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 2023-2024

Jen Julian

Fiction Writer
Thursday, November 9, 2023

2:30-3:45pm, Craft Talk, KC 2270
4:00-5:00pm, Fiction Reading, KC 2270

Jen Julian holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and an MFA in Fiction from UNC Greensboro. Her 2018 debut short story collection, Earthly Delights and Other Apocalypses, was the winner of Press 53’s Fiction Prize. Recent work has appeared in or is upcoming in The Harvard Advocateswamp pinkhexBourbon Penn, Third Coast MagazineWigleaf, and SmokeLong Quarterly, among other places. Originally from North Carolina, she and her ginger cat currently live in Georgia, where she is an Assistant Professor of English at Young Harris College.

Photo of Jen Julian

Jen Julian

Estee Zandee

Editor, Literary Agent, Ghost Writer
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room

Talk/Q&A: "The Business of Being a Writer: Many Paths to Make Writing into a Career": 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Talk/Q&A: "Editing and Publishing": 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Estee Zandee is an Editor at WaterBrook and Multnomah, imprints of Penguin Random House. Before joining the editorial team, she worked as Associate Literary Agent at The Bindery Agency, as an editor and collaborative writer for publishers and authors, and on the editorial team at Zondervan. Over the years, she’s had the privilege to support authors like Mark Batterson, Philip Yancey, David Platt, Sarah Sanderson, and Jordan Raynor and serving as a panel judge for the ECPA Christian Book Award program. Away from the desk, she can be found hiking or biking Michigan woods with her family.

Photo of Estee Zandee

Estee Zandee

Chris Haven & W. Todd Kaneko

Writing Department Faculty Reading
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

11:30am-12:45pm, Fiction & Poetry Reading, Mary Idema Pew Multipurpose Room

Chris Haven is the author of a book of short stories, Nesting Habits of Flightless Birds (Tailwinds Press), and a collection of poems, Bone Seeker (NYQ Books). His short fiction and flash fiction have appeared in Threepenny Review, New Orleans Review, Arts & Letters, Massachusetts ReviewElectric LiteratureCincinnati Review MiCRo, and Kenyon Review Online. His poems can be found in The Southern ReviewCincinnati Review, Pleiades, Mid-American Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal, and prose poems from his Terrible Emmanuel series appear in Denver QuarterlySycamore ReviewNorth America Review, and Seneca Review, where they won the Deborah Tall Award for Lyric Essay. He has taught in the Writing Department at Grand Valley State University since 2002. 

W. Todd Kaneko is the author of This Is How the Bone Sings (Black Lawrence Press, 2020) and The Dead Wrestler Elegies, Championship Edition (New Michigan Press 2023), and co-author with Amorak Huey of Poetry: A Writers' Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018) and Slash / Slash, winner of the 2020 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in Poetry, Bellingham ReviewLos Angeles Review, The Normal School, The Rumpus, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series, and many other places. A Kundiman Fellow, he lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he is an Associate Professor in the Writing Department at Grand Valley State University.

Photo of Chris Haven and W. Todd Kaneko

Chris Haven & W. Todd Kaneko

Andrew Leland

Nonfiction Writer
Wednesday, April 3, 2024

3:00-4:15pm, Craft Talk, Room TBA
6:00-7:00pm, Nonfiction Reading, Room TBA

Andrew Leland is the author of The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight (Penguin, 2023.) Leland’s writing has appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe New YorkerMcSweeney’s Quarterly, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among other outlets. From 2013-2019, he hosted and produced The Organist, an arts and culture podcast, for KCRW; he has also produced pieces for Radiolab and 99 Percent Invisible. He has been an editor at The Believer since 2003. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and son.

Andrew Leland

Andrew Leland

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 Beth Peterson ([email protected]).



Page last modified January 31, 2024