wellness writer. Her latest work of fiction is The Red Sunflower Diaries, Why Everyone Should Garden and Share Seed.  The story follows a teenage girl with migraines as her family trades heirloom red sunflower seeds for medicinal herbs and plants. Along the way, they meet gardeners, foodies, and plant specialists, who are doing all they can to make the world a healthier and more just place. Kimberly’s other passion project is searching out and exploring the meaning of peace in 8000 different languages. In English synonyms for peace include calm, tranquility, and harmony but in other languages synonyms range from tame, level, well-being, quiet, and security, to slow, cool liver, legible, refresh, and more. The author of Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, Kimberly also has her poetry featured in over 100 volumes of The Year of The Poet, where she has been a contributing member of the poetry posse for almost 10 years. In 2012, she turned her PhD dissertation into a book for the general public entitled, Parkinson's Alternatives: Walk Better, Sleep Deeper, and Move Consciously; Solutions from Nature's Sensational Medicine. Kim lives in Spokane WA with her wife, their four teenagers and a menagerie of dogs, cats, goats, bunnies, and more.

Van Allen Plexico is Professor of Political Science and History at Southwestern Illinois College. A member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), he is the author of twenty novels and half a dozen nonfiction works, along with many articles, comics, short stories and novellas. His writing has won four Pulp Factory Awards (including three for Best Novel), a New Pulp Award, and an Imadjinn “Best Thriller” Award, covering genres as diverse as Military SF, superheroes, giant robots and Kaiju, and Sixties crime caper. He has co-authored books on the histories of modern Auburn University Football and Basketball, and on the history of Marvel’s Avengers comics. A prolific podcaster, he hosts shows on subjects including college football, popular culture, comics, SF TV, and James Bond films. He has appeared on various radio and TV programs (including ESPN) to discuss his sports writing and commentary, and he created one of the television ads for the Nissan Heisman House campaign.

Author photos of Kimberly Burnham and Van Allen Plexico

Kimberly Burnham (top) and Van Allen Plexico (bottom)

Kelcey Ervick

Monday, November 7, 2022
1:30-2:45 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room
A reading and conversation with Kelcey Ervick

Kelcey Ervick is the author of the graphic memoir, The Keeper (Avery Books/Penguin). Her three previous award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction are The Bitter Life of Božena NěmcováLiliane's Balcony, and For Sale By Owner. She is co-editor, with Tom Hart, of The Field Guide to Graphic Literature, forthcoming from Rose Metal Press in 2023. Her stories, essays, and comics have appeared in The RumpusThe BelieverWashington PostLit HubColorado ReviewPassages NorthQuarterly WestBoothNotre Dame Review, and elsewhere. She has received grants from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and New Frontiers in Arts and Humanities at Indiana University. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and is a professor of English and creative writing at Indiana University South Bend.    

Photo of writer and graphic memoirist Kelcey Ervick

Kelcey Ervick

Oindrila Mukherjee & Beth Peterson

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Faculty Reading: 6-7 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room

Oindrila Mukherjee grew up in India, where she worked as a journalist for the country’s oldest English-language newspaper, The Statesman. Her creative and scholarly interests include fiction, nonfiction, literary criticism, creative writing pedagogy, and translations from Bengali literature. Her work has been published in SalonKenyon Review OnlineEcotone, The Oxford Anthology of Bengali Literature, The Colorado Review, The Writers’ Chronicle, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Journal of Creative Writing Studies and elsewhere. Her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories. She serves as a Contributing Editor for Aster(ix, a transnational journal of literature and art committed to social justice, and co-edited the 2015 issue Atravesando with the writer Angie Cruz. She writes a book series called Bottom Shelf about little known or forgotten Indian books in English for the Indian magazine Her debut novel The Dream Builders will be published in the US  by Tin House Books  and in Australia and the UK by Scribe Publications.

Beth Peterson is a nonfiction writer and associate professor of writing at GVSU. Beth has an MA from Wheaton College, an MFA from the University of Wyoming, and a PhD in Creative Writing & Literature from the University of Missouri. A wilderness guide before she began writing, Beth has published essays in Fourth Genre, River TeethPassages North, Post Road, The Pinch, Flyway, Mid-American Review,, and other journals. Her essay collection, Dispatches from the End of Ice--a book about disappearing landscapes and people--was published by Trinity University Press in 2019. 

Photos of Oindrila Mukherjee (top) & Beth Peterson (bottom)

Oindrila Mukherjee (top) & Beth Peterson (bottom)

Dionne Irving

Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Craft Talk 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2270
Reading and Conversation 6-7:30 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room

Dionne Irving is originally from Toronto, Ontario. She is the author of the novel Quint from 7.13 Books, and a short story collection Islands is from Catapult Books.  Her work has appeared in Story, Boulevard, LitHub, Missouri Review, and New Delta Review, among other journals and magazines. She teaches in the University of Notre Dame Creative Writing Program and the Initiative on Race and Resilience.

Photo of writer Dionne Irving

Dionne Irving

Eugenia Leigh

Monday, March 27, 2023
Craft Talk 6-7 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room
Reading and Conversation 7:30-8:45 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room

Eugenia Leigh is a Korean American poet and the author of Bianca (Four Way Books, 2023) and Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books, 2014), finalist for both the National Poetry Series and the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Nation, Poetry, PloughsharesWaxwing, and the Best of the Net anthology. The recipient of Poetry’s Bess Hokin Prize as well as fellowships and awards from Poets & Writers, Kundiman, and elsewhere, Eugenia received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and serves as a poetry editor at The Adroit Journal.

Photo of poet Eugenia Leigh

Eugenia Leigh

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 ([email protected]).

Page last modified January 10, 2023