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 Assistant Professor Todd Kaneko (, 616-331-8064)

Grand Valley Writers Series 2018-19

Marian Crotty
Fiction Craft Talk & Reading
Monday, September 17

Fiction Craft Talk: 1:30-2:45pm, KC 2270
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30pm, 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: 2:30-3:30pm, Multi-purpose Room, Pew Library
Q&A Session: 4-5:15pm, 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: 4-5pm, KC 2270
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30pm, 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: 6-7:30pm, 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: 6:15-7:15pm, DEV 121E
Reading: 7:30-8:30pm, 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: 4:30-5:45pm, 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: 2:30-3:45pm, Kirkhof Center 2266
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30pm, 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: 6-7:30pm, 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: 4:30-5:45pm, Kirkhof Center 2270
Reading & Book signing: 6-7:30pm, 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: 10-11:15am, Kirkhof Center 2266
Reading & Book signing: 1-2:15pm, 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.