Orange Alert

Nonfiction Reading Series

About the Series

Welcome to the Nonfiction Reading Series sponsored by the Syracuse University Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition.

The Nonfiction Reading Series features local, national, and international writers of all types of nonfiction: memoir and autobiography, the personal essay, political essays, and historical narrative, among others. The series launched officially in spring 2008 with the signature event "What is Nonfiction?" headlined by Judith Kitchen and Minnie Bruce Pratt. In addition to sponsoring local, regional, national, and international writers, the series features undergraduate, graduate, and faculty writers from the SU campus presenting their works in-progress.

Best of Student Nonfiction Series—Spring 2019

Friday, April 12
1:00-2:30 (reception to follow)
Tolley 304

This annual reading features undergraduate and graduate students reading the dynamic nonfiction writing that they've developed in our creative nonfiction courses. Come out to hear students from WRT 114, WRT 422, and the Writing and Rhetoric Distinction class read their work.    

The readers and the instructors/people who nominated them are: 

Fiona Lew  (nominated by Santee Frazier)

Hannah Cohen (nominated by Anne Fitzimmons)

Zuzanna Mlynarczyk (nominated by Rae Ann Meriwether)

Emily Martin (nominated by Chris Feikies)

Casey Barrasso (nominated by Vanessa Watts)

Crisanta (Risa) Wadhams (nominated by Ivy Kleinbart)

Maizy Ludden (nominated by Steve Thorley)

Lia Figurelli (nominated by Sue Woltman)

Rafaela Evans (Distinction Class, nominated by Danielle Schaf)

This event is free and open to the public. 

Bridging the Divide between Creative Nonfiction and Historical Fiction
Dr. Kim van Alkemade—Fall 2018


Thursday, October 4
3:30-5:00 (reception to follow)
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (room 114)
Bird Library
Syracuse University

Kim van Alkemade is New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 (William Morrow, 2015) and Bachelor Girl (Touchstone, 2018). She is Professor of English and Writing at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to her two books, Kim's creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. For more on her work, see:

This event is free and open to the public. Classes are welcome to attend as well.
CART will be provided.

Best of Student Nonfiction Series—Spring 2018

Thursday, April 26
4:00-5:30 (reception to follow)
Schine 228B

This annual reading features undergraduate and graduate students reading the dynamic nonfiction writing that they've developed in our creative nonfiction courses, including WRT 114, WRT 422 and WRT438/CCR 638 here in the Writing Program and Honors 340 Creative Nonfiction.

Our readers will be:

Amariah DeJesus, Poussey no Pussy

Chandler Plante, Learning How to Cut

Grace Richardson, Her Name Was Hayley

Olivia DeLorenzo, Counting Ribs

Danielle Schaf, Homecoming

Noa Siegel, When War is Mom and Dad

Lauren Pernick, A Terrible Time of Day

This event is free and open to the public. Classes are welcome to attend as well.

Best of Student Nonfiction Series—Spring 2017

Thursday, April 13
3:30-5:00 (reception to follow)
500 Hall Languages

This annual reading features undergraduate and graduate students reading the dynamic nonfiction writing that they've developed in our creative nonfiction courses, including WRT 114, WRT 422 and WRT438/CCR 638 here in the Writing Program and Honors 340 Creative Nonfiction.

Our readers will be:

Jenna Morrisey
Sarah Crawford
Julie Hikari Mebane
Dabota Wilcox
Herve Comeau
Zach Barlow
Kate Conley
Nedda Sarshar

This event is free and open to the public. Classes are welcome to attend as well.

Nonfiction Reading Series Fall 2016—Annie Liontas and Jeff Parker


Thursday, November 17 


500 Hall of Languages

Syracuse University

Please join the Nonfiction Reading Series  for a reading and discussion by Annie Liontas and Jeff Parker, editors of A Manner of Being: Writers on their Mentors.  Following the reading, there will be a reception and book signing.  This reading is free and open to the public. 

What do the punk singer Henry Rollins, the Guatemalan writer Rodrigo Rey Rosa, the American authors Tobias Wolff, Tayari Jones, and George Saunders, the Canadian writer Sheila Heti, and the Russian poet Polina Barskova have in common? At some point they all studied the art of writing deeply with someone.

The nearly seventy short essays in A Manner of Being, by some of the best contemporary writers from around the world, pay homage to mentors—the writers, teachers, nannies, and sages—who enlighten, push, encourage, and sometimes hurt, fail, and limit their protégés. There are mentors encountered in the schoolhouse and on farms, in NYC and in MFA programs; mentors who show up exactly when needed, offering comfort, a steadying hand, a commiseration, a dose of tough love. This collection is rich with anecdotes from the heartfelt to the salacious, gems of writing advice, and guidance for how to live the writing life in a world that all too often doesn’t care whether you write or not.

Each contribution is intimate and distinct—yet a common theme is that mentors model a manner of being.

Annie Liontas' debut novel, Let Me Explain You (Scribner), was featured in The New York Times Book Review as Editor's Choice and was selected by the ABA as a 2015 Indies Introduce Debut and Indies Next title. She is the co-editor of the anthology A Manner of Being: Writers on their Mentors. Annie was the 2016 Visiting Writer at UCDavis. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, BOMB, Guernica, Ninth Letter and Lit. Since 2003, she has been dedicated to urban education, working with teachers and youth in Newark and Philadelphia. Annie lives across the street from the best pizza jawn with her wife and cat. Follow her @aliontas.

Jeff Parker is the author of several books including Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal (Harper Collins), the novel Ovenman (Tin House), and the short story collection The Taste of Penny (Dzanc). With Pasha Malla he co-"wrote" the book of found sports poetry Erratic Fire, Erratic Passion (Featherproof). With Annie Liontas he co-edited the anthology A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors (UMass Press). With Mikhail Iossel he co-edited the anthologies Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia (Tin House) and Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States (Dalkey Archive). He also co-translated the novel Sankya (Dzanc) by Zakhar Prilepin from the Russian. He is the Director of the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, and he teaches in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. For more:

Sponsored by the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition's Nonfiction Reading Series, the English Department, and the Creative Writing Program.

Nonfiction Reading Series Fall 2016—Nancy Sherman


A Reading and Discussion with Nancy Sherman

October 14
207 Hall of Languages

Please join the Nonfiction Reading Series and the Moral Injury Project of Syracuse University for a reading and discussion by Dr. Nancy Sherman, author of Afterwar and the Untold War on Friday, October 14th, from 2:30-4:00 p.m. in 207 Hall of Languages. Following her reading, there will be a reception and book signing.  This reading is free and open to the public. 

"Trained in both ancient ethics and psychoanalysis, and with twenty years of experience working with the military, Sherman draws on in-depth interviews with servicemen and women to paint a richly textured and compassionate picture of the moral and psychological aftermath of America's longest wars. . . .  2.6 million soldiers are currently returning home from war, the greatest number since Vietnam. Facing an increase in suicides and post-traumatic stress, the military has embraced measures such as resilience training and positive psychology to heal mind as well as body. Sherman argues that some psychological wounds of war need a kind of healing through moral understanding that is the special province of philosophical engagement and listening."

Professor Sherman is University Professor at Georgetown and Professor of Philosophy. She has a University Affiliate appointment at Georgetown Law’s Center on National Security and the Law and is a Faculty Affiliate at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. 

Nancy Sherman received her BA from Bryn Mawr College and her PhD from Harvard. She received her MLitt from the University of Edinburgh. From 1997 to 1999 Ms Sherman served as the first Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the US Naval Academy, designing the brigade-wide required military ethics course as well as laying the groundwork for the new Stockdale Ethics Center. She has taught at Yale, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Maryland and has trained in psychoanalysis at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. Since 1995, she has consulted for the U.S. Armed Forces on issues of ethics, resilience, and posttraumatic stress, lecturing at the Uniformed Services University, Walter Reed Army Hospital, the National Defense University, and many other military academies, bases, and veterans groups throughout the U. S. as well as abroad. In October 2005, Ms Sherman visited Guantanamo Bay Detention Center as part of an independent observer team, assessing the medical and mental health care of detainees. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs. 

Professor Sherman has received fellowships for her work from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council for Learned Societies, the Mellon Foundation, the Yale Whitney Humanities Center, the American Philosophical Society, and the Newcombe Fellowship of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Sherman is a New York Times Notable Author. At Harvard she was awarded the George Plympton Adam Prize for the most distinguished dissertation in the area of history of philosophy, 1982. She received the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute’s Gary O. Morris Award for her psychoanalytic writing in 1999. 

Professor Sherman has served on the National Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association, elected as Representative of the Association’s Eastern Division, 2007-2010. She has been a frequent contributor in the media, appearing, among other places, on the Diane Rehm Show, the Kojo Namdi Show, PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, BBC, Australian, Broadcasting System, Canadian Broadcasting System, MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, WABC, This American Life, The Leonard Lopate Show, Here and Now, and many NPR affiliates. Her articles, opinion pieces, and reviews of her work have appeared widely in the press, including in The New York Times, The LA Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Huffington Post, The Chronicle Review, The San Diego Tribune, The Denver Post, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, The Dallas Morning News, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the Pittsburgh Gazette, the Hartford Courant, the Providence Journal, the Post and Courier, Dissent, and the Philosophers’ Magazine among other venues. She is a contributor to the New York Time's Stone and Psychology Today. 

Her publications include Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of our Soldiers (Oxford, 2015); The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of our Soldiers (W.W. Norton, 2010); Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind (Oxford, 2005); Making a Necessity of Virtue: Aristotle and Kant on Virtue (Cambridge, 1997); The Fabric of Character: Aristotle's Theory of Virtue, (Oxford 1989, translated in Spanish, 1998); Critical Essays on the Classics: Aristotle's Ethics, Ed. (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999). She has written over 60 articles in the area of ethics, military ethics, the history of moral philosophy, ancient ethics, the emotions, moral psychology, and psychoanalysis.

Sponsored by the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition's Nonfiction Reading Series, the Meredith Professorship,  the  Institute for Veterans and Military Families,  The Department of Philosophy, The Veterans' Resource Center, and The Moral Injury Project.  

Best of Student Nonfiction Series—Spring 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2015
3:30-5:00, reception to follow
500 Hall of Languages
Syracuse University

Please join us for the Best of Student Nonfiction Reading, featuring undergraduate and graduate students reading the dynamic nonfiction writing that they've developed in the undergraduate and graduate creative nonfiction and narrative writing classes here in the Writing Program and in Women's and Gender Studies.

Our readers will be

Amanda Gialil
Amanda Gibbs
Vani Kannan
Jennith Lucas
Joshua Nelson
Katie Reed
others to be announced

Best of Student Nonfiction Reading—Spring 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015
4:00-5:30, reception to follow
500 Hall of Languages
Syracuse University

Please join us for the Best of Student Nonfiction Reading, featuring undergraduate and graduate students reading the dynamic nonfiction writing that they've developed in the undergraduate and graduate creative nonfiction and narrative writing classes here in the Writing Program and in Women's and Gender Studies.

Our readers will be

Carol Pelz, "Semper Fidelis"
Julie Kim, "The Heart's Language"
Lauren Salla, Untitled
Geghard Arakelia,n "The Spear, The Maiden, and the Mountainside"
Ashley O'Mara, "The Body in Christ"
Stephen Sbiroli, "Needle in a Haystack"
Athena Sorrel, "The Art of Falling"
Annemarie Menna, "Cigarettes and Crazy"

Creative nonfiction is flourishing in the global 21st century, as writers combine journalism, poetry & memoir, history & activism, war & peace, philosophy & tall-tale-telling—just about any form and any "subject" you can imagine. This is writing from in-between and overlapping spaces, from people writing out lives of many identities, multiple perspectives, and layers of locations.

Nonfiction Reading Series—Fall 2014


Laura Gray-Rosendale

Thursday, October 9
500 Hall of Languages

Laura Gray-Rosendale will be reading from her book College Girl in the Writing Program's Nonfiction Reading Series. There will be a book-signing afterward sponsored by the SU Bookstore.

College Girl recounts Gray-Rosendale's experiences surviving a sexual assault and her path from the trauma of the assault, which occurred while she was enrolled in college here at Syracuse University, to her recovery and her public work and writing to give voice to the survivors of sexual assault. For more on the book, see

Professor Gray-Rosendale is Professor of English and President's Distinguished Teaching Fellow at Northern Arizona University, holds two Master's and a Doctorate from Syracuse University. In addition to authoring forty articles, essays, and book chapters, Gray-Rosendale has authored or co-edited six books— Rethinking Basic Writing (Routledge), Alternative Rhetorics (SUNY), Fractured Feminisms (SUNY), Radical Relevance (SUNY), Pop Perspectives (McGraw-Hill), and College Girl: A Memoir (SUNY/Excelsior). College Girl was a Gold Medal Winner for the 2014 IPPY Award, a Book of the Year for Mountain Living, a Finalist for the May Sarton Memoir Award, and a Finalist for the USA Books Award in Memoir.

Gray-Rosendale teaches classes from the first-year through graduate levels in rhetoric and popular culture, memoir, graduate composition, literacy studies, theories of autobiography, and the history of rhetoric. She also directs the S.T.A.R. (Successful Transition and Academic Readiness) English Writing Program for the LEADS Center, a curriculum that addresses the needs of students who are first-generation and/or in economic need.

This event is sponsored by The Writing Program, The Humanities Center, The Department of English, The Department of Anthropology, The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Labor Studies Working Group.

The reading is free and open to SU students, faculty, and staff, and also to the general public. 

Nonfiction Reading Series—Spring 2014

Student Nonfiction Reading

Thursday, April 10


500 Hall of Languages

Syracuse University

Please join us for the Student Nonfiction Reading, featuring undergraduate and graduate students reading the dynamic creative nonfiction they've developed in WRT 114 and 422, AAS 338 and CCR 760/WGS 700 classes.


Brent C. Elder, “Mzungu”

Naomi C. Falk, "Me Looking My Age" 

Johnathan Harper, "Prompts": An excerpt from "Birthday Poems" 

Daisy Hayes, “The RA Trinity: Protocol, Reality and the Alter Ego” 

Haskell King, “Sketches of Home” 

Emily Latainer, “One October” 

Eashaa D. Parekh, “Ghatkopar Diaries” 

Jessica Palomo, “Throne” 

Erika Sandoval, “Child’s Play” 

Anastasia Selby, "Orion" 

Kaitlyn Woelfel, “Not So Anonymous Alcoholics”

Creative nonfiction is flourishing in the global 21st century, as writers combine journalism, poetry & memoir, history & activism, war & peace, philosophy & tall-tale-telling—just about any form and any "subject" you can imagine. This is writing from in-between and overlapping spaces, from people writing out lives of many identities, multiple perspectives, and layers of locations.

NFRS—Fall 2013—Cheryl Strayed


Cheryl Strayed

Wednesday, November 20


Gifford Auditorium 

H.B. Crouse Hall 

Syracuse University

"At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her."

Cheryl Strayed G'02 (Photo by Joni Kabana)

Cheryl Strayed is the author of #1 New York Times bestseller Wild, the New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon's production company, Pacific Standard. Wild was selected as the winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Indie Choice Award, an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. Strayed's writing has appeared in The Best Americam Essays, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Missouri Review, The Sun, The Rumpus—where she has written the popular "Dear Sugar" column since 2010—and elsewhere. Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages around the world. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children.

here also will be a question and answer session with students from 3:45 to 4:30.

This event is co-sponsored by the Syracuse University Writing Program and the  Raymond Carver Reading Series.

NFRS—Fall 2013—Melissa Febos


Melissa Febos

Thursday, October 31


001 Life Sciences Building

Syracuse University

The Writing Program is pleased to announce that the first Nonfiction Reading Series reader of Fall 2013 will be Melissa Febos, author of Whip-Smart: The True
Story of a Secret Life (2010, St. Martin's Press). Febos will be reading from her fearless and illuminating memoir about working as a dominatrix at a Manhattan dungeon. As the New York Press put it, Melissa Febos "ably dissects her own and others' psychological urges and sexual politics and presents it in a way that renders the title apt."

For more on the book, a trailer for it, and an author biography, see National Public Radio featured an interview with Febos.


Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press, 2010). Her work has been widely anthologized and appeared in publications including Glamour, Salon, Dissent, New York Times, Bitch Magazine, The Rumpus, Drunken Boat, Hunger Mountain, The Portland Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education Review. She has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, CNN’s Dr. Drew, Anderson Cooper Live, and elsewhere. The winner of the 2013 Prairie Schooner Creative Nonfiction prize, she is the recipient of a 2012 Bread Loaf nonfiction fellowship, and 2010 & 2011 MacDowell Colony fellowships. Melissa has co-curated the Mixer Reading and Music Series in Manhattan for six years, and is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University and MFA faculty at Sarah Lawrence College and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). A member of the board of directors for VIDA, Women in Literary Arts, she grew up on Cape Cod, and lives in Brooklyn.

There will be a book signing and reception to follow the reading. SU Bookstore will be on site selling copies of the book.

NFSR—Spring 2013—Brad Herzog


Wednesday, April 10
500 Hall of Languages
Syracuse University

The Writing Program is pleased to announce that the final Nonfiction Reading Series reader of Spring 2013 will be Brad Herzog.

Herzog is author of States of Mind, Small World, and Turn Left at the Trojan Horse, as well as numerous children's books. Herzog spends a couple of months each year traveling in an RV with his wife and sons, and these experiences have helped him to create his three travel memoirs: "It is, as Mark Twain once put it, 'pleasuring with a vengeance.'"

Of his decision to become a writer, Herzog writes, "I suppose it was Bilbo Baggins who made me a writer. In the sixth grade, I read The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale of a fellow who prefers the comforts of home but soon develops a taste for adventure (which sounds a lot like me). I was awed by the world created from an author’s imagination – by the profound possibilities of filling a blank page. I immediately began a fantasy novel of my own, completing a few paragraphs before promptly giving up. As has been said before, easy reading is hard writing. "

"What's best about Herzog's writing is not so much the goal but the search along the way—as it is always in those memorable travel books that rise to the level of literature... A Herzog book eschews the obviously strange, trading it for a fascination with the ordinary."— American Book Review

"This is how a quest should be done: You bundle up everything you know. You take stock of who you are and who you aren't. You head out armed with humility and outrageous playfulness. You look for meaning, laughing at your own self-consciousness... Herzog's stitching is so good, so seamless — he follows Odysseus' story until it becomes his own... Herzog looks, listens and gives us dozens of real characters and plenty of reasons to leave home."— Los Angeles Times

NFSR—Spring 2013—Student Reading


Wednesday, March 27


500 Hall of Languages

Syracuse University

Please join us for the Student Nonfiction Reading, featuring undergraduate and graduate students reading the dynamic creative nonfiction they've developed in WRT 114 and 422, AAS 338 and CCR 760/WGS 700 classes.

Featured readers:

Peter Harrington, "Grazi"

Karrieann Soto, from "Intersections of a DiaspoRican"

Nicky Zamoida, "In Their Shoes"

Elaina Crockett, "Mr."

Kassie Brabaw, from "The Death Knell"

Courtney Hytower, "Pathways of Life"

Red Thomas, "Smoke Break"

Andrew Miller, "An Ugly Place"

Becca Glaser, from "Activism, Suicide & Survival: Healing the UnHealable"

Follow Up Story

NFRS—Spring 2013—James D Johnson


Wednesday, February 20
Kittredge Auditorium, H.B. Crouse (basement)
Syracuse University

The Writing Program is pleased to announce that the first Nonfiction Reading Series reader of Spring 2013 will be James D. Johnson. Dr. Johnson will read from his book Combat Trauma: A Personal Look at Long-term Consequences. Members of the Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group will also participate in the reading.

As chaplain during the Vietnam War with the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Division, Johnson didn’t carry a gun, but was in 22 firefights, 10 of which turned into major battles. Serving with the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta for nearly a year beginning in July 1967, Chaplain Johnson was determined to be with his men when they needed him most, during combat. After Vietnam, Johnson stayed in the Army serving at Fort Bliss and in Germany. After 15 years, Lt. Col. Johnson retired from the Army and earned his doctorate in marriage and family counseling.

Nearly four decades after serving in Vietnam, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) overtook Johnson, forcing him to give up his career. In his new book, Johnson and 15 of his comrades share their intimate experiences of the combat they waged in Vietnam, and that they continue to wage inside themselves.

Dr. Johnson holds degrees from Wake Forest University, Long Island University, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a doctorate from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He received several Bronze Stars for valor, the Air Medal, and several Army Commendation and Meritorious Service Medals.

NFRS—Fall 2012—Mary Karr


November 7, 2012
Gifford Auditorium
Huntington Beard Crouse Hall
Q &A: 3:45-4:30 pm
Reading: 5:30 pm

Mary Karr, Professor of Creative Writing in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University , and award-winning, best-selling memoirist. Her New York Times bestsellers include Lit (2009), The Liars’ Club (1995), and Cherry (2001).

This event is co-sponsored by the Syracuse University Writing Program and the Raymond Carver Reading Series.

NFRS—Spring 2012—Student Reading


Creative Nonfiction from the Writing Program
Wednesday, April 18, 4-5:30
Katzer Room, 347 Hinds Hall
Syracuse University

Please join us for the final Nonfiction Reading Series event of the year, featuring undergraduate students reading the dynamic creative nonfiction they've developed in our WRT 114 and WRT 422 classes.

Featured readers are:

Kaitlyn Monteiro "Castle Pub"
Sarah Schuster "Bread and Cheese for Your Sins"
Ian Chin "Waiting for Mom"
Meredith Jeffers "The Inevitability of Elsewhere"
Ginger Gunnip "A Soldier Dreams"

This is writing from in-between and overlapping spaces, from those writing out lives of many identities, multiple perspectives, and layers of locations.

Sponsored by The Syracuse University Writing Program

NFRS—Spring 2012—Arthur Flowers


February 9
3:30-5:00 pm
500 Hall of Languages
Follow up story

The Writing Program is pleased to announce that the first Nonfiction Reading Series reader of 2012 will be our SU colleague Arthur Flowers, author of the graphic nonfiction book I See the Promised Land, which traverses the milestones of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s short life, ministry, and journey. The book features the musical prose of Flowers and art from Manu Chitrakar, a scroll painter from Bengal India.

For more on I See the Promised Land, check out a video of Flowers performing the book. Copies of the book will be for sale by SU Bookstore at the reading.

Arthur Flowers is a novelist, essayist, and performance poet. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, he is the author of the novels, Another Good Loving Blues and De Mojo Blues; a children's book, Cleveland Lee's Beale Street Band; a memoir/manifesto, Mojo Rising: Confessions of a 21st Century Conjureman; and the graphic nonfiction book, I See The Promise Land. He has published shorts and articles and is a blues-based performance poet. He is a founding member/director of New Renaissance Writers Guild, NYC, The Griot Shop, Memphis, and the Pan African Literary Forum. He has been Executive Director of the Harlem Writers Guild. He has been the recipient of NEA and NYSFA awards in fiction and nonfiction. He is a faculty member in the English Department/Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.

His novel in progress, Rest for the Weary, is a meditation on prophecy, destiny, fate and the human condition. He is also working on a nonfiction work, The Hoodoo Book of Flowers. He considers having an online literary presence part of being a 21st Century literary man and has a blog, Rootsblog, a cyberhoodoo webspace.

Sponsored by The Syracuse University Writing Program

NFRS—Fall 2011—Stephen Kuusisto


November 9
3:30-5:00 pm
The Katzer Room (347 Hinds Hall)

Our next event will be a reading by writer, poet, disability activist Professor Stephen Kuusisto. Professor Kuusisto is the Director of the Renee Crown Honors Program at Syracuse University. He is the author of Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and the acclaimed memoir Planet of the Blind, a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year." He has also published Only Bread, Only Light, a collection of poems from Copper Canyon Press. A graduate of the University of Iowa's "Writers' Workshop" and a Fulbright Scholar, Kuusisto's work unites literary writing with scholarship on the social construction of normalcy and the history of disabilities.

His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including The New York Times, Harper's, Poetry, Narrative, Books From Finland, Disability Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability, Staring Back: An Anthology of Disability Literature, and The Washington Post.

Recognized by the New York Times as a powerful writer with a musical ear for language and a gift for emotional candor, Professor Kuusisto has made numerous appearances on programs including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC, National Public Radio, and the BBC.

Sponsored by The Syracuse University Writing Program

NFRS—Fall 2011—Harriet Brown


October 6
3:30-5:00 pm
500 Hall of Languages

Our first Nonfiction Reading Series event will be a reading by writer/journalist Harriet Brown on October 6 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in 500 Hall of Languages. Harriet is an SU colleague and the author of Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia (William Morrow, 2010). Brave Girl Eating chronicles the struggles that Brown and her family had addressing her daughter's anorexia. As she puts it on her website: "This is not a story about family dysfunction, sexual abuse, or a poor little rich girl dying for attention. It’s not a cautionary tale about skinny fashion models and the media. It’s a story about an ordinary teenage girl who fell down the rabbit hole of anorexia—by accident, as it always happens—and about her slow, painful, infinitely courageous climb back up to health and hope, moment by moment, ounce by ounce, one spoonful at a time." This is a remarkable book, and I hope you will join us for the reading and conversation with Harriet afterward.

"Harriet Brown is an eclectic and curiosity-driven writer whose work appears in the New York Times Magazine, O, Health, Glamour, Vogue, and many other publications, on subjects ranging from fat acceptance to forgiveness. A frequent contributor to the Tuesday New York Times science section, she specializes in writing about issues that affect the lives of women and children. Her latest book, Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia, recounts her family's efforts to help their oldest daughter recover from anorexia nervosa. Brown is the editor of two anthologies (Feed Me! and Mr. Wrong), and several other nonfiction books, including The Good-Bye Window: A Year in the Life of a Day-Care Center. Her radio essays can be heard on NPR's "All Things Considered" and "To the Best of Our Knowledge." She co-chairs Maudsley Parents, a website of resources for families struggling with eating disorders (, and is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders. Brown is an assistant professor of magazine journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Syracuse, New York, where she created Project BodyTalk, an audio project that collects commentaries about people's relationship to food, eating, and their bodies ( She lives in central New York with her family."

For more on Brown, see

Sponsored by The Syracuse University Writing Program

NFRS—Summer 2011—Land & Labor: 3 Voices

Thursday, July 21
6-8 pm
Sparky Town 

The Writing Program at Syracuse University is pleased to host an evening with three writers who have approached the topics of land and labor from distinctive viewpoints. In novels, poems, and memoir, they offer contemplations of the modern workplace, ethics of labor, late capitalism, ubiquitous technologies, environmental impact, the work of community, and the landscape of Central New York.

Janine DeBaise
Reading from Snake Dreams
Twitter: @writingasjoe

Janine DeBaise's poetry and creative non-fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including 13th Moon, Frontiers, and the minnesota review. Her chapbook of poetry, Of a Feather, was published by Finishing Line Press. She teaches writing and literature at SUNY-ESF. She'll be reading excerpts from her forthcoming nature memoir, Snake Dreams, which explores her connection to the landscape of upstate New York.

Steve Himmer
Emerson University
Reading from The Bee-Loud Glade
Twitter: @SteveHimmer
In Steve Himmer's debut novel, The Bee-Loud Glade (April 2011, Atticus Books), the main character finds himself plucked from his soul-stifling suburban life and hired to spend seven years of his life in silence as a decorative hermit. Despite his concerted efforts at meditation, Finch finds that escaping the modern world is not as easy as switching out his shorts and T-shirt for a hempen belt and tunic. This darkly comic commentary on modern work and wealth thoughtfully probes deep-rooted questions about the nature of man, the workplace, and society (and what happens in their absence). Himmer teaches at Emerson College in Boston, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and is on the faculty of the First-Year Writing Program. His stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Hobart, The Los Angeles Review, Night Train, Pindeldyboz, PANK, Emprise Review, and Everyday Genius.

Minnie Bruce Pratt
Syracuse University
Reading From Inside the Money Machine
Twitter: @MBPratt
Minnie Bruce Pratt's most recent book is Inside the Money Machine, described by one reviewer as "anti-capitalist poetics." Her previous book, The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems, received a Lambda Literary Award; her poems about her relationship to her sons as a lesbian mother, Crime Against Nature, were chosen as the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets. A member of the National Writers Union-UAW Local 1981, Pratt does anti-racist and anti-imperialist organizing with the International Action Center and its Women's Fightback Network. After 30 years of adjunct teaching, she is a part-time Professor of Writing & Rhetoric and Women's & Gender Studies at Syracuse University.

Sponsored by The Syracuse University Writing Program

NFRS—Spring 2011—Writers In-Between: Creative Nonfiction from the Writing Program

Wednesday, April 20, 4–5:30
Katzer Room, 347 Hinds Hall
Syracuse University
Please join us for the final Nonfiction Reading Series event of the year: "Writers In-Between: Creative Nonfiction from the Writing Program." Come and hear readers from CCR, The Writing and Rhetoric Major, and the Writing Program faculty read from their creative nonfiction. This reading—organized by Minnie Bruce Pratt—features students who have taken her WRT 422 course or her Maymester graduate/undergraduate course.

Alonna Berry
Laura J. Davies
Michelle Giordano
Nicole Gonzales Howell
Minnie Bruce Pratt
Missy Watson
Benjamin Zender

NFRS—Spring 2011—Anthony Di Renzo


April 1, noon-1pm 

Kittredge Auditorium, Huntington Beard Crouse Hall
Di Renzo will read from his new book Bitter Greens: Essays on Food, Politics, and Ethnicity from the Imperial Kitchen.

From the SUNY website:
"Food-based reflections on Italian food, American culture, and globalization.

"Despite the inclusion of six classic recipes, Bitter Greens is not an ethnic cookbook but a Roman banquet of political satire, cultural criticism, and culinary memoir. Set primarily in the Empire State and arranged like the courses of a traditional Italian meal, Anthony Di Renzo's wide-ranging essays meditate on Italian food at the noon of American imperialism and the twilight of ethnicity, exploring such issues as the Wegman's supermarket chain's conquest of Sicily; assembly-line sausages; the fabled onion fields of Canastota, New York; the tripe shops of postwar Brooklyn; Hunts Point Market and Andy Boy broccoli rabe; and the fatal lure of Sicilian chocolate. Is the new global supermarket a democratic feast, Di Renzo asks, or a cannibal potluck where consumers are themselves consumed? Sip an aperitif, toast Horace and Juvenal, and enjoy Chef Di Renzo's catered symposium. It will feed your mind, tickle your ribs, and heal your spleen.

Anthony Di Renzo, a fugitive from advertising, teaches classical rhetoric and professional writing at Ithaca College. Cited in Best American Essays, his work has appeared in Alimentum, Il Caffé, Cottonwood Magazine, Feile-Festa, The Normal School, River Styx, Syracuse Scholar, and Voices in Italian Americana, and he is the author of American Gargoyles: Flannery O'Connor and the Medieval Grotesque and editor of If I Were Boss: The Early Business Stories of Sinclair Lewis. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife and cats, and buys his broccoli rabe at the local farmers market."

NFRS—Fall 2010—George Saunders

The Writing Program is pleased to announce that our fall featured speaker in the Nonfiction Reading Series will be George Saunders.

October 21
Katzer Room, Hinds Hall

George Saunders is the author of three collections of short stories: the bestselling Pastoralia, set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape; CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and In Persuasion Nation, one of three finalists for the 2006 STORY Prize for best short story collection of the year. Pastoralia and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline were both New York Times Notable Books. Saunders is also the author of the novella-length illustrated fable, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, which takes us into a profoundly strange country called Inner Horner, and the New York Times bestselling children's book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, illustrated by Lane Smith, which has also won major children's literature prizes in Italy and the Netherlands. The Boston Globe lauds Saunders' ability to "construct a story of absurdist satire, then locate within it a moment of searing humanity."

Most recently, he published a book of essays, The Braindead Megaphone, which received critical acclaim and landed him spots on The Charlie Rose Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Colbert Report. Vanity Fair wrote of the book,"Saunders's bitingly clever and compassionate essays are a Mark Twain-syle shot in the arm for Americans, an antidote to the dumbing down virus plaguing our country. Well, we live in hope."
His work appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine, and has appeared in the O'Henry, Best American Short Story, Best Non-Required Reading, and Best American Travel Writing anthologies.

NFRS—Spring 2010—Beyond Duty


The Writing Program is pleased to announce that our spring featured speakers in the Nonfiction Reading Series will be Shannon Meehan and Roger Thompson, authors of Beyond Duty:  Life on the Front Line in Iraq. They will give a reading and lead a discussion on their book onThursday, February 18 from 3:00-4:15 in 500 Hall of Languages.  

Beyond Duty: Life on the Front Line in Iraq is the memoir of Lt. Shannon Meehan, a tank platoon leader in the First Battalion, Twelfth Regiment of the First Cavalry Division. Recounting his deployment to the Diyala Province of Iraq and his difficult return to the States, this work reveals his transformation from a young man with clear ideals and ambitions to a worn soldier attempting to cope with the devastation of the war on his life.  It shows a soldier who, only weeks after declaring with certainty that he had killed “only bad guys,” discovers the shattering consequences of a war without battle lines. The memoir is co-authored with Roger Thompson, Meehan’s former professor at Virginia Military Institute.  

More information on the book can be found at

Please let your students and colleagues in other departments know about this reading.

A Syracuse area intergenerational writing group for veterans will be announced at this event.  If you are interested in taking part in this group, please contact Eileen E. Schell, Director of the Syracuse University Writing Program at

NFRS—Fall 2009—Jack Cavanaugh


Veteran sportswriter and nonfiction writer Jack Cavanaugh will join us for our Nonfiction Reading Series during Homecoming Week. A Syracuse University alumnus, Cavanaugh is author of three nonfiction books, Giants Among Men: How Robustelli, Huff, Gifford, and the Giants Made New York a Football Town and Changed the NFL (Random House, 2008), and Tunney:  Boxing's Brainiest Champ and His Upset of the Great Jack Dempsey (Random House, 2006), and Damn the Disabilities: Full Speed Ahead (WRS Publishing, 1995). Tunney was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in biography.


His work has appeared most notably on the sports pages of The New York Times, for which he has covered hundreds of varied sports assignments.  In addition, he has been a frequent contributor to Sports Illustrated and written for Reader’s Digest, Tennis, and Golf magazines, and other national publications. Over his career, he has covered scores of major boxing bouts, along with the Olympics, the World Series, Super Bowl games, the Masters Golf Tournament, and both the U.S. golf and tennis opens. He is also a former reporter for ABC News and CBS News. Cavanaugh is currently an adjunct writing professor at Fairfield University.  

NFRS—Fall 2008—Susan Faludi

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist/nonfiction writer Susan Faludi will be on campus as part of the Feminist Rhetorics for Social Justice Symposium and as part of the Writing Program's Nonfiction Reading Series. WP Director Eileen Schell invites you to join us in opportunities to meet Faludi and discuss her work. She is looking forward to talking with our students, answering questions, and getting into dialogue about her books and work as a writer. Please let your students know and encourage them to attend. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

11:00-12:30 Faludi meets with Writing Program students, majors, and minors and faculty and staff for an informal discussion of her new book The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America. 500 Hall of Languages.

2:00-3:00 Open Forum Session with Susan Faludi: Syracuse University students and faculty are invited to meet Faludi and discuss her work in an open question and answer session. 500 Hall of Languages.

3:30-4:30 Reception in honor of Susan Faludi. Humanities Center, Tolley Building, 2nd floor library.

7:30 “Why Feminism Still Matters,” keynote lecture of the Feminist Rhetorics for Social Justice Symposium. Stolkin Auditorium, Physics Building.



With her seminal book Backlash, Susan Faludi charted a new course for Feminism in America.  Over her esteemed career, Faludi has chronicled-with astonishing clarity- the changing roles of men and women in society, becoming one of our most provocative voices on women’s rights.  In her major new work, The Terror Dream, she examines, as only she can, the political and cultural fallout from 9/11.

Susan Faludi's Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women was praised by Publishers Weekly as an "eloquent, brilliantly argued book that should be read by everyone concerned about gender equality." The book was her monumental investigation into the backlash against feminism in the 1980s and the assault against career-minded women. A bestseller, Backlash established Faludi in the tradition of towering Feminist authors: she stood with Gloria Steinem on the cover of Time, while Newsweek said the book was "as groundbreaking as Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique." 


In her latest release, The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post 9/11 America, Faludi gives us an unflinching dissection of the mind of America during the war on terror. In probing and accessible prose, Faludi boldly explores how our media and our politicians responded to the terrorist attacks by calling for a return to a society where men are men and women are victims—and how this thinking, rooted in our earliest mythologies, has made America a weaker and less secure place. "This is a book that had to be written," writes Barbara Ehrenreich, "and only Susan Faludi could do it so brilliantly and engrossingly."

Faludi is a winner of The Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Critics Circle Award. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Nation and The New York Times, and is also the author of Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man. In her popular talks, she challenges modern stereotypes and explores the way gender roles have changed and developed in America in the past few decades. Encouraging audiences to re-evaluate their own views and convictions, she shows them what work remains to be done for true equality to be achieved.

NFRS—Spring 2008—What is Nonfiction?

Wednesday April 16 & Thursday April 17

500 Hall of Languages

Judith Kitchen—"The Non in Nonfiction"
Minnie Bruce Pratt—"Stranger than Fiction: Some Thoughts on Essaying Creative Nonfiction"

April 16

12:30-1:30  Judith Kitchen and Minnie Bruce Pratt on the question "What is Nonfiction?

1:30-2:00  Q & A

2:00-2:30  Readings by Judith Kitchen and Minnie Bruce Pratt

2:30-3:00  Break

3:00-4:15  Open Mic Nonfiction Readings: PWIs, TAs, FTF, Majors, Minors

4:15 Wine and cheese reception, book signing

April 17

Student workshops with Judith Kitchen

12:30-1:50 Lunch with Writing Program Teachers, Writing Majors and Minors

Judith Kitchen is the author of a novel, The House on Eccles Road, winner of the S. Mariella Gable Prize from Graywolf Press, two collections of essays, Distance and Direction (Coffeehouse Press) and Only the Dance (U. of South Carolina Press), as well as a critical study of William Stafford, Writing the World (Oregon State University Press). She is co-editor of two collections of short essays, In Short and In Brief (both W. W. Norton), and the editor of a third collection, Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction. Her awards include an NEA fellowship in poetry, a Pushcart Prize in nonfiction, and recognition as a distinguished teacher of adults. She has been the invited guest at many residencies, including Centrum, Split Rock Arts Program, The Vermont Studio Center, and the Chautauqua Writers Institute. Kitchen has judged a number of national awards, including the Pushcart Prize for poetry, the Theodore Roethke Prize, the Anhinga Prize, the AWP Nonfiction Award, the Bellingham Review's Annie Dillard award for creative nonfiction, the Bush Foundation fellowships, and the Oregon Book Award. She is an Advisory and Contributing Editor for The Georgia Review where she regularly reviews poetry. In addition, she has the distinction of being called—by Newsday—the Evel Knievel of literature.

Minnie Bruce Pratt is a nationally acclaimed poet and writer who has inspired a whole generation of feminists and activists. She has published six books of poetry, The Sound of One Fork, We Say We Love Each Other , Crime Against Nature , Walking Back Up Depot Street , The Money Machine , and The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems . Minnie Bruce also has published collections of autobiographical and political essays, including Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991 , which includes her feminist classic, the essay “Identity: Skin Blood Heart." With Elly Bulkin and Barbara Smith, she co-authored Yours In Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives On Anti-Semitism and Racism . Her book of prose stories about gender boundary crossing S/HE appeared in 1995. Minnie Bruce is also completing, with noted transnational theorist Chandra Talpade Mohanty, a volume of theoretical dialogues that is tentatively titled At Home in the Struggle.

Sponsored by the Writing Program with generous support from the English Department.