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 2020-2021

Amina Gautier

Monday, September 28, 2020
Craft Talk: 1:30 p.m.- 2:45 p.m.
Zoom (Contact the Department of Writing for the Zoom link)

 

Amina Gautier is the author of three short story collections: At-Risk, Now We Will Be Happy, and The Loss of All Lost Things. At-Risk was awarded the Flannery O’Connor Award; Now We Will Be Happy was awarded the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction; The Loss of All Lost Things was awarded the Elixir Press Award in Fiction. More than one hundred and twenty of her stories have been published, appearing in Agni, Blackbird, Boston Review, Callaloo, Glimmer Train, Hypertext, Kenyon Review, Latino Book Review, Mississippi Review, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, and Southern Review among other places. For her body of work, she has received the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award and PEN/MALAMUD Award for Excellence in the Short Story.

Gautier headshot

Amina Gautier


W. Todd Kaneko & Chris Haven

Friday, January 29
Art in a Time of Crisis: A Faculty Reading & Conversation
Noon-1:30 p.m.
Zoom (Contact the Department of Writing for the Zoom link)

 

W. TODD KANEKO is the author of the poetry books This is How the Bone Sings (Black Lawrence Press 2020) and The Dead Wrestler Elegies (New Michigan Press 2021). He is 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 Prize, which will be published in 2021. 

 

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). Chris was born in Oklahoma and has degrees in Creative Writing from the University of Kansas, Texas State University, and the University of Houston. His short fiction and flash fiction have appeared in Threepenny Review, New Orleans Review, and Kenyon Review Online. His poems can be found in The Southern ReviewCincinnati Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal.

 

 

Headshot of Kaneko and Haven

W. Todd Kaneko & Chris Haven


Colin Rafferty

Thursday, February 11
Nonfiction Reading
7:00-8:30 p.m.
Zoom (Contact the Department of Writing for the Zoom link)

 

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Colin Rafferty grew up on the Kansas side (which makes a difference). In third grade, he unhesitatingly told an autograph dealer that the label on a Lincoln autograph was wrong—he was the sixteenth president, not the seventeenth. Later, Rafferty attended land grant universities (Kansas State, Iowa State) and eventually got an MFA from the University of Alabama. He writes about monuments and memorials (Hallow This Ground, Break Away Books, 2016), presidents, and more generally public and private histories. In doing research for Execute the Office, he visited the graves of twenty-eight presidents, toured the homes of another sixteen, and, for reasons still unbeknownst to him, was allowed to handle a four-page letter written by George Washington. Rafferty has taught nonfiction writing at the University of Mary Washington since 2008, developing classes on nonfiction of place, the lyric essay, and writing for multimedia. Since 2012, he has lived in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their dog in the same neighborhood where Patrick Henry gave the “give me liberty or give me death” speech in the presence of two future presidents. Colin is surrounded by history.

Headshot of Rafferty

Colin Rafferty


Rebecca Hazelton

Wednesday, March 17
Poetry Reading
7:30-8:45 p.m
Zoom (Contact the Department of Writing for the Zoom link)

 

Rebecca Hazelton is an award winning poet, writer, critic, and editor. Her first book, Fair Copy, won the Wheeler Prize from Ohio State University Press. Her second book, Vow, was an editor’s pick from Cleveland State University press. Her most recent book of poetry, Gloss, was published by the University of Wisconsin University Press, and was a New York Times “New and Notable” pick. Her literary criticism has been published in Poetry, and her teaching articles have been featured on the Poetry Foundation’s Learning Lab. She is the co-editor, with poet Alan Michael Parker, of The Manifesto Project, a favorite of poetry classrooms. Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals and national magazines, such as PoetryThe New YorkerThe Nation, and Boston Review. Widely anthologized, her work can be found in the Pushcart Prize anthology and Best American Poetry. She is currently at work on a new book of poems centered around American masculinity and the role of the “husband” in contemporary marriage. She is also working on experimental essays about rape culture, the #metoo movement, and bisexuality.

Headshot of Rebecca Hazelton

Rebecca Hazelton


Scott Blackwood

Monday, April 5
Fiction Craft Talk: 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Fiction Reading and Q&A: 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Zoom (Contact the Department of Writing for the Zoom link)

 

Scott Blackwood’s previous novel See How Small won the 2016 PEN USA Award for fiction, was an NPR “Great Reads” best book of 2015, a New York Times “Editor's Choice” pick, and one of thirty books chosen as a Texas Book of the Decade (2010-2019) by the Texas Observer. His previous novel We Agreed to Meet Just Here earned a 2011 Whiting Award, the AWP Prize for the Novel, and the 2010 Texas Institute of Letters Jones Prize for best book of Texas fiction. His short fiction collection In the Shadow of Our House was a San Antonio Express News and Forward Magazine best collections of 2001. Blackwood’s novel excerpts and short fiction have appeared in or are forthcoming in the New England ReviewAmerican Short FictionBoston Review, the Gettysburg ReviewThe New York Times and Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing. His nonfiction for Chicago magazine “Here We Are” was a 2016 National Magazine Award Finalist for Feature Writing and his two volume The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for bringing to life the origins of blues and jazz and the Great Migration story.

Headshot of Scott Blackwood

Scott Blackwood

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 (hueya@gvsu.edu).