Past Grand Valley Writers Series Events

The following is an archive of past seasons of the Grand Valley Writers Series. Be sure to check out the writers coming to campus for the current season.

Any questions about the series should be referred to Grand Valley Writers Series Coordinator and Associate Professor Beth Peterson ([email protected])

Grand Valley Writers Series 2022-2023


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.



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.



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.    



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. 



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



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.

Grand Valley Writers Series 2021-2022


Friday, September 24

Fiction Reading and Q&A with Deesha Philyaw 
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. via Zoom

DEESHA PHILYAW’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also the co-author of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce, written in collaboration with her ex-husband. Her work has been listed as Notable in the Best American Essays series, and her writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostMcSweeney’sThe RumpusBrevitydead housekeepingApogee JournalCatapultHarvard Review, ESPN’s The UndefeatedThe Baltimore ReviewTueNightEbony and Bitch magazines, and various anthologies. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022-2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.



Thursday, October 14
Nonfiction Reading and Q&A with Sejal Shah
4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m., via Zoom

SEJAL SHAH is the author of the award-winning debut memoir in essays, This Is One Way to Dance (University of Georgia Press, 2020). Her essay collection reflects on culture, family, language, and place. Her stories and essays have appeared widely in print and online—including Brevity, Guernica, Conjunctions, the Kenyon Review Online, and Longreads. She is the recipient of a 2018 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Fiction and residencies or fellowships from Blue Mountain Center, the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop, Kundiman, and The Millay Colony. She received her BA in English from Wellesley College and her MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The daughter of Gujarati parents who immigrated to the United States from India and Kenya, Sejal lives in her hometown of Rochester, New York.



Friday, November 12
Poetry Reading with Nandi Comer + Sumita Chakraborty
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., Room TBA

NANDI COMER is the author of American Family: A Syndrome (Finishing Line Press) and Tapping Out (Northwestern University Press), which was awarded the 2020 Society of Midland Authors Award and the 2020 Julie Suk Award. She is a Cave Canem Fellow, a Callaloo Fellow, and a Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellow. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard ReviewGreen Mountains ReviewThe Offing and Southern Indiana Review. She serves as an assistant poetry editor for Four Way Review and as a poetry editor for Obsidian Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora. She currently serves as the Director of the Allied Media Projects Seeds Program.

SUMITA CHAKRABORTY is a poet, essayist, and scholar. Her acclaimed debut collection of poetry, Arrow (Alice James Books, 2020) was praised in the New York Times as an “allusive and witty debut.” Her first scholarly book, tentatively titled Grave Dangers: Death, Ethics, and Poetics in the Anthropocene, is in progress. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in POETRY, The American Poetry ReviewBest American Poetry 2019, and elsewhere. Her essays most recently appear in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her scholarship appears or is forthcoming in Cultural CritiqueInterdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment (ISLE), Modernism/modernityCollege Literature, and elsewhere.



Friday, January 28
Faculty Reading with Oindrila Mukherjee, Chuck Carlise, and Brandon Rushton 
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., Zoom

OINDRILA MUKHERJEE Oindrila Mukherjee grew up in India. She writes fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in EcotoneKenyon Review OnlineThe Colorado ReviewSalonThe Oxford Anthology of Bengali Literature and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor for Aster(ix), a literary and arts magazine committed to social justice, and co-edited its 2016 edition on borders called Atravesando. Her short stories have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories.

CHUCK CARLISE is the author of the poetry collection, In One Version of the Story (New Issues Press 2016), as well as the chapbooks, A Broken Escalator Still Isn’t the Stairs (winner of the Concrete Wolf Poetry Series 2011) and Casual Insomniac (Bateau, winner of the Boom Chapbook Prize 2011). His poems and essays appear in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets in both 2012 and 2014. He is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Grand Valley State University, and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

BRANDON RUSHTON is the author of The Air in the Air Behind It (Tupelo Press, forthcoming 2022), selected by Bin Ramke for the 2020 Berkshire Prize. He was born and raised in Michigan. A finalist for the National Poetry Series and the American Poetry Review / Honickman Book Prize, his individual poems have received awards from Gulf Coast and Ninth Letter and appear in publications like The Southern ReviewDenver QuarterlyPleiadesBennington Review, and Passages North. His essays appear in Alaska Quarterly Review and the critical anthology, A Field Guide to the Poetry of Theodore Roethke (Ohio University Press, 2020). He co-founded the non-profit poetry outfit Oxidant | Engine and, after earning his MFA from the University of South Carolina, joined the writing faculty at the College of Charleston. In the fall of 2020, he began as a Visiting Professor of Writing at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 



Tuesday, March 1
2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., Craft Talk, via Zoom
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Nonfiction Reading, via Zoom
(Contact the Department of Writing for the Zoom link)

SARAH EINSTEIN is the author of Mot: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press 2015), Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014), and Tripart Heart (Sundress 2018). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Sun, Ninth Letter, PANK and other journals. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction.   She teaches creative writing at UT Chattanooga and is the founding editor of Signal Mountain Review. She lives with her partner, Dominik, and a three legged chihuahua/pug mix named Schnitzel. She is currently at work on a new essay colleciton, tentatively titled Self Portrait in Apologies.



Wednesday, March 30
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m., Craft Talk, MAK D-1-227
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Fiction Reading, Library Multipurpose Room

TOMMY DEAN is the author of two flash fiction chapbooks Special Like the People on TV (Redbird Chapbooks, 2014) and Covenants (ELJ Editions, 2021). He lives in Indiana with his wife and two children. He is the Editor at Fractured Lit and Uncharted Magazine. A graduate of the Queens University of Charlotte MFA program, he is currently working on a novel. A recipient of the 2019 Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction, his writing can be found in Best Microfiction 2019 and 2020Best Small Fiction 2019, Monkeybicycle, and the Atticus ReviewHe taught writing workshops for the Gotham Writers Workshop, the Barrelhouse Conversations and Connections conference, and The Lafayette Writer’s Workshop. Find him at and on Twitter @TommyDeanWriter. 

Grand Valley Writers Series 2020-2021


Monday, September 28, 2020
Craft Talk: 1:30 p.m.- 2:45 p.m.

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.


Friday, January 29
Art in a Time of Crisis: A Faculty Reading & Conversation
Noon-1:30 p.m.

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.


Thursday, February 11
Nonfiction Reading
7:00-8:30 p.m.

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.



Wednesday, March 17
Poetry Reading
7:30-8:45 p.m

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.



Monday, April 5
Fiction Craft Talk: 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Fiction Reading and Q&A: 7:30-8:30 p.m.

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.

Grand Valley Writers Series 2019-2020


Monday, September 16, 2019
Craft Talk: 3 p.m.
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30 p.m., 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. 



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. 



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.




Christina Olson is the author of the poetry collections Terminal Human Velocity and Before I Came Home Naked as well as the chapbooks Weird Science and Rook & The M.E.: A Law & Order-Inspired Narrative,and most recently Last Mastodon. Her poetry and nonfiction has appeared in Arts & LettersVirginia Quarterly ReviewThe Southern ReviewBrevityRiver StyxGulf CoastPassages NorthThe Normal SchoolHayden’s Ferry Review, and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Volume 3. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Willapa Bay AiR. She teaches creative writing at Georgia Southern University and tweets as @olsonquest.

Benjamin Drevlow is the author of the books Bend With the Knees and Other Love Advice from My Father and Ina-Baby, a Love Story in Reverse. He has published short fiction and nonfiction at Literary Orphans, Passages North, and Pithead Chapel, among other magazines. You can find these and other stories linked at He tweets @thedrevlow.  



Canceled (COVID-19)

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.



Canceled (COVID-19)

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.

Grand Valley Writers Series 2018-19

Marian Crotty
Fiction Craft Talk & Reading
Monday, September 17

Fiction Craft Talk: 1:30-2:45 p.m., KC 2270
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30 p.m., Multi-purpose Room, Pew Library

Marian Crotty is the author of the short story collection What Counts as Love, which won the John Simmons Award for Short Fiction and was long-listed for the PEN/Bingham Award for Debut Fiction. She has received fellowships from the Yaddo Corporation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. Her fiction has appeared in journal such as the Kenyon Review, the Southern Review, and the Alaska Quarterly Review; her personal essays have appeared in journals such as Guernica, the Gettysburg Review, and the New England Review. She lives in Baltimore.


Lindsey Drager
CLAS Distinguished Visiting Alumni Honoree
Fiction Reading & Q&A Session
Thursday, October 4

Reading & Book signing: 2:30-3:30 p.m., Multi-purpose Room, Pew Library
Q&A Session: 4-5:15 p.m., KC 0072

Lindsey Drager is the author of the three novels: The Sorrow Proper (Dzanc, 2015), winner of the 2016 John Gardner Fiction Book Award; The Lost Daughter Collective (Dzanc, 2017), winner of the 2017 Shirley Jackson Award for the novella; and The Archive of Alternate Endings (Dzanc, forthcoming 2019). Her work has received support from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, the I-Park Foundation, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and was listed as notable in Best American Essays 2016. She has presented work and served on panels at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the AWP Conference, the &NOW Festival of New Writing, the NonfictioNOW Conference, and the International Society for the Study of Narrative Convention, and performed her work in venues ranging from dive bars in Minneapolis, to art galleries in Flagstaff, to classrooms in Reykjavík, Iceland. Having spent time working in the textbook publishing industry in Los Angeles and as a writing consultant at a day shelter for those experiencing homelessness in Denver, she is currently an assistant professor at the College of Charleston where she teaches in the MFA program in fiction and serves as associate fiction editor of the literary journal Crazyhorse.


Michele Morano
Nonfiction Craft Talk & Reading
Thursday, November 15

Craft Talk: 4-5 p.m., KC 2270
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30 p.m., KC 0072

Michele Morano is the author of the travel memoir, Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Fourth Genre, Ninth Letter, The Normal School, Brevity, Best American Essays, and WaveForm: Twenty-First Century Essays by Women. She has received grants, awards, and fellowships from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the Illinois Arts Council, and the MacDowell Colony, among others. She is professor and chair of the English Department at DePaul University in Chicago.


Chris Haven & Gale Marie Thompson
Faculty Reading

Tuesday, February 5
Reading: 6-7:30 p.m., Multi-purpose Room, Mary Idema Pew Library

Chris Haven was born in Oklahoma and came to Michigan by way of Kansas and Texas. His short fiction and flash fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Threepenny Review, New Orleans Review, Arts & Letters, Massachusetts ReviewElectric Literature, and Kenyon Review Online. His poems can be found in Cincinnati 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 writing at Grand Valley State University since 2002.

Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press, 2015) and two chapbooks. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, American Poetry Review, Guernica, jubilat, Bennington Review, and Colorado Review. She is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine, and she lives, writes, and teaches in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 


Janine Joseph & Oliver Baez Bendorf
Poetry Craft Talk & Reading

Thursday, March 14
Craft Talk: 6:15-7:15 p.m., DEV 121E
Reading: 7:30-8:30 p.m., University Club, Pew Campus

Janine Joseph was born in the Philippines. She is the author of Driving without a License, winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize and 2018 da Vinci Eye award, and named an Honorable Mention for the 2018 Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize from the New England Poetry Club. Her writing has appeared in The AtlanticWorld Literature Today, The Poem’s Country: Place & Poetic Practice, The Kenyon Review, Best New Poets, Best American Experimental WritingZócalo Public SquareVIDA: Women in Literary Arts, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere. A librettist, her commissioned work for the Houston Grand Opera/HGOco include What Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline“On This Muddy Water”: Voices from the Houston Ship Channel, and From My Mother's Mother. Janine is a co-organizer for Undocupoets and serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Poets & Writers in Tulsa. She lives in Stillwater, where she is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University.

Oliver Baez Bendorf is the author of the forthcoming Advantages of Being Evergreen, which won the 2018 Cleveland State University Poetry Center Open Book Poetry Competition, a previous collection, The Spectral Wilderness, and a chapbook, The Gospel According to X. His poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming from, American Poetry Review, BOMB, Poem-a-Day, Poetry, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Vermont Studio Center, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Born and raised in Iowa, he is an assistant professor of poetry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Grand Valley Writers Series 2017-18

Ander Monson & Sean Lovelace
Nonfiction & Fiction Reading
Monday, October 16

Reading & Book signing: 4:30-5:45 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2270

Ander Monson is the author of six books: three of nonfiction (Neck Deep and Other Predicaments, Vanishing Point, and Letter to a Future Lover) two poetry collections (Vacationland and The Available World), and a novel, Other Electricities. A finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award (for Other Electricities) and a NBCC in criticism (for Vanishing Point), he is also a recipient of a number of other prizes: a Howard Foundation Fellowship, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, the Annie Dillard Award for Nonfiction, the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award in Nonfiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He edits the magazine DIAGRAM, the New Michigan Press, Essay Daily, and a series of yearly literary/music tournaments: March Sadness (2016), March Fadness (2017), and March Shredness (2018). Formerly a faculty member in the GVSU Writing Department, he currently directs the MFA program at the University of Arizona. Visit him at his website

Sean Lovelace lives in Indiana, where he teaches in the creative writing program at Ball State University. He often writes about cheese or cheese products (including a chapbook about Velveeta). He also wrote Fog Gorgeous Stag (Publishing Genius Press). He has won several national literary awards, including the Rose Metal Press Short Short Prize and the Crazyhorse Prize for Fiction. He is a former visiting faculty member in the GVSU Writing Department. He likes to run, far. 


Vu Tran
Fiction Craft Talk & Reading
Tuesday, November 14

Craft Talk: 2:30-3:45 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2266
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Vu Tran's first novel, Dragonfish, was a NY Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of the Year.  His short fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, and many other publications.  He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and has received fellowships from Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and the MacDowell Colony.  Born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma, Vu received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PhD from the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Practice in English and Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.


Patricia Clark & Roger Gilles
Wednesday, February 7
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Patricia Clark is the author of five volumes of poetry, including most recently The Canopy (2017) and Sunday Rising (2013). She has also published three chapbooks: Wreath for the Red Admiral and Given the Trees; a new one, Deadlifts, is just coming out from New Michigan Press. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, and has appeared in The AtlanticGettysburg ReviewPoetrySlate, and Stand. She was a scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and has completed residencies at The MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Tyrone Guthrie Center (in County Monaghan (Ireland), and the Ragdale Colony. Awards for her work include a Creative Artist Grant in Michigan, the Mississippi Review Prize, the Gwendolyn Brooks Prize, and co-winner of the Lucille Medwick Prize from the Poetry Society of America. From 2005-2007 she was honored to serve as the poet laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Roger Gilles is the author of Women on the Move: The Forgotten Era of Women’s Bicycle Racing, which will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in early 2018. For twenty years his scholarly work focused on issues relating to Writing Program Administration work, primarily placement and assessment. With Dan Royer, he co-authored “Directed Self-Placement: An Attitude of Orientation” (College Composition and Communication, 1998), which led to the publication of their co-edited volume Directed Self-Placement: Principles and Practices (Hampton Press, 2003). Royer and Gilles contributed chapters to several volumes, including “The Origins of the Department of Academic, Creative, and Professional Writing at Grand Valley State University” in A Field of Dreams: Independent Writing Programs and the Future of Composition Studies (Ed. O’Neill, Crow, and Burton, Utah State UP, 2002). He is a Professor in the Department of Writing at GVSU and currently serves as Interim Director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College.


Robert Long Foreman
Nonfiction Craft Talk & Reading
Monday, March 12

Craft Talk: 4:30-5:45 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2270
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30 p.m., Cook DeWitt Center

Robert Long Foreman's essays and short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and contests at The JournalWillow Springs, American Literary Review, and The Cincinnati Review. His first book, Among Other Things, won the Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose, and was published by Pleiades Press in 2017. Five of his essays have been listed as "Notable" in the Best American Essays anthologies. He lives in Kansas City.


Maggie Smith
Poetry Craft Talk & Reading
Thursday, April 12

Craft Talk: 10-11:15 a.m., Kirkhof Center 2266
Reading & Book signing: 1-2:15 p.m., Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room

Maggie Smith is the author of Good Bones (Tupelo Press 2017); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press 2015), winner of the Dorset Prize and the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal in Poetry; Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award; and three prizewinning chapbooks. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the New York Times, The Best American Poetry 2017, Plume, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and many other journals and anthologies. In 2016 her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International. Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, among others. She lives and writes in Bexley, Ohio.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

Grand Valley Writers Series 2015-16

Marcia Aldrich
Thursday, October 1, 2015

Craft Talk: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2215/16
Reading & Book signing 6.00-7:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Marcia Aldrich teaches creative writing at Michigan State University. Former editor of Fourth Genre, she is the author of the free memoir Girl Rearing, selected as a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers Series, and Companion to an Untold Story, selected for the 2011 AWP Award in Nonfiction. Aldrich’s personal essays have been published in Gettysburg Review, North American Review, Witness, Arts and Letters, Northwest Review, Brevity, The Normal School, the Kenyon Review, Hotel Amerika, and The Seneca Review among others. 

Nina McConigley
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Craft Talk: 2.30 - 3.45 Kirkhof Center 2215/16
Reading & Book signing: 6.00 - 7:30 p.m. Cook-DeWitt Center

Nina McConigley is the author of the story collection Cowboys and East Indians, which won the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and a High Plains Book Award. She has been a fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for The Best New American Voices.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Orion, Salon, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, and The Asian American Literary Review among others. She teaches at the University of Wyoming and at the MFA program at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.

Glenn Shaheen & Oindrila Mukherjee 
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Faculty Reading: 7:30 - 8:45 p.m. Cook-DeWitt Center

Glenn Shaheen is a visiting Assistant Professor at Grand Valley’s Writing department. Earlier this year he completed his PhD in English and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. Glenn is the author of the poetry collection Predatory, which won the 2010 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and was the runner up for the 2011 Norma Farber First Book Award. He is also the author of the flash fiction chapbook Unchecked Savagery. His second collection of poetry, Energy Corridor, is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in early 2016.

Oindrila Mukherjee has been an Assistant Professor at Grand Valley since 2011. She holds degrees from India, England and the US, and completed her PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Houston. She grew up in India, where she worked as a reporter for the country’s oldest English language newspaper, The Statesman. Her work has been published in SalonLos Angeles Review of BooksThe Oxford Anthology of Bengali Literature,The Greensboro ReviewArts & LettersThe Silk Road ReviewThe Writers’ ChronicleBest New Writing 2010, Jaggery, and elsewhere.

Rubén Martínez 
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Craft Talk: 4:30 - 5:45 p.m. Kirkhof Center 2263
Reading and Book signing: 6:30 - 7:45 p.m. Cook-DeWitt Center
Co-sponsored by Area Studies/Latin American Studies and the School of Communication

Rubén Martínez holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and is an artist in residence at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. He is the author of: Desert America: A Journey Across Our Most Divided Landscape, Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, The New Americans,and The Other Side: Notes from the New L.A., Mexico City and Beyond. An Emmy Award-winning journalist, Ruben hosted and co-wrote the documentary film When Worlds Collide for PBS. His essays, opinions and reportage have appeared in the New York TimesWashington PostLos Angeles Times, SalonVillage Voice and elsewhere.

Jericho Brown
Monday, March 28, 2016

Craft Talk: 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., DEV 203 E, Pew Campus
Reading and Book signing: 7.30 - 8.45 p.m., University Club, Pew Campus
Co-sponsored by African and African American Studies

Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Best American Poetry. His first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award, and his second book, The New Testament(Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. He is an associate professor in English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta.

Claudia Rankine
Thursday, April 7, 2016

Creative Writing Craft Talk: 1:00 - 2:15 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room,
Community Reading Project Author Lecture: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., Kirkhof Center Grand River Room
In collaboration with the Community Reading Project

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, two plays, and numerous video collaborations. She also edits several anthologies. Her most recent book Citizen: An American Lyric, won the PEN Open Book Award and the PEN Literary Award, the NAACP Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Among her many awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of Poets & Writers Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. She lives in California and is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English at the University of Southern California.

Grand Valley Writers Series 2014-15

Lacy Johnson
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Craft Talk: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2215/16
Reading & Book signing: 6:00 - 7.30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Lacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based artist, curator, teacher, activist, and is author of The Other Side (Tin House Books, 2014) and Trespasses: A Memoir (Iowa, 2012). She is co-creator of the location-based storytelling project [the invisible city], and her work has appeared in Dame Magazine, Tin House, Creative Nonfiction, Poets & Writers, Gulf Coast and elsewhere. She teaches interdisciplinary art at the University of Houston.

Monica McFawn Robinson
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Faculty Reading & Book signing: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Alumni House Dining Room

Monica McFawn Robinson holds an MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University, and teaches in the Writing Department at Grand Valley State University. She has published fiction and poetry in Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Missouri Review, Conduit, Exquisite Corpse, and others. Her debut collection of stories, Bright Shards of Someplace Else, won the 2013 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is also the author of a hybrid poetry chapbook, A Catalogue of Rare Movements, and her plays and screenplays have had readings in Chicago and New York.

Angie Cruz
Monday, November 17, 2014

Craft Talk: 3:00 - 4:15 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2215/16
Reading & Book signing: 7:30 - 8:45 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2215/16

Angie Cruz is the author of two novels, Soledad, which she has adapted into a screenplay, and Let It Rain Coffee, which was a finalist in 2007 for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She has published short fiction and essays in Callaloo, The New York Times, Kweli, Phatitude, South Central Review, and elsewhere. Cruz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and the editor of the activist literary journal, Aster(ix). She is of Dominican descent and often writes about being Latin American in the US, women's issues, and themes of exile and displacement.

Beth Peterson & W. Todd Kaneko
Thursday, January 22, 2015

Faculty Reading and Book signing: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

W. Todd Kaneko is the author of The Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor, 2014). His prose and poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, Los Angeles Review, Barrelhouse, the Normal School, the Collagist and many other journals and anthologies. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University.

Beth Peterson is a nonfiction writer and a new assistant 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 is just finishing her first book of lyric essays, set in a disappearing glacial landscape in Norway. Beth has recent work in Fourth Genre, River Teeth and Passages North.

Jamaal May & Tarfia Faizullah
Monday, February 16, 2015

Craft Talk: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m., DeVos 203E, Pew Campus
Reading & Book signing: 7:30 - 8:45 p.m. University Club, Pew Campus

Jamaal May is a poet and the author of Hum, which received the 2012 Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books, the American Library Association’s Notable Book Award, and an NAACP Image Award nomination. From Detroit, Jamaal mentors young writers, teaches in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program, and co-directs the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook and Video Series with poet Tarfia Faizullah. He has been named a 2014-2016 Kenyon Review Fellow.

Tarfia Faizullah is the Pushcart Prize-winning author of Seam (SIU, 2014), winner of the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, Oxford American, jubilat, New England Review, and anthologized in Poems of Devotion, Excuse This Poem: 100 Poems for the Next Generation, The Book of Scented Things, and Best New Poets 2014. Honors include scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, the Fulbright Foundation, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, and Vermont Studio Center. She has collaborated with rapper and emcee Brooklyn Shanti, composer Jacob Cooper, and photographer Elizabeth Herman. She is the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Creative Writing in Poetry at the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program and co-directs the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press & Video Series with Jamaal May.

Samuel Park
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Craft Talk: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library, Multi-Purpose Room
Reading & Book signing: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Samuel Park is the author of This Burns My Heart, chosen as Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, Amazon,, and BookPage. Foreign editions include Germany, Norway, China, and South Korea. He is also the author of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, adapted into a short film that he wrote and directed. His scholarly articles and reviews have appeared in the journals Shakespeare Bulletin, Theatre Journal, and Black Camera. He is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

Grand Valley Writers Series 2013-14

Roxane Gay
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Craft Talk: 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2266
Reading & Book signing: 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., Alumni House Dining Room

Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Short Stories 2012Best Sex Writing 2012Oxford AmericanAmerican Short FictionVirginia Quarterly ReviewNOON,The New York Times Book ReviewThe RumpusSalonThe Wall Street Journal, and many others. Her novel, An Untamed State, will be published by Grove Atlantic and her essay collection, Bad Feminist, will be published by Harper Perennial, both in 2014.

Jenni Lamb
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Craft Talk: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library, Multi Purpose Room
Reading & Improv: 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Jenni Lamb is a Chicago-based playwright and former actress and improviser. In 2006, she wrote, produced, and performed in Memento Polonia, which was “Highly Recommended” by the Chicago Reader. Her plays have had readings at The Gift Theatre, Wordsmyth Theatre (Houston) Northwestern University, and Chicago Dramatists. Lamb was a semi-finalist for the 2012 O’Neill Playwrights Conference and is currently a member of the Living Room Playmakers collective in Chicago. She holds an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University.

Amorak Huey and Caitlin Horrocks
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Faculty Reading & Book signing: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Amorak Huey is an Assistant Professor of Writing at Grand Valley State University. His poetry appears and is forthcoming in numerous print and online journals, including Oxford AmericanThe Southern ReviewIndiana ReviewCrab Orchard ReviewPANKPoet LoreAtlanta Review,ContraryLinebreak and Spitball. He recently completed a collection of poems inspired by the blues. Amorak has worked for the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat; the Courier-Journal of Louisville; The News-Enterprise of Hardin County, Ky.; the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; and The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press, where he was assistant sports editor.

Caitlin Horrocks is the author of the story collection, This Is Not Your City. Her stories and essays appear in The New YorkerThe Best American Short Stories 2011The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2009The Pushcart Prize XXXVThe Paris ReviewTin HouseOne Story and elsewhere. Her work has won awards including the Plimpton Prize, and fellowships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. She was formerly the 2006-2007 Theresa A. Wilhoit Fellow at Arizona State University. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of writing at Grand Valley State University and the fiction editor of The Kenyon Review.

Caroline Maun and Frank Koscielski
Monday, February 24, 2014

Craft Talk: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m., University Club, Pew Campus
Reading & Musical Performance: 7:30 - 9:00 p.m., University Club, Pew Campus

Caroline Maun is an Associate Professor of English at Wayne State University. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, The Sleeping and What Remains, two poetry chapbooks, Cures and Poisons and Greatest Hits, and Mosaic of Fire: The Work of Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle. She has edited The Collected Poems of Evelyn Scott. Maun is the co-songwriter of original music for the Detroit-area band Black Hat, whose albums Phases of the Sun and Hooray for Love were published by Detroit Radio Company.

Frank Koscielski, Ph.D., is a life long musician and labor historian. He works as a recruiter and advisor for the Labor@Wayne program at Wayne State University and has been a singer/songwriter in the group Black Hat since 2008, going by the stage name Frankie the K. With lyricist Caroline Maun, he has co-written the musical albums Phases of the Sun (2009) and Hooray for Love(2012), both published by Detroit Radio Company. In addition, he plays keyboards and performs vocals for M. L. Liebler's Coyote Monk Poetry Band, big Shorty, Johnny G and the Blue Rockets, and--back in the 1970s--Badge.

Samrat Upadhyay
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Craft Talk: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Mary Idema Pew Library, Multipurpose Room
Reading & Book signing: 7:30 - 9:00 p.m., Cook-Dewitt Center

Samrat Upadhyay is the author of Arresting God in Kathmandu, a Whiting Award winner; The Royal Ghosts, which won the Asian American Literary Award and was declared a Best of Fiction by the Washington PostThe Guru of Love, a New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year; and Buddha's Orphans. He has written for the New York Times and has appeared on BBC Radio and National Public Radio. Upadhyay is a Martha Kraft Professor of Humanities at Indiana University.

Grand Valley Writers Series 2012-13

Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence Reading: T Fleischmann
Thursday October 18, 2012
Craft Talk: 1:00 - 2:15 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2263
Reading & Book signing: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2263

T Fleischmann, a 2005 GVSU graduate and Writing major, lived by the Great Lakes until attending the University of Iowa and completing an MFA in Nonfiction Writing. Their essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, Pleiades, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, and The Pinch, as well as in the feminist magazine make/shift, and have been Notable Essays in The Best American Essays, 2009 and 2010. A Nonfiction Editor at DIAGRAM, T has settled in rural Tennessee after traveling for several years across the United States. T’s book, Syzygy, Beauty: An Essay, was released in April 2012 from Sarabande Books.

My Heart is an Idiot: Found Magazine's 10th Anniversary Tour
with Davy and Peter Rothbart

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Craft Talk: 4:30 - 5:30 p.m., Pere Marquette Room, Kirkhof Center
Reading & Performance: 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center

Davy Rothbart is the creator of Found Magazine, a frequent contributor to This American Life, and author of the story collection The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas. He writes regularly for GQ and Grantland, and his work also appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Believer. His forthcoming book of personal essays is called My Heart is an Idiot, out in September, 2012, from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Los Angeles, California.

Peter Rothbart is an award-winning songwriter, and the frontman for folk/rock group The Poem Adept. His third solo album, You Are What You Dream, will be released in fall 2012, and his music was featured in McSweeney's Wholphin DVD and the 2012 documentary film Mister Rogers & Me. He is also an editor at FOUND Magazine, and the executive director of the urban gardening organization We Patch. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Patricia Clark & Chris Haven
Tuesday February 12, 2013
Faculty Reading: 4:00 - 5:30 p.m., Cook-Dewitt Center

Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. She is the author of four books of poetry: Sunday Rising, She Walks Into the Sea; My Father on a Bicycle; and North of Wondering. Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, Poetry, Mississippi Review, The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Pennsylvania Review, North American Review, Seattle Review, and Iowa Woman. She has also co-edited an anthology of contemporary women writers called Worlds in Our Words, and served as the Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2005-2007.

Chris Haven’s poetry and fiction appears or is forthcoming in a number of journals including Threepenny Review, Hunger Mountain, Blackbird, The Normal School, Cold Mountain Review,Copper NickelSliceQuiddity, and The New York Quarterly. He is an associate professor at Grand Valley State University, where he is the editor of Wake: Great Lakes Thought & Culture.

Traci Brimhall
Monday, March 11, 2013

Reading & Book signing: 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., University Club, Pew Campus

Traci Brimhall is the author of Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press), winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Slate, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Missouri Review,and elsewhere. She’s received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the King/Chávez/Parks Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

David Shields
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Reading and Q & A: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2263

David Shields is the author of thirteen books, including How Literature Saved My Life (Knopf, 2013); Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (Knopf, 2010), named one of the best books of the year by more than thirty publications; The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (Knopf, 2008), a New York Times bestseller; Black Planet: Facing Race during an NBA Season, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity, winner of the PEN/Revson Award; and Dead Languages: A Novel, winner of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. His essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times MagazineHarper’sEsquire,Yale ReviewVillage VoiceSalonSlateMcSweeney’s, and Utne Reader. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. Shields has received a Guggenheim fellowship and two NEA fellowships, among other awards. He lives with his wife and daughter in Seattle, where he is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington.

Festival of First Books featuring novelist V.V. Ganeshananthan,
poet Glenn Shaheen, and short story writer Amina Gautier
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Publishing Panel Discussion: 2:30 - 3:30 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2215/16
Ganeshananthan Q&A: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Honors 220
Gautier Q&A: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Au Sable Hall 1136
Shaheen Q&A: 4:00 - 5:15 p.m., Lake Superior Hall 136
Reading & Book signing: 7:30 - 9:00 p.m., Kirkhof Center 2215/16

V.V. Ganeshananthan, a fiction writer and journalist, is a graduate of Harvard College, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, Sepia Mutiny, Himal Southasian, and The American Prospect, among others. A former vice president of the South Asian Journalists Association, she currently serves on the board of the Asian American Writers' Workshop and on the graduate board of The Harvard Crimson. She teaches at the University of Michigan, where she is the Zell Visiting Professor of Creative Writing. Random House published her first novel, Love Marriage, in April 2008. The book was longlisted for the Orange Prize and named one of Washington Post Book World's Best of 2008, as well as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick.

Amina Gautier is the winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction for her short story collection At-Risk. More than seventy of her short stories have been published and her fiction appears in the anthologies Best African American Fiction and New Stories from the South and in numerous literary journals including Antioch ReviewNorth American Review,Iowa ReviewKenyon ReviewSouthern Review, and StoryQuarterly. Gautier is the recipient of the William Richey Prize, the Jack Dyer Prize, and the Danahy Fiction Prize, among others. She has received fellowships and scholarships from Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, Sewanee Writer's Conference, Callaloo Writer's Workshop, Hurston/Wright Writer's Workshop, and the Ucross Residency. Gautier was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and currently lives in Chicago, IL, where she is an assistant professor of English at DePaul University, teaching courses in creative writing and African American literature.

Glenn Shaheen received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and currently lives in Michigan, where he edits the journal NANO Fiction and is the poetry editor for Third Coast. His book of poems, Predatory, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and is available from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Work has appeared in Ploughshares, The New Republic, Subtropics, and elsewhere. He presently serves on the board of directors for the Radius of Arab-American Writers, Inc.

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