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Visiting Writers Series

Visiting Writers Series Spring 2018

Celebrating its fifty-fourth year, the nationally renowned Visiting Writers Series at UMass Amherst presents emerging and established writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. The Series is sponsored by the MFA for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Initiative, and made possible by support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the University of Massachusetts Arts Council, and the English Department. Events take place at Memorial Hall at 8PM, unless otherwise noted, and are free and open to the public. Memorial Hall is wheel-chair accessible.

February 8, 2018 at Great Hall, Old Chapel, 144 Hicks Way: CA Conrad

CA ConradCA Conrad is the author of nine books, including While Standing in Line for Death (Wave, 2017); The Book of Frank (Wave, 2010), which is now available in nine languages; and ECODEVIANCE (Wave, 2014), which won the 2015 Believer Magazine Book Award. Their other honors include fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Lannan Foundation, Banff, and RADAR. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “Conrad consistently surprises, and few, if any, American poets are doing more visionary, disorienting, and wonderful work today.” Known for their focus on process and their (Soma)tic poetry rituals, Conrad conducts workshops on (Soma)tic Poetry and Ecopoetics.

March 29, 2018 at Memorial Hall: Colin Barrett

Colin BarrettColin Barrett's debut collection of short stories, Young Skins,was published in September 2013 by the independent Irish publisher, Stinging Fly Press. It was subsequently picked up by Jonathan Cape in the UK and Black Cat Editions,an imprint of Grove Atlantic, in the US. It received three major literary prizes in 2014, including The Guardian First Book Award, The Frank O'Connor International Short Story prize, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. It has so far been translated into 6 languages, with Japenese and Chinese editions forthcoming in 2018. In 2015 Colin was one of the selected honorees of the 5 under 35 National Book Awards in the US. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta Magazine, The New Statesman, and other literary journals.

April 6, 2018 at Memorial Hall: Sarah Ladipo Manyika and Sally Wen Mao

Sarah Ladipo ManyikaSarah Ladipo Manyika was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France, and England. She has a doctorate from UC Berkeley. Her second novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun (2016), has been described as “gorgeous and finely crafted…. [It] shows ordinary people at their best.” Noting the paucity of stories about older women who have lived colorful lives, especially African women, Sarah says, “When I cannot find stories that I’d like to read, I try writing them for myself.” Sarah is currently Books Editor at

Sally Wen MaoSally Wen Mao is the author of Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014). Her second book, Oculus, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2019. Her work has won a 2017 Pushcart Prize and is published or forthcoming in A Public Space, Poetry, Black Warrior Review, Guernica, The Missouri Review, Tin House, The Best of the Net 2014 and The Best American Poetry 2013, among others. The recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, the New York Public Library Cullman Center, and Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Mao holds an M.F.A. from Cornell University. She is the 2017-2018 Jenny McKean Writer in Washington at the George Washington University.