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Visiting Writers Series

Visiting Writers Series Fall 2017

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.

 

September 28, 2017: Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li is the author of four works of fiction, Kinder Than Solitude, The Vagrants, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl; a children’s book, The Story of Gilgamesh; and a memoir, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life. She grew up in China, and came to the United States to pursue a science career in immunology before she became a writer. She is the recipient of many awards including the PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, Sunday Times/EFG Short Story Award, Benjamin H. Danks Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. She was named by The New Yorker as one of the “20 under 40” fiction writers to watch. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Granta, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Two of her stories, "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers" and "The Nebraska Princess," were made into films by Wayne Wang. She adapted the former one, which won the Golden Shell Award for Best Film at the 55th San Sebastian International Film Festival. She teaches creative writing at Princeton University.

 

October 12, 1017: Ocean Vuong

Poet and essayist Ocean Vuong is the author of Night Sky With Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award, finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, Vuong has received honors from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize. His writings have been featured in The Atlantic, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he immigrated to the US at the age of two as a child refugee. He lives Western Massachusetts and teaches at UMass Amherst's MFA for Poets & Writers program.

 

November 9, 2017: Julia Iromuanya

Julie Iromuanya is the author of Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (Coffee House Press), a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize for Debut Fiction. Her scholarly-critical work most recently appears in Converging Identities: Blackness in the Modern Diaspora (Carolina Academic Press). She was the inaugural Herbert W. Martin Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Dayton. She has also been a Jane Tinkham Broughton Fellow in Fiction at Bread Loaf Writers Conference, a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference, a Bread Loaf Bakeless / Camargo France Fellow, a Brown Foundation Fellow at the Dora Maar House, and a Jan Michalski Fellow at “The Treehouses.” Her work has also been supported by fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Ragdale Foundation. Iromuanya earned her B.A. at the University of Central Florida and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she was a Presidential Fellow and award-winning teacher. She is an assistant professor in the creative writing MFA program at the University of Arizona.

 

December 7, 2017: Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Sun Bear, Copper Canyon 2014, and Why Poetry, a book of prose, from Ecco Press in August 2017. His poems, essays and translations have appeared in many publications, including Ploughshares, Bomb, Slate, Tin House, Paris Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Believer, American Poetry Review, The Los Angeles Times and Real Simple, as well as in Best American Poetry in 2009, 2013, and 2017. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship in Marfa, TX. An Associate Professor in the MFA at Saint Mary's College of California, he is also Editor at Large at Wave Books, and from 2016-7 held the annually rotating position of Editor of the Poetry Column for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Oakland, CA.