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2020 Juniper Literary Festival / Admitted Students Weekend

COVID-19 Update: The 2020 Juniper Literary Festival has been cancelled. The MFA Program for Poets and Writers will be hosting a virtual event for admitted students on April 4.

The 2020 Juniper Literary Festival / Admitted Students Weekend will be held on April 3–4, 2020 on the UMass Amherst campus. This weekend aims to introduce our newly admitted Poets and Writers to the vibrant literary community here at UMass and the Pioneer Valley as a whole, with panels and readings featuring current students and alumni. 

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 3

6:00pm: Live Lit: MFA Student Reading (Great Hall, Old Chapel) open to the public

7:00pm: Reception (Great Hall, Old Chapel)

Saturday, April 4

9:30am: Check-in, coffee, bagels (First Floor, Old Chapel)

10:00am–10:45am: Tours

11:00am–11:45am: Writing Program Presentation and Q&A with Amy Diehl (MFA '20 / Teaching Associate) (First Floor, Old Chapel)

12:00–12:30pm: Lunch (South College E470)

12:30–1:45pm: Accepted Students Meeting (South College E470)

2:00–2:45pm: Students of Color Meet-Up (First Floor, Old Chapel) / Coffee & Refreshments (Great Hall, Old Chapel)

3:00–3:45pm: Literary Arts Short Talks featuring representatives from literary arts organizations (Great Hall, Old Chapel)

4:00–5:45pm: Alumni Reading with Mira Bartók (MFA '08), Emily Hunt (MFA '13), Juliette Lee (MFA '06), and Leni Zumas (MFA '04) (Great Hall, Old Chapel) open to the public

5:45–7:00pm: Reception (First Floor, Old Chapel)



Mira Bartók (MFA '08) is the author of The Memory Palace, a New York Times bestselling memoir and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Her writing has been published in many literary journals and magazines, including the Kenyon Review, Bellingham Review, jubilat, Psychology Today, among others. She has also written and illustrated numerous books for children, including The Wonderling, the first in a middle grade steampunk series, published by Candlewick Press. A major motion picture of The Wonderling, directed by Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot, The Reader) is currently in development. Mira is also a spokesperson for TransCultural Exchange, an international arts organization that seeks to foster greater understanding between world cultures through artistic collaboration.



Emily Hunt’s (MFA '13) works include the chapbook Company (The Song Cave, 2019); the photography book Cousins (Cold Cube Press, 2019); and the full-length poetry collection Dark Green (The Song Cave, 2015), named a “standout debut” by Publishers Weekly. She has been a Visiting Writer at Reed College, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of Richmond. She teaches poetry workshops and works as a freelance editor in New York. More info at and on Instagram @its_ehu.




Leni Zumas' (MFA '04) national bestselling novel Red Clocks (Little, Brown, 2018) won the Oregon Book Award and was named a Best Book of 2018 by The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and the New York Public Library. She is also the author of Farewell Navigator: Stories (Open City, 2008) and the novel The Listeners (Tin House, 2012). Her fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in Granta, the Times Literary Supplement, Guernica, BOMB, The Cut, Tin House, and elsewhere. Leni lives in Oregon and directs the creative writing program at Portland State University.