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2023 Juniper Literary Festival

The 2023 Juniper Literary Festival will be held on Friday & Saturday, March 24-25, 2023. 

Inaugurated in 2001, the Juniper Literary Festival showcases exciting new writing and explores issues vital to the literary arts, helping to ensure their vitality, plurality, and accessibility. This is our second year back to an in-person event. We are excited for the opportunity to introduce our newly admitted poets and writers to the vibrant literary community here at UMass and the Pioneer Valley as a whole.

Readings and receptions are open to the general public. Masks are optional. Registration for each event is encouraged.

Schedule of Events

Friday, March 24

Reading | Bernie Dallas Room (Goodell Hall), 6pm | Register

Join us for a reading with poets Hoa Nguyen & CAConrad.

CAConrad has worked with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975. They are
the author of 9 books, including AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration (Wave Books,
2021), which won the 2022 PEN Josephine Miles Award. They received a 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry
Prize, a Creative Capital grant, a Pew Fellowship, and a Lambda Award. They exhibit poems as
art objects with recent solo shows in Spain and Portugal, and their play The Obituary Show was
made into a film in 2022 by Augusto Cascales. UK Penguin published two books in 2023, and a
new collection of poetry is forthcoming from Wave Books in 2024 titled Listen to the Golden
Boomerang Return. Visit them online at

Hoa Nguyen is a poet and educator. Her books include Red Juice: Poems 1998 - 2008 and the Griffin Prize-nominated Violet Energy Ingots. Her latest collection of poems, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure was a finalist for a 2021 National Book Award, the General Governor’s Literary Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. She serves as a Visiting Practitioner for Toronto Metropolitan University and Co-Chair of Writing at Bard MFA in addition to teaching this semester for UMass Amherst’s Creative Writing Program. Hoa is a member of She Who Has No Masters, a project of multi-voiced collectivity, hybrid poetics, encounters, in-between spaces, and (dis)places of the Vietnamese diaspora and founding mentor of the collectives’ inaugural mentorship. In 2019, her body of work was nominated for a Neustadt Prize for Literature, a prestigious international literary award often compared with the Nobel Prize in Literature. She’s an Aquarius and a Fire Horse.


Reception | South College E240 (Atrium), 7pm | Register

Join us for food and drinks between readings in the South College atrium space.


Live Lit | Bernie Dallas Room (Goodell Hall), 8pm | Register

The long-standing reading series, run by and featuring current MFA students. Hosted by Nadia Saleh (MFA '23) and Shashank Rao (MFA '24).

Saturday, March 25

Admitted Students Session | South College E470, 10am–2pm

We look forward to welcoming our newly admitted poets and writers! Events will include a panel, tours, lunch, and meetings with current MFA students. For admitted students only.

Alumni Reading and Conversation | Integrative Learning Center ILCN151, 4pm | Register

Help us welcome back four UMass MFA alumni for a reading and conversation. A book signing and reception will follow.

Sadie Dupuis ('14) is the guitarist, songwriter & singer of rock band Speedy Ortiz, as well as the producer & multi-instrumentalist behind pop project Sad13. Sadie heads the record label Wax Nine, edits its poetry journal, and is a regular contributor to Spin, Tape Op, Talkhouse, and more. She holds an MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst, where she also taught writing. Mouthguard, her first book, was published in 2018 (Gramma); Cry Perfume, a second poetry collection, was released in 2022 (Black Ocean). She is an organizer with the Union of Musicians & Allied Workers and its local UMAW Philly.

Shastri Akella's ('14) debut novel, The Sea Elephants, is forthcoming from Flatiron Books in July 2023. He was a 2022 fiction fellow at The Fine Arts Works Center and a 2023 writing fellow at the Oak Springs Garden Foundation. His work was selected for 2023 Best of Microfiction. His fiction has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Guernica, The Master's Review, and Electric Literature, among other places. He has an MFA and PhD from UMass Amherst. He currently teaches film and creative writing at Bryant University.

Sueyeun Juliette Lee ('06) grew up three miles from the CIA. Raised by immigrant Korean war survivors and orphans, she currently lives in Denver, Colorado. Her books include That Gorgeous Feeling (Coconut Press, 2008), Underground National (Factory School, 2010), Solar Maximum (Futurepoem, 2015), No Comet, That Serpent in the Sky Means Noise (Kore Press, 2017), and Aerial Concave Without Cloud (Nightboat, 2022). She was a Pew Fellow in the Arts for Poetry in 2013, and has been awarded arts residencies at Casa Libre En La Solana (AZ), UCross Foundation (WY), The Asian Arts Initiative (PA), Kunstnarhuset Messen (Norway), Hafnorborg (Iceland), the University of Connecticut, and Rockland Woods (WA). She has published numerous essays on Asian American writing and contemporary US experimental poetry, and ran Corollary Press, a chapbook series dedicated to experimental multi-ethnic writing, from 2006-2016. Her video, performance, and installation art have been presented at The Blaffer Museum of Art (TX), Leon Gallery (CO), The Asian Arts Initiative (PA), Artworks Center for Contemporary Art (CO), Chicago’s IN>TIME Performance Art Festival (IL), and Georgia Gallery (CO). Find her at


​​Callum Angus ('17) is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of the story collection A Natural History of Transition (Metonymy Press), which was a 2022 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Fiction, the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and an Oregon Book Award. He has received fellowships from Signal Fire Foundation for the Arts and the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest where he was a Writer-in-Residence in 2018. He holds an MFA in fiction from UMass Amherst, and a BA in geography from Mount Holyoke College. His stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Joyland, Orion, LA Review of Books, and elsewhere. He edits the journal smoke and mold which publishes nature writing, broadly defined, by trans and Two-Spirit writers. 


Reception | Integrative Learning Center Main Common Area 5:30pm | Register

Join us for food and drinks between readings in the ILC Common Area.


Reading | Integrative Learning Center ILCN151, 6:30pm | Register

Join us for a reading with novelists Novuyo Rosa Tshuma & Robert Lopez.

​​Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is the author of Digging Stars: A Novel, forthcoming in 2023 from W. W. Norton, and House of Stone: A Novel (W. W. Norton, 2019), which won the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award and the Bulawayo Arts Award for Outstanding Fiction, and was listed for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Balcones Fiction Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. Tshuma has lectured on House of Stone at the University of Oxford in England, the Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden, and Vassar College in New York, among others. Her Oxford lecture, “Hewing Fiction from History,” was subsequently published in the scholarly journal JSAS, the Journal for Southern African Studies (Vol 47, 2021).

Shadows, her novella and short story collection (Kwela Books, South Africa 2013) won the Herman Charles Bosman Prize and was listed for the Etisalat Prize for African Literature. The recipient of the 2009 Yvonne Vera Award, Zimbabwe’s short fiction prize, Tshuma’s writing has appeared most recently in McSweeney’s, New Daughters of Africa, Ploughshares, and The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. Tshuma is Managing Editor of the Jalada 05/ Transition 123 Fear Issue (Indiana University Press, 2017) and, most recently, the anthology I Am Nala (Nala Feminist Collective, 2022).

The recipient of honors including a 2017 Bellagio Center Literary Arts Residency and a 2020 Lannan Foundation Fiction Fellowship, Tshuma is an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Emerson College. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and has taught community fiction workshops globally. Raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, she currently lives in Boston, MA.


​​Robert Lopez is the author of three novels, Part of the WorldKamby Bolongo Mean River —named one of 25 important books of the decade by HTML Giant, All Back Full, and two story collections, Asunder and Good People and novel-in-stories, A Better Class Of PeopleDispatches from Puerto Nowhere, his first nonfiction book, will be published by Two Dollar Radio in March, 2023. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has appeared in dozens of publications, including Bomb, The Threepenny Review, Vice Magazine, New England Review, The Sun, and the Norton Anthology of Sudden FictionLatino. He teaches at Stony Brook University and has previously taught at Columbia University, The New School, Pratt Institute, and Syracuse University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. 



The 2023 Juniper Literary Festival is a program of the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers’ Juniper Initiative and made possible with generous support from Mass Cultural Council; UMass Arts Council; Office of the Provost; Office of Research and Engagement; Graduate School; College of Humanities & Fine Arts; Department of English; Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; UMass Libraries; Women of Color Leadership Network; and Arts Extension Service.