Previous Raymond Carver Reading Series
The Raymond Carver Reading Series features twelve to fourteen prominent writers yearly as part of a large undergraduate class taught by TAs from the Creative Writing Program. The readings have an extended Question and Answer session along with a reading. The public is welcome to attend.
Due to the generous support of Leonard and Elise Elman two distinguished authors each year spend two-day residencies at SU: the Richard Elman Visiting Writer and the Leonard and Elise Elman Visting Writer. Learn more about Leonard in his interview with Rob Enslin.
The readings have been recorded and are in the process of being made available online by Bird Library at SUrface.
February 1, 2023
Photo by Qiuhong Yu
Duy Đoàn (pronounced zwē dwän / zwee dwahn) is the author of We Play a Game (Yale University Press), winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. Duy’s work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Poetry, and elsewhere. He has been featured in PBS’s Poetry in America and Poetry magazine’s Editors’ Blog. He received an MFA in poetry from Boston University, where he later served as director of the Favorite Poem Project. He lives in Queens, New York.
Brandon Hobson, the Don MacNaughton Reader
February 22, 2023
Dr. Brandon Hobson is a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow. He received his PhD from Oklahoma State University. His novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking, was a finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Reading the West Award, and longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, among other distinctions.
His short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, NOON, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing at New Mexico State University and at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and he is the editor-in-chief of Puerto del Sol. He is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma.
Nicole Terez Dutton
March 1, 2023
Nicole Terez Dutton's work has appeared in Callaloo, Ploughshares, 32 Poems, Indiana Review and Salt Hill Journal. Nicole earned an MFA from Brown University and has received fellowships from the Frost Place, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her collection of poems, If One Of Us Should Fall, was selected as the winner of the 2011 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She teaches in the Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program and is the Editor of the Kenyon Review.
Katie Kitamura, the Richard Elman Visiting Writer
March 22, 2023
Katie Kitamura’s most recent novel is Intimacies. One of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2021, it was longlisted for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and it was a finalist for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize. It was also one of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2021. Her third novel, A Separation, was a finalist for the Premio von Rezzori and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Gone To The Forest and The Longshot, both finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award.
Her work has been translated into 21 languages and is being adapted for film and television. A recipient of fellowships from the Lannan, Santa Maddalena, and Jan Michalski foundations, Katie has written for publications including The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, Granta, BOMB, Triple Canopy, and Frieze. She teaches in the creative writing program at New York University.
April 5, 2023
Photo by Jean Wilcox
Andrea Cohen’s poems and stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Threepenny Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Glimmer Train, The Hudson Review, etc. A new book of poems, Everything, was published by Four Way Books in 2021. Other collections include Nightshade (Four Way, 2019). Unfathoming (Four Way, 2017), Furs Not Mine (Four Way, 2015), Kentucky Derby (Salmon Poetry, 2011), Long Division (Salmon Poetry, 2009), and The Cartographer's Vacation (Owl Creek Press, 1999).
Cohen’s awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, Glimmer Train's Short Fiction Award, and several fellowships at MacDowell. She taught at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown in the summer of 2022 and the MFA program at Boston University in the fall of 2022. Cohen directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA.
Chinelo Okparanta, the Jane and Daniel Present Lecturer
April 26, 2023
Photo by Obi Umeozor
Born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Chinelo Okparanta received her BS from Pennsylvania State University, her MA from Rutgers University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is currently Associate Professor of English and Director of the Program in Creative Writing at Swarthmore College.
She is a winner of a 2014 Lambda Literary Award, a 2016 Lambda Literary Award, the 2016 Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Award in Fiction, the 2016 Inaugural Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award from the Publishing Triangle, and a 2014 O. Henry Prize. Her debut short story collection, Happiness, Like Water, was cited as an editors’ choice in the New York Times Book Review and was named on the list of The Guardian’s Best African Fiction of 2013. The book was nominated for the Nigerian Writers Award (Young Motivational Writer of the Year), longlisted for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for the 2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award as well as the Etisalat Prize for Literature.
She has published work in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, the Kenyon Review, AGNI, and other venues. In 2017, Okparanta was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. Under the Udala Trees is her first novel. Her second novel is Harry Sylvester Bird (HarperCollins/Mariner Books USA, 2022).
September 14, 2022
Alyssa Songsiridej is a fiction writer from the Midwest who now lives on the East Coast. Her first novel, Little Rabbit, was published by Bloomsbury in May 2022. Her short fiction can be found at StoryQuarterly, The Indiana Review, and Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. She is also an editor at Electric Literature. A 5 under 35 honoree, she lives in Philadelphia.
September 28, 2022
Photo by Kristyn Greenfield of KG Creative Photography, LLC
Marcus Wicker is the author of Silencer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017)—winner of the Society of Midland Authors Award—and Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial, 2012), selected by D.A. Powell for the National Poetry Series. He is the recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship; a Tennessee Arts Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowship, as well as fellowships from The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and Cave Canem. Wicker’s poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, The Atlantic, Oxford American, Poetry and elsewhere. He is Poetry Editor of Southern Indiana Review, and an associate professor of English at the University of Memphis where he teaches in the MFA program.
October 12, 2022
Photo by Ulf Andersen
Jonathan Dee is the author of eight novels, including Sugar Street and The Privileges, which won the St. Francis College Literary Prize and the Prix Fitzgerald and was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize. A National Magazine Award-nominated critic for Harper's and The New Yorker, a former Contributing Writer for The New York Times Magazine, and a former Senior Editor of The Paris Review, he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
October 26, 2022
Ashley Farmer is the author of the essay collection Dear Damage (Sarabande Books, 2022), winner of the 2020 Series in Kentucky Literature, as well as three other books. Her work has been published in places like Gay Magazine, TriQuarterly, The Progressive, Santa Monica Review, Buzzfeed, Flaunt, Nerve, Potomac Review, Gigantic, Salt Hill Journal, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of Ninth Letter’s 2018 Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Review’s 2017 Short Fiction Award, and fellowships from Syracuse University and the Baltic Writing Residency. Ashley lives in Salt Lake City, UT with the writer Ryan Ridge.
November 16, 2022
Photo © Peg Skorpinski
Namwali Serpell was born in Lusaka. Her first novel, The Old Drift (Hogarth, 2019), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book prize for fiction “that confronts racism and explores diversity,” the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, the Grand Prix des Associations Littéraires Prize for Belles-Lettres, and the L.A. Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. She is a co-recipient of a 2020 Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction (with Yiyun Li). In 2014, she was chosen as one of the Africa 39, a Hay Festival project to identify the most promising African writers under 40. In 2011, she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Her novel, The Furrows, will be published in September of 2022 with Hogarth.
She is a Professor of English at Harvard University. Her book of essays, Stranger Faces (Transit Books, 2020), was long listed for a Believer Book Award for Nonfiction and a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.
Vievee Francis, the Elise and Leonard Elman Visiting Writer
December 7, 2022
Photo © Matthew Olzmann
Poet Vievee Francis is the author of The Shared World, which is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press; Forest Primeval (TriQuarterly Books, 2015), winner of the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award; Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize; and Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006). Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, textbooks, and anthologies, including Poetry, Best American Poetry 2010, 2014, 2017, 2019, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She has been a participant in the Cave Canem Workshops, a Poet-in-Residence for the Alice Lloyd Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, and she teaches poetry writing in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop (USA, UK, and Barbados). In 2009 she received a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and in 2010, a Kresge Fellowship. She is the recipient of the 2021 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry.
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, the Jane and Daniel Present Lecturer
February 16, 2022
Photograph © Limitless Imprint Entertainment
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. Originally from Spring Valley, New York, he graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University.
His work has appeared or is forthcoming from numerous publications, including The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Literary Hub, The Paris Review, Guernica, and Longreads. Selected by Colson Whitehead as one of the National Book Foundation's “5 Under 35” honorees, he is the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book and the Aspen Words Literary Prize.
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, the Elise and Leonard Elman Visiting Writer
March 2, 2022
Photo by Mara Casey
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels—Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize—and a story collection, Likes. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, and The Best American Short Stories. The recipient of an O. Henry Award, a Whiting Award, and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by The New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles.
March 23, 2022
Mona Awad is the author of Bunny, named a Best Book of 2019 by TIME, Vogue, and the New York Public Library. It was a finalist for the New England Book Award and a Goodreads Choice Award. It is currently in development for film with Jenni Konner and New Regency Productions. Awad's first novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, TIME, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She teaches fiction in the Creative Writing program at Syracuse University. Her third novel, All’s Well, was published on August 3, 2021.
April 6, 2022
Photo by Tarfia Faizullah
A Cave Canem alumnus, Tommye Blount is the author of Fantasia for the Man in Blue (Four Way Books, 2020)—a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award, Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Publishing Triangle Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry, and Julie Suk Award—and What Are We Not For (Bull City Press, 2016). He graduated from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers and has been the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from Kresge Arts in Detroit and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Born and raised in Detroit, he now lives in the nearby suburb of Novi, Michigan.
April 27, 2022
Rohan Chhetri is a writer and translator. He is the author of Slow Startle (Winner of the Emerging Poets Prize 2015), Jurassic Desire (Winner of the Per Diem Prize 2017) and the forthcoming Lost, Hurt, or in Transit Beautiful (Tupelo Press/ HarperCollinsIN, 2021). A UK edition of the book is coming out from Platypus Press in 2022. He co-edited Shreela Ray: On the Life and Work of an American Master (Unsung Masters Series, 2021) along with Kazim Ali, and he received a 2021 PEN/Heim Grant for translation. His poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Revue Europe, AGNI and New England Review, and they have been translated into Greek and French.
May 4, 2022
Jules Gibbs is the author of the poetry collections Snakes & Babies (2021) and Bliss Crisis (2012), both published by The Sheep Meadow Press, as well as a chapbook from Dancing Girl Press, The Bulk of the Mailable Universe (2011.) Her work was selected for the Best New Poets anthology, and has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She serves as the poetry editor for the national political magazine, The Progressive, as well as for Corresponding Voices, a bilingual magazine of cross-cultural and intersectional poetics based at Punto de Contacto Gallery, where she serves on the board of directors, and also curates the Cruel April reading series. Jules has won awards from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation in Poetry, and has been awarded fellowships from the Ucross Foundation and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Jules has been a visiting professor at Hamilton College, has taught poetry and creative nonfiction at the Downtown Writers Center in Syracuse, and has been a poet-in-residence in Syracuse and Houston city schools. She has taught literature and creative writing at Syracuse University since 2010, where she also serves as Vice President for Adjuncts United teachers' union, representing the rights and interests of part-time faculty.
September 15, 2021
Photo by Jessica Marx
Dana Spiotta is the author of five novels: Wayward (2021), Innocents and Others (2016), winner of the St. Francis College Literary Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Stone Arabia (2011), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Eat the Document (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the American Academy's Rosenthal Foundation Award; and Lightning Field (2001), a New York Times Notable Book. Other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the Rome Prize in Literature, the Premio Pivano, a Creative Capital Award, and the John Updike Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Jamaal May, the Richard Elman Visiting Writer
September 29, 2021
Photo by Tarfia Faizullah
Jamaal May was born and raised in Detroit. His first book, Hum (2013), won a Beatrice Hawley Award and an American Library Association Notable Book Award and was an NAACP Image Award nominee. May’s poems have appeared widely in journals such as Poetry, New England Review, The Believer, and Best American Poetry 2014. His second collection is The Big Book of Exit Strategies (2016). May’s honors and awards include a Spirit of Detroit Award, an Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and fellowships from Cave Canem, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Frost Place, the Lannan Foundation, and the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University.
Daniel M. Lavery
October 13, 2021
Photo by Grace Lavery
Daniel M. Lavery is the co-founder of The Toast and the author of three books: Texts From Jane Eyre (2014), which was a New York Times bestseller; The Merry Spinster (2018); and Something That May Shock and Discredit You (2020). Lavery wrote the “Dear Prudence” advice column at Slate from 2016 to 2021 and currently writes an email newsletter at Substack called The Shatner Chatner. He also hosts the Slate podcast Big Mood, Little Mood.
October 27, 2021
Major Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, including The Absurd Man (2020), Roll Deep (2015), Holding Company (2010), Hoops (2006) and Leaving Saturn (2002), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. His edited volumes include Best American Poetry 2019, Renga for Obama, and Library of America’s Countee Cullen: Collected Poems. A recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Major Jackson has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and a Whiting Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. He has published poems and essays in American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, Orion Magazine, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry London, and Zyzzva. Major Jackson lives in Nashville, Tennessee where he is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. He serves as the Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review.
November 10, 2021
Photo by Sarah Shatz
Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre (2016), which won the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America. It was also shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Award, longlisted for the National Book Award, and named one of the best poetry books of 2016 by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and BuzzFeed. Her previous book Ignatz (2010) was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has been awarded the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Witter Bytter Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and a Stegner Fellowship among other honors. A former attorney and the daughter of Korean immigrants, she now teaches poetry at Princeton University and is a member of the Racial Imaginary Institute.
December 8, 2021
Photo by Bill Adams
Brandon Taylor is the author of the novel Real Life (2020), which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, as well as The National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize and the 2021 Young Lions Fiction Award. His work has appeared in Guernica, American Short Fiction, Gulf Coast, Buzzfeed Reader, O: The Oprah Magazine, Gay Mag, The New Yorker online, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow.
Kirstin Valdez Quade
February 24, 2021
Photo by Maggie Shipstead
Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of Night at the Fiestas, which won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. It was a New York Times Notable Book and was named a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association. She is the recipient of the John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Her first novel, The Five Wounds, will be published in April 2021. Before joining the faculty at Princeton, she taught at Stanford University and the University of Michigan.
March 10, 2021
Photo by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (used with permission)
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa, and India. The recipient of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship, she is the author of the novels Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth, and Lost Children Archive, and the books of essays Sidewalks and Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, and an American Book Award, and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, the Booker Prize, and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She has taught at Bard College since 2019 and lives in New York City.
Ilya Kaminsky, the Elise and Leonard Elman Visiting Writer
March 24, 2021
Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. He is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press) and Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press). He has also co-edited and co-translated many other books, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins) and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (Alice James Books). His awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, Lannan Foundation's Fellowship and the NEA Fellowship. Dancing In Odessa was named the Best Book of the Year by Foreword magazine. Deaf Republic was a finalist for 2019 National Book Award, Forward Prize (UK) and T.S. Eliot Prize (UK). Currently, he holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry at Georgia Institute of Technology and lives in Atlanta.
Percival Everett, the Richard Elman Visiting Writer
April 7, 2021
Percival Everett is the author of more than thirty novels and story collections, including Telephone, So Much Blue, Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, and Erasure. Everett has won the Dos Passos Prize, the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction, the 2010 Believer Book Award, the Premio Gregor von Rezzori, a Creative Capital Award, and the Academy Award in Literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. The recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship, Everett is currently a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.
April 28, 2021
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast, finalist for the PEN Open Book and Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Nam ed, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her honors include a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, and a Poetry International Prize, as well as fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, Cave Canem, MacDowell, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2018, The New Yorker, the Paris Review and elsewhere. Formerly the executive director at Cave Canem Foundation, she is the 2020–21 Distinguished Visiting Poet in Syracuse University’s M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing.
May 12, 2021
Brooks Haxton has published eight books of original poems, one book of creative nonfiction, and four books of translations from French, German, and Classical Greek. Some of his most recent books are They Lift Their Wings to Cry (a collection of poems from Knopf), Fading Hearts on the River (nonfiction from Counterpoint Press) and My Blue Piano (translations of poems by Else Lasker-Schüler from Syracuse University Press). His ninth collection of poems, Mister Toebones, will be published by Knopf in March 2021. He has received awards, fellowships, and grants of support for original poetry, translation, and scriptwriting from the NEA, NEH, Guggenheim Foundation, and others. He has taught at Syracuse University since 1993.
September 9, 2020
Photo By Hieu Minh Nguyen
Kaveh Akbar’s poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Times, Paris Review, The Nation, Best American Poetry, The New Republic, The Guardian, American Poetry Review, The Poetry Review, PBS NewsHour, and elsewhere. His second full-length volume of poetry, Pilgrim Bell, will be published by Graywolf in 2021. His debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, is out now with Alice James in the US and Penguin in the UK. The recipient of honors including a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, multiple Pushcart Prizes, the Levis Reading Prize, and a Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, and teaches at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson.
Kaveh founded Divedapper, a home for dialogues with the most vital voices in American poetry. With Sarah Kay and Claire Schwartz, he writes a weekly column for the Paris Review called "Poetry RX." Previously, he ran The Quirk, a for-charity print literary journal. Kaveh is currently editing an anthology of poetry of the spirit for Penguin Classics.
Deb Olin Unferth
September 23, 2020
Photo by Nick Berard
Deb Olin Unferth is the author of six books of fiction and nonfiction, including, most recently, the novel Barn 8 (Graywolf, March 2020). Her writing has appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, Granta, Vice, Tin House, NOON, the New York Times, and McSweeney’s. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Pushcart Prizes, she grew up in Chicago and received an M.F.A. from Syracuse University. She is now an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches for the Michener Center for Writers and the New Writers Project.
An advocate of prison reform, Unferth founded and runs the Pen City Writers, a creative-writing certificate program at a maximum security prison in southern Texas. For this work she won the 2017 Texas Governor's Criminal Justice Service Award and the 2017 American Short Fiction Community Star Award.
Janice N. Harrington
October 7, 2020
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Janice N. Harrington writes poetry and children’s books. She grew up in Alabama and Nebraska, and both those settings, especially rural Alabama, figure largely in her writing. Her first book of poetry, Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone (2007), won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her second book of poetry, The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home, came out in 2011, and her third book, Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin, appeared in 2016. She is also the winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award for emerging women writers.
Harrington's children’s books have won many awards and citations, including a listing among TIME Magazine’s top 10 children’s books and the Ezra Jack Keats Award from the New York Public Library.
Harrington’s poetry appears regularly in American literary magazines. She has worked as a public librarian and now teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Illinois.
The Jane and Daniel Present Lecturer
October 21, 2020
Photo by Nina Subin
Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist. Her most recent novel, The Shadow King, was called “a brilliant novel…compulsively readable” by Salman Rushdie. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by The Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and other publications. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The Guardian, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places. Maaza’s fiction and nonfiction examines the individual lives at stake during migration, war, and exile, and considers the intersections of photography, memory, and violence. She was a writer on the documentary projects, GIRL RISING and THE INVISIBLE CITY: KAKUMA.
November 4, 2020
Jaswinder Bolina is an American writer. Of Color, his first collection of essays, was published by McSweeney’s in June 2020, and The 44th of July, his most recent collection of poetry, was released by Omnidawn in April 2019. His previous collections include Phantom Camera (winner of the 2012 Green Rose Prize in Poetry from New Issues Press), Carrier Wave (winner of the 2006 Colorado Prize for Poetry from the Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University), and the digital chapbook The Tallest Building in America (Floating Wolf Quarterly 2014). An international edition of Phantom Camera is available from Hachette India. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and been included in The Best American Poetry series.
His essays can be found at The Poetry Foundation, McSweeney’s, Himal Southasian, The Writer, and other magazines. He currently teaches on the faculty of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Miami.
November 18, 2020
Photo by Iryna Farria
Dewaine Farria’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Rumpus, The Mantle, CRAFT, and the Southern Humanities Review, and he co-edits The Maine Review’s weekly “Embody” Column. Tobias Wolff selected his novel, Revolutions of All Colors, as the winner of Syracuse University’s 2019 Veterans Writing Contest. Syracuse University Press will release the book in the fall of 2020.
Farria holds an MA in International and Area Studies from the University of Oklahoma, where—as a David L. Boren National Security Education Program Fellow—he studied at the Kyiv Linguistic Institute in Ukraine. He also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
As a U.S. Marine, he served in Jordan and Ukraine. Besides his stint in the military, he has spent most of his professional life working for the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), with assignments in the North Caucasus, Kenya, Somalia, and Occupied Palestine. He was awarded UNDSS’s Bravery Award for his actions during an attack on the UNDP compound in Mogadishu in June 2013. He currently lives in Manila and is a Senior Security and Emergency Services Specialist for the Asian Development Bank.
January 29, 2020
Bruce Smith is the author of several books of poems, including Spill (2018), Devotions (2011), Songs for Two Voices (2005), and The Other Lover (2000), a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. A “Discovery”/The Nation Award winner, Smith has received a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Arts. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry (2003 and 2004) and the 2009 Pushcart Prize anthology. Smith has been a co-editor of the Graham House Review and a contributing editor of Born Magazine. He has taught at the University of Alabama and Syracuse University.
February 12, 2020
Photo by Kim Newmoney
Chanelle Benz has published work in Guernica, Granta.com, The New York Times, Electric Literature, The American Reader, Fence and others, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize. Her story collection The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead was published in 2017 by Ecco/HarperCollins. It was named a Best Book of 2017 by The San Francisco Chronicle and one of Electric Literature’s 15 Best Short Story Collections of 2017. It was also shortlisted for the 2018 Saroyan Prize and longlisted for the 2018 PEN/Robert Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Story Prize. Her novel The Gone Dead was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June 2019 and was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and a Tonight Show Summer Reads Finalist. It was named a best new book of the summer by O, The Oprah Magazine, Time, Southern Living, and Nylon. She currently lives in Memphis where she teaches at Rhodes College.
February 26, 2020
Bryan Washington is the author of Lot (Riverhead) and the forthcoming Memorial (Riverhead). He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times Style Magazine, BuzzFeed, the BBC, Vulture, The Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, MUNCHIES, American Short Fiction, GQ, FADER, The Awl, The Believer, Hazlitt, and Catapult. He is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 recipient, and the winner of the O. Henry Award.
Diana Khoi Nguyen
March 11, 2020
A poet and multimedia artist, Diana Khoi Nguyen is the author of Ghost Of (2018), which was selected by Terrance Hayes for the Omnidawn Open Contest. In addition to winning the 92Y “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Contest, 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and Colorado Book Award, she was also a finalist for the National Book Award and L.A. Times Book Prize. A Kundiman fellow, she is currently a writer-in-residence at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and teaches in the Randolph College MFA.