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Visiting Writers Series

Visiting Writers Series Spring 2019

Celebrating its fifty-fifth 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 are at 8 pm. They are wheel-chair accessible, free and open to the public. (Reading Series Poster)

February 7th, 2019 at 8PM, Old Chapel: Jordy Rosenberg

Author Photo Jordy RosenbergJordy Rosenberg is the author of Confessions of the Fox, a New York Times Editor's Choice selection and longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. He is a professor of 18th-Century Literature, Gender and Sexuality Studies + Critical Theory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

February 21st, 2019 at 8PM, Old Chapel: Kevin Killian

Author Photo Kevin KillianKevin Killian, one of the original “New Narrative” writers, has written three novels, Shy (1989), Arctic Summer (1997), and Spreadeagle (2012), a book of memoirs, and three books of stories. He has also written four books of poetry, most recently Tony Greene Era, from Wonder Books. With Peter Gizzi he has edited My Vocabulary Did This To Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (2008)—for Wesleyan University Press. Wesleyan also brought out Killian and Lew Ellingham’s acclaimed biography of Spicer in 1998. For the San Francisco Poets Theater Killian has written forty-five plays, and the anthology he compiled with David Brazil—The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater 1945-1985—has become the standard book on the subject.  Recent projects include Tagged, Killian’s nude photographs of poets, artists, writers, filmmakers and intellectuals; and, with Dodie Bellamy, Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative Writing 1977-1997 (Nightboat Books).  Two new projects appear in November 2018: Fascination: Memoirs, from Semiotext(e)/MIT, including Triangles in the Sand, Killian’s memories of the musician Arthur Russell; and Stage Fright (from Kenning)—ten plays from the ad hoc performance group San Francisco Poets Theater.  He teaches writing to MFA students at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. (Print a poster)

April 12th, 2019 at 7PM, Old Chapel: Horacio Castellanos Moya

Author photo Horacio Castellanos MoyaHoracio Castellanos Moya is a writer and a journalist from El Salvador. He has published twelve novels, five short story collections, two essay books, and a diary. His novels have been translated into thirteen languages; six of them (Senselessness, The She-Devil in the mirror, Dance with Snakes, Tyrant memory, Revulsion and The Dream of My Return) are available in English. He was granted residencies in a program supported by the Frankfurt International Book Fair (2004-2006) and in the City of Asylum program in Pittsburgh (2006-2008). In 2009, he was guest researcher at the University of Tokyo with a fellowship granted by the Japan Foundation. The Government of Chile awarded him the Manuel Rojas Iberoamerican Prize for Fiction 2014, for his body of work. As a journalist, he was editor of news agencies, magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Guatemala and his own country for two decades. Currently he is associate professor in the Spanish Creative Writing MFA at the University of Iowa.

April 13th, 2019 at 7PM, Old Chapel: Danez Smith

Author photo Danez SmithDanez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award; they also wrote [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Montalvo Arts Center, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Danez's work has been featured widely, appearing on platforms such as Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. Danez’s third collection, “Homie”, will be published by Graywolf in Spring 2020. 


Visiting Writers Series Fall 2018

September 27, 2018 at Great Hall, Old Chapel, 144 Hicks Way: Christine Schutt

photo Christine SchuttChristine Schutt is the author of the novels Prosperous Friends; Florida, a National Book Award finalist; and All Souls, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  She is also the author of three collections of stories,  Nightwork and A Day, A Night, Another Day, Summer, and most recently, Pure Hollywood. Among other honors, Schutt has twice won the O. Henry Short Story Prize.  She is the recipient of the New York Foundation of the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowships.  Schutt lives and teaches in New York.

October 18, 2018 at Great Hall, Old Chapel, 144 Hicks Way: Hoa Nguyen

Born in the Mekong Delta and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Hoa Nguyen is the author of five books of poetry, including As Long As Trees Last and Red Juice: Poems 1998 - 2008. Her most recent book Violet Energy Ingots, also from Wave Books, received a 2017 Griffin Prize for Poetry nomination. She teaches creative writing and poetics for Ryerson University, Bard College, and Miami University as well as in a popular long-running, private workshop.   

October 25, 2018 at Memorial Hall, 134 Hicks Way: MFA Creative Writing Instructors

The MFA for Poets and Writers invites the UMass community to join us for a reading by poets and fiction writers pursuing their MFA who are instructors for undergraduate courses in creative writing (254, 354) and reading fiction (140). Readings will be followed by a panel discussion about the writing process and the many ways of being a writer, as well as information about the undergraduate Creative Writing Letter of Specialization within the English Major. Readers will include Joe Crescente, Amanda Dahill-Moore, Emmalie Dropkin, Zach Frank, Emily Hunerwadel, Taylor McGill, Alyx Raz, and Rabia Saeed. This event is free and open to the public.

November 8 at Memorial Hall, 134 Hicks Way: Martín Espada

Espada photo Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York. He has published almost twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His latest collection of poems from Norton is called Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016). Other books of poems include The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006), Alabanza (2003), A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (2000), Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (1993) and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (1990). His many honors include the 2018 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The title poem of his collection Alabanza, about 9/11, has been widely anthologized and performed. His book of essays, Zapata’s Disciple (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona, and has been issued in a new edition by Northwestern University Press. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston’s Latino community, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (photo: David González)

December 6, 2018 at Memorial Hall, 134 Hicks Way: Gina Apostol

Gina Apostol is the author of four novels. The latest, Insurrecto, about a road trip into the heart of Duterte's Philippines and the history of the relationship between the Philippines and the United States, is also anthologized as "The Unintended" in A Kind of Compass: Stories on Distance; Manila Noir; Go Home!; and Massachusetts Review. A work-in-progress, William McKinley's World, like Insurrecto, uses her research on the Balangiga massacre and the Philippine-American war to cast a lens on our contemporary times. Her third book, Gun Dealers' Daughter, won the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize. Her first two novels, Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, both won the Juan Laya Prize for the Novel (Philippine National Book Award). Her essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Foreign Policy, Gettysburg Review, and others. She lives in New York City and western Massachusetts and grew up in Tacloban, Philippines.