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Visiting Writers Series Hosts Ocean Vuong Reading and Book Signing

Ocean Vuong

The UMass Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers presents a reading by Ocean Vuong on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. The reading will be followed by a book signing and refreshments. This reading is co-sponsored by the UMass Libraries

This reading is free, accessible, and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase through Amherst Books. The reading will be followed by a book signing and refreshments. 


Ocean Vuong is the author of the debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, out from Penguin Press (2019) and forthcoming in 24 other languages worldwide. A recipient of a 2019 MacArthur "Genius" Grant, he is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize.

Vuong's writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Harpers, 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. Selected by Foreign Policy Magazine as a 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker, alongside Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon and Justin Trudeau, Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers” and has been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS NewsHour, Teen Vogue, VICE, The Fantastic Man, and The New Yorker.

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, and serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst.

Novelist Jeff Parker, director of the UMass Amherst MFA Program, says of Vuong: "We in the MFA program at UMass know Ocean Vuong as a generous mentor and a thoughtful, warm, good-humored spirit and force for good in literature and in the world. On top of all that he is one of the most soulful poets and novelists of our time with urgent, critical, essential stories to share."

Celebrating its fifty-fifth year, the nationally renowned Visiting Writers Series at UMass Amherst presents emerging and established writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. 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, the English Department, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, the Comparative Literature Department, and others.