Lion Rock Visiting Writers 2020-2021

The Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series schedules readings every quarter and features nationally known writers reading their own work. We have hosted two winners of the MacArthur Genius Award, as well as the WA State Poet Laureate, and recipients of NEA Fellowships and other major prizes.

Each spring, students enrolled in ENG 468: Contemporary Writers Colloquium (an upper-level multi-genre writing workshop), meet with three visiting writers from the Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series. We also sponsor talks by professional editors and publishers, readings by faculty and students, including open mics, and an annual reading for students who have their work published in CWU's literary magazine, Manastash.

Past readers in the Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series include Lucia Perillo, Anthony Doerr, Major Jackson, Kim Barnes, Linda Bierds, David Guterson, David Wojahn, Prageeta Sharma many orhers.

The Series wishes to thank our many generous sponsors over the years, including the College of Arts and Humanities, the Brooks Library, Museum of Culture and Environment, The Wildcat Shop, Karen Gookin, Len Thayer Grants, Humanities Washington, S&A, President's Office/Diversity and Inclusivity, the WGSS Program, and many partnerships across departments, schools, and the Kittitas Community, including those with our Ellensburg Public libraries and Gallery One.

Dujie Tahat (he/they) & Jourdan Imani Keith (she/her) 

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

6 p.m. A Reading and Conversation - Register in advance for this reading here

Join us virtually on Tuesday, January 26th for a reading and conversation featuring two Seattle writers whose work focuses on grassroots and community organizing, hybridity, and environmental and social justice.

Black and white portrait of Dujie Tahat wearing two earrings in front of a dark backgroundDujie Tahat (he/they) is a Filipino-Jordanian immigrant living in Washington state. They are the author of Here I Am O My God, selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, and Salat, winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Award. Their poems have been published or are forthcoming in Poetry, Poetry NW, ZYZZVA, Best New Poets, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. With Luther Hughes and Gabrielle Bates, they cohost The Poet Salon podcast.

You can learn more about Tahat by visiting their website.

Listen to The Poet Salon Podcast here.

Photo of Jourdan Imani Keith looking off to the side wearing a black hat and black glassesJourdan Imani Keith (she/her) is an essayist, playwright, naturalist, educator, and storyteller, whose work blends the textures of political, personal and natural landscapes to offer voices from the margins of American lives. Keith has performed nationally and internationally, giving over 250 performances from Zimbabwe to Philadelphia, from Yellowstone and North Cascades National Park to Seattle. Jourdan Keith has received awards from 4 Culture, Artist Trust, and Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs for Coyote Autumn and 2004 for the play and solo performance of The Uterine Files: Episode I, Voices Spitting Out Rainbows. She has received fellowships from Hedgebrook, Voices of Our Nations (VONA), and Jack Straw Writer's program.

Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers, radio, television and video, including The Seattle TImes, Labyrinth, PUSH, Floating Bridge Press, Colors NW, Seattle Woman, and the anthology, Ma-Ka, Diasporic Juks, writings by Queers of African Descent. Jourdan Keith is Founder and Director of Urban Wilderness Project.

You can learn more about Imani Keith by visiting her website.

Imani Keith has regular features on Orion.

Listen to Imani Keith's TED Talk.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

6 p.m. A student reading: "Healing Spaces: Poems and Prose for Social, Racial, and Environmental Justice."

Register in advance for this reading here
Learn more via Facebook Event

Winter Student Reading Poster


Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

6 p.m. Reading and Q&A - Register in advance for this reading here

Portrait of De'Shawn Charles Winslow with crossed arms wearing a blue collared shirtDe'Shawn Charles Winslow (he/him) was the 2019 winner of the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize for In West Mills. He holds an MFA and BFA in creative writing, and an MA in English literature. De'Shawn has received scholarships from the Napa Valley Writers' Conference and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He lives in the New York City area.

You can learn more about Winslow on his website.

De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills, live in conversation with editor Liese Mayer.


Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 - 6 p.m. Reading

Register in advance for this reading here

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021 - 12 noon Craft talk

Register in advance for this craft talk here

Portrait of Victoria Chang staring into the camera and wearing a floral blouseVictoria Chang's (she/her) poetry books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. OBIT was named a NYT Notable Book and a TIME best book of the year. Her children's picture book, Is Mommy?, was illustrated by Marla Frazee and published by Beach Lane Books/S&S. It was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her middle grade novel, Love, Love was published by Sterling Publishing. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a Katherine Min MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the Program Chair of Antioch's Low-Residency MFA Program.

You can learn more about Chang on her website.

Chang reading "Obit, Caretakers" on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

6 p.m. A student reading: "Before and After: Poems and Prose on Change."

Register in advance for this reading here. 

Spring Student Reading Poster


Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 - 6 p.m. Reading - Register in advance for this reading here

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 - 12 noon Craft talk - Register in advance for this craft talk here

Portrait of Paisley Rekdal in front of a light backdrop wearing a jewel-toned blue blouse.Paisley Rekdal (she/her) is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; the hybrid photo-text memoir, Intimate; and five books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants; The Invention of the Kaleidoscope; Animal Eye, a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize; and Imaginary Vessels, finalist for the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Prize and the Washington State Book Award. Her newest work of nonfiction is a book-length essay, The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. A new collection of poems, Nightingale, which re-writes many of the myths in Ovid's The Metamorphoses, was published spring 2019. Appropriate: A Provocation, which examines cultural appropriation, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in Feb. 2021. She is the guest editor for Best American Poetry 2020.

Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Residency, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes (2009, 2013), Narrative's Poetry Prize, the AWP Creative Nonfiction Prize, and various state arts council awards. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Tin House, the Best American Poetry series (2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019), and on National Public Radio, among others.

She is a Distinguised Professor at the University of Utah, where she is also the creator and editor of the community web projects Mapping Literary Utah and Mapping Salt Lake City. In May 2017, she was named Utah's Poet Laureate and received a 2019 Academy of American Poets' Poets Laureate Fellowship.

You can learn more about Rekdal on her website. 

Rekdal's "Mapping Literary Utah" Poet Laureate Project.

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