Juniper Summer Writing Institute Announces Reading Series June 16-21

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AMHERST, Mass. — The Juniper Summer Writing Institute hosts readings of prose and poetry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst June 16-21. Readings begin at 7:30 p.m. and are free, accessible and open to the public. Sunday through Thursday readings will take place at Old Chapel. Friday’s reading will be held at the Bezanson Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Center. Books will be available for sale and the authors available for signings.

The Juniper Summer Writing Institute, in association with the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers, brings together writers of all levels to work closely with world-renowned poets and writers. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and memoir are the heart of the program that includes craft sessions and manuscript consultation with guest writers.

Sunday, June 16: Mitchell S. Jackson & Khadijah Queen

Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years was praised by publications including The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Times of London. Jackson is the winner of a Whiting Award and The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Akashic Books 2008), Black Peculiar (Noemi Press 2011), and Fearful Beloved (Argos Books 2015). Individual poems and prose appear in The American Poetry Review, Fence, Tin House, Buzzfeed, Hyperallergic, Gulf Coast, and widely elsewhere. Her fifth book, I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On was published by YesYes Books in March 2017.

Monday, June 17: Dara Wier & Joy Williams

Dara Wier’s newest book of poems in the still of the night was released in fall 2017 from Wave Books. She is a publisher and editor of the small independent press Factory Hollow Press, and the literary magazine jubilat. Joy Williams is the author of five collections of stories including, most recently, 99 Stories of God and The Visiting Privilege, winner of the PEN/Malamud Award. She has also published four novels, including The Quick and the Dead, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and a book of essays, Ill Nature, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Tuesday, June 18: Ross Gay & Jordy Rosenberg

Ross Gay is the author of Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and The Book of Delights. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Jordy Rosenberg is the author of Confessions of the Fox, a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection and shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Confessions was published by Random House US/Canada, Atlantic Books UK, and Allen & Unwin Australia/NZ in 2018, and is forthcoming from Paseka in Czech.

Wednesday, June 19: Jaquira Díaz, Safiya Sinclair & Bianca Stone

Safiya Sinclair is a poet and librettist born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She is the author of Cannibal, winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Bianca Stone is a poet and visual artist. She is the author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, (Tin House & Octopus Books 2014); Poetry Comics From the Book of Hours, (Pleiades, 2016), the illustrated edition of Antigonick, (New Directions, 2012) a collaboration with Anne Carson, and most recently The Mobius Strip Club of Grief, (Tin House, 2018). Jaquira Diaz is the author of Ordinary Girls, a memoir, and I Am Deliberate, a novel, both forthcoming from Algonquin Books. She’s the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, and fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Kenyon Review, and The MacDowell Colony.

Thursday, June 20: CAConrad & LeAnne Howe

CAConrad is the author of nine books of poetry and essays including While Standing in Line for Death, which received the 2018 Lambda Award, A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon, and The Book of Frank. A recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, they also received The Believer Magazine Book Award and The Gil Ott Book Award. LeAnne Howe’s Savage Conversations from Coffee House Press, 2019, is set in 1875 and is the story of Mary Todd Lincoln and a savage Indian spirit she invented who tortures her nightly. A citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, her awards include the Western Literature Association’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award for her body of work; the inaugural 2014 MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures; a 2012 United States Artists Ford Fellowship; a 2010 Fulbright Scholarship to Jordan; and an American Book Award in 2002 for her first novel, Shell Shaker.

Friday, June 21: Noy Holland & Ocean Vuong

Noy Holland’s I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like: New and Selected Stories, was published by Counterpoint in 2017. She has been a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council award for artistic merit and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Ocean Vuong is the author of the best-selling poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, and the debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin 2019). He is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

The Juniper Summer Writing Institute is supported, in part, by the University of Massachusetts Amherst English Department, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Amherst Books, Factory Hollow Press, Fiction Collective 2, The Valley Advocate, the J.E. and Marjorie B. Pittman Foundation and the Edwin L. and Elizabeth L. Skelton Foundation, jubilat, The Massachusetts Review, Orion and individual contributors.

Photographs available on request. Email:

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