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College of Arts and Humanities

Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series

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 and Sam Green.


2018-2019 Readings

Faculty Showcase Reading

October 16, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
Museum of Culture and Environment

Xavier Cavazos 

Xavier Cavazos is the author of Diamond Grove Slave Tree (2015), the inaugural Prairie Seed Poetry Prize from Ice Cube Press, and Barbarian at the Gate (2014), which was published in the Poetry Society of America's New American Poets Chapbook Series. Cavazos earned an MFA in Creative Writing and the Environment from Iowa State University.

Cavazos was part of the 1990’s second wave of writers from New York’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café that included Paul Beatty, Regie Cabico, Ava Chin, Maggie Estep, Reg E. Gaines, Tracie Morris, Willie Perdomo, Beau Sia, Edwin Torres, Crystal Williams, Sal Williams, and Emily XYZ.

Cavazos has poetry published in anthologies such as Aloud: Voices from the NuYoRican Poets Café (1994), Under the Pomegranate Tree: Best Latino Erotica (1994), Verses That Hurt: Pleasure and Pain from the POEMFONE Poets (1996), and Best American Experimental Writing 2015.

Cavazos’s honors include a Nuyorican Poets Café “Fresh Poet Award”(1993), Grand Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poet’s Café (1995), and a Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship (2013). He currently teaches in the Africana and Black Studies and the Professional and Creative Writing Programs at Central Washington

Seanse Ducken

Seanse Lynch Ducken received her MFA in Poetry through Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her work has appeared in the 2nd edition of the online anthology, A Sense of Place: The Washington State Geospatial Poetry Anthology, Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Mudfish 19, Noble/Gas Qtrly, New Limestone Review, and Ecotone. She currently teaches English at Central Washington University.





Sonya Dunning

Sonya Dunning lives in Tacoma, Washington and teaches English online for Central Washington University. She has a B.A. in English from Western Washington University, a M.A. in Literature from Central Washington University, and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of Idaho. Her essay “for(e)closure” won Creative Nonfiction’s 2011 MFA Program-Off, was listed as a “notable essay” in Best American Essays, and has since appeared in The Irish Times. Her writing has more recently been published in The Sun, The Meadow, and The Swamp. She is also the nonfiction-editor and editor-in-chief of 5x5 Literary Magazine

Katharine Whitcomb

Katharine Whitcomb, a CWU Distinguished Professor of Teaching, is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She is the author of four collections of poetry including The Daughter’s Almanac (Backwaters Press, 2015), Saints of South Dakota and Other Poems (Bluestem Press, 2000), and two poetry chapbooks—Lamp of Letters, and Hosannas;  she is also co-author of the faux self-help art book, The Art Courage Program (Jaded Ibis Press, 2014). Some of her recent publications include poems in the anthologies Renga for Obama, and WA 129, and in the journals Rise Up Review, Bennington Review, and She has taught creative writing at Central Washington University for over a decade, where she is currently the chair of the English Department, and coordinator of the Professional and Creative Writing MA Program. 


Laura Read

November 6, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
Museum of Culture of Environment

Laura Read’s first collection of poems, Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral, was published in 2012 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her second collection, Dresses from the Old Country, will be published by BOA in fall of 2018. She teaches English at Spokane Falls Community College. 



Erin Stalcup

January 15, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

Erin Stalcup is the author of the story collection, And Yet It Moves (Indiana University Press, 2016), and the novel Every Living Species (Gold Wake Press, 2017). Her fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Sun, Monkeybicycle, and elsewhere, and her creative nonfiction about her teaching experiences was listed as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2016. Erin received her MFA from Warren Wilson College’s Program for Writers. After teaching in community colleges, universities, and prisons in New York City, North Carolina, Texas, and Arizona, she recently joined the faculty in the MFA Program in Writing & Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Erin co-founded and co-edits Waxwing

and she is the Editor of Hunger Mountain.

"If on a Winter's Night..." Showcase

January 29, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Jeff Suwak

Jeff Suwak attended CWU after finishing his service in the Army. While deployed overseas, he swore that if he got through it alive, he'd pursue his passion for writing and literature. CWU was the beginning of that journey. Today an editor and writer in Tacoma, he's excited to revisit CWU, and particularly to talk with any veteran students who may want some perspective from someone who's made the readjustment to civilian life. He has been published in five different countries (he likes to say that because he thinks it sounds cool). In addition to an upcoming appearance in Stupefying Stories (run by cyberpunk legend Bruce Bethke), Jeff's recent publications include "Shang Qin's War" in Guardbridge Books' international anthology titled Myriad Lands: Around the World, "The Guitaissta's Lament" in Dimension6 (run by Australia's most-eminent Keith Stevenson), and The Familiar and his Alchemist (audio version produced on Audible by Plympton and print in Spark: A Creative Anthology). Recently he's been experimenting with the platform and is a "top writer" there. His novella Beyond the Tempest Gate was published by Vabella Publishing in 2013. He also writes about music, his locale, and “various doodads.” During his time as a student, he won a creative writing scholarship at Pacific Lutheran University and the Nursia Prize for Undergraduate Scholarship for his paper on Cormac McCarthy's Suttree. It's possible, though he can't confirm, that he is the only writer to ever have published work in four different institutions of higher learning while he was enrolled as a student in them.  His website is

Joe Powell

Joseph Powell has published six full-length collections of poetry, including Holding Nothing Back (Main Street Rag, 2018), Preamble to the Afterlife (2013), and Hard Earth (March Street, 2010) and four chapbooks. Two books (Getting Here and Counting the Change) won the Quarterly Review of Literature's international book award. He co-wrote a textbook on meter with Mark Halperin called Accent on Meter, (NCTE, 2004). His book of short stories, Fish Grooming & Other Stories, (2007) was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and he won a National Endowment for the Arts Award in 2009. He is a CWU Univeristy Distinguished Professor and Emeritus Faculty of English at Central Washington University. 



Lisa Norris

Lisa Norris is a professor of English at Central Washington University where she has taught since 2007. Previously, she was an instructor for 15 years at Virginia Tech. Her story collections are Toy Guns and Women Who Sleep With Animals, winners of the Willa Cather and SFASU Fiction Prizes, respectively. Her poems and nonfiction have appeared in Shenandoah, Ascent, Fourth Genre, Terrain.Org., Bullets Into Bells, Gulf Stream, and others. Her website is



Jos Charles

April 2, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

Jos Charles is author of feeld, a winner of the 2017 National 

Poetry Series, and Safe Space. She is a recipient of the 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Charles has an MFA from the University of Arizona and is pursuing a PhD in English from UC Irvine. 

Charles will also be giving a Craft Talk from noon-1:00 p.m. on April 2, 2019. Room TBA. 


Kristiana Kahakauwila

April 23, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

Kristiana Kahakauwila is a hapa writer of kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian), German, and Norwegian descent. Her first book, This is Paradise: Stories (Hogarth, 2013), was named a 2013 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Currently at work on a historical novel set on the island of Maui, she has published excerpts and essays in Kartika Review, Red Ink, Mistake House, and GEO Magazine, among others. Kristiana earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Michigan. She was a 2015-16 Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study and is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University. She also teaches in the Low-Residency MFA at the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

Kahukauwila will alse be giving a Craft Talk from noon-1:00 p.m. on April 23, 2019. Room TBA.

Erika L. Sanchez

May 7, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

Erika L. Sánchez's acclaimed young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, was nominated for the National Book Award in Young People's Literature and was an instant New York Times bestseller. A novelist, essayist, poet and self-described "cheerleader" for young women, she seeks to amplify the stories and voices of marginalized people everywhere through the power of storytelling.

Erika L. Sánchez’s first novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, was immediately heralded as one of the most significant works of young adult fiction in recent years. Born and raised in a working class town outside of Chicago to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants, Sánchez’s experience informed her moving depiction of the realities of undocumented life in America. Told through the eyes of a teenage girl trying to find her place between Mexican culture and American life after a tragedy upends her family, the book compassionately and powerfully touches on numerous contemporary issues including mental health, gender, and immigration.

Prior to publishing I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Sánchez received numerous grants and accolades in support of her work from the Poetry Foundation, the CantoMundo Prize, Bread Loaf Scholarship, the Guild Complex of Chicago, and the Boston Review, all of which added to her reputation as an emerging writer to watch. As a journalist, she’s been featured in The Guardian, Jezebel, Rolling Stone, Salon, Buzzfeed, and Cosmopolitan, and released her first book of poetry, Lessons on Expulsion to acclaim from outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

When not writing, Sánchez is an enthusiastic advocate for young women everywhere, and speaks about the rights and experiences of undocumented immigrants and young people of color, using her platform and her journey as a writer to encourage her audiences to tell their own stories. Sánchez is available for speaking engagements with both English and Spanish-speaking audiences. Recently, she was awarded the Princeton Arts Fellowship and currently teaches in the creative writing department at Princeton University.

Sanchez will also be giving a Craft Talk from noon-1:00 p.m. on May 7, 2019. Room TBA.

2017-2018 Readings

Sherwin Bitsui

October 3, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Museum of Culture & Environment

Sherwin Bitsui (Diné) is the author of Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press) and Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press). He is of the Bįį’bítóó’nii’ Tódi’chii’nii clan and is born for the Tlizilłani’ clan. He is from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. His honors include the 2011 Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Fellowship for Literature, a PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Bitsui teaches for the MFA in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Sherwin will also be giving a craft talk at noon in Black Hall , room 151 on October 3rd, 2017.


Sam McManis 
February 6, 2018 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Black Hall, Room 151

Veteran journalist Sam McManis, who worked for more than three decades as a staff writer and columnist for several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, is ready to share his best stories.

McManis, currently completing a master’s degree in English literature at Central Washington University, will conduct a brown bag craft talk on Tuesday, February 6, from noon to 1 p.m. in Black Hall, room 151, on the CWU campus.

The discussion coincides with the February 2018 release of McManis’ first book, a collection of travel essays entitled, Crossing California: A Cultural Topography of a State of Wonder and Weirdness.

“Sam’s book is a collection of many of the wonderful travel pieces he wrote over a five-year period for the Sacramento Bee newspaper,” noted Lisa Norris, a CWU professor of English, who is coordinating the event. “It’s been described by one reviewer as a ‘quirky trip through California.’”

Until May 2016, McManis was a lifestyle columnist and feature writer for the Sacramento Bee, covering the entire state of California through columns and cover stories. He previously served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and has had stories published in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

McManis has received numerous journalism awards, dating to the 1980s, when he was a sports reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He has been honored three times in the past four years by the Society for Features Journalism for his travel writing and columns and was selected as California’s “in-state” journalist of the year for 2016 by Visit California, a website and travel industry group.

He is currently working on a non-fiction book about Yakima’s Eisenhower High School cross-country team and its longtime coach Phil English. Under English, the boy’s squad has won 19 district titles in the past 21 years.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,

Ruth Ozeki

February 26, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
SURC Theatre

Ruth Ozeki is a filmmaker, novelist, and Zen Buddhist priest, whose award-winning novels have been described as “witty, intelligent and passionate” by The Independent, and as possessing “shrewd and playful humor, luscious sexiness and kinetic pizzazz” by the Chicago Tribune. Her first novel, My Year of Meats, was published in 1998 by Viking Penguin and has garnered widespread glowing reviews, awards, and a still-growing readership. A sexy, poignant, funny tale about global meat and media production, My Year of Meats tells the story of Jane and Akiko, two women on opposite sides of the planet, whose lives are connected by a TV cooking show. My Year of Meats was an international success, translated into eleven languages and published in fourteen countries. It won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award, the Imus/Barnes and Noble American Book Award, and a Special Jury Prize of the World Cookbook Awards in Versailles.

Ozeki’s second novel, All Over Creation (Viking Penguin, 2003) shifts the focus from meat to potatoes in a story of a family farmer, his prodigal daughter, an itinerant gang of environmental activists, and a New Age corporate spin doctor, whose lives and interests collide in Liberty Falls, Idaho. In a starred review, Kirkus called this cast of characters “most fully realized and heart-wrenching in their imperfect yearnings,” and declared All Over Creation, “a feast for mind and heart.” Again a New York Times Notable Book, All Over Creation is the recipient of a 2004 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, as well as the Willa Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction.

Ozeki was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, by an American father and a Japanese mother. She studied English and Asian Studies at Smith College and traveled extensively in Asia. She received a Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship to do graduate work in classical Japanese literature at Nara University. During her years in Japan, she worked in Kyoto’s entertainment or “water” district as a bar hostess, studied flower arrangement as well as Noh drama and mask carving, founded a language school, and taught in the English Department at Kyoto Sangyo University.

Ozeki returned to New York in 1985 and began a film career as an art director, designing sets and props for low budget horror movies. She switched to television production, and after several years directing documentary-style programs for a Japanese company, she started making her own films. Body of Correspondence (1994) won the New Visions Award at the San Francisco Film Festival and was aired on PBS.Halving the Bones (1995), an award-winning autobiographical film, tells the story of Ozeki’s journey as she brings her grandmother’s remains home from Japan. It has been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, the Montreal World Film Festival, and the Margaret Mead Film Festival, among others. Ozeki’s films, now in educational distribution, are shown at universities, museums and arts venues around the world.

Ozeki, a frequent speaker on college and university campuses, currently divides her time between New York City and British Columbia, where she lives with her husband, artist, Oliver Kellhammer. She serves on the advisory editorial board of the Asian American Literary Review and on the Creative Advisory Council of Hedgebrook. She practices Zen Buddhism with Zoketsu Norman Fischer, and is the editor of theEveryday Zen website. She was ordained as a Soto Zen priest in June, 2010. Ozeki’s latest novel, A Tale for the Time Being, was published by Viking Penguin in March 2013 and immediately hit The New York Times bestseller list. It was also shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. For more information about this Speaker please visit or

Ruth will also be giving a craft talk at noon in Black Hall, room 151 on February 26th, 2018.


Zach VandeZande and Maya Jewell Zeller

March 6, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
Museum of Culture & Environment

Zach VandeZande

Zach VandeZande is an Assistant Professor at Central Washington University. He is the author of the novel Apathy and Paying Rent (Loose Teeth, 2008) and the forthcoming short story collection Lesser American Boys (Ferry Street Books, 2017). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Gettysburg Review, Yemassee, Georgia Review, Wigleaf, Smokelong Quarterly, Portland Review, Cutbank, Sundog Literature, Slice Magazine, Atlas Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. He likes you just fine.

Maya Jewell Zeller

Maya Jewell Zeller lives in the Inland Northwest, where the summers are smoky and the winters are cold. Her favorite seasons are: the one when things fall down and start
decaying, and the other one when things bud and bloom
again. When she isn't outdoors, Maya is often parenting her two children, teaching for Central Washington University, or editing for Scablands Books. Sometimes she does those things outdoors, too. Recipient of a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and writing residencies from the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Maya is also the author of three collections of poems: Rust Fish (Lost Horse Press, 2011); Yesterday, the Bees (Floating Bridge Press, 2015); and the interdisciplinary collaboration (with visual artist Carrie DeBacker) Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts (Entre Rios Books, 2017).

Jennifer Givhan

April 17, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
Museum of Culture & Environment

Jennifer Givhan, a National Endowment for the Arts &  PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellow, is a Mexican-American  writer & activist from the Southwestern desert. She is the  author of three full-length poetry collections: Landscape with Headless Mama (2015 Pleiades Editors’ Prize), Protection Spell (2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series edited by Billy Collins) & Girl with Death Mask (2017 Blue Light Books Prize chosen by Ross Gay & forthcoming from Indiana University Press). Givhan also has three chapbooks available or forthcoming from Glass Poetry Press, dancing girl press, & Yellow Flag Press. Her novella Jubilee is currently a finalist for the Bakwin Award from Carolina Wren Press and her novel Trinity Sight has signed with Curtis Brown Literary Agency. Her honors include the Frost Place Latin@ Scholarship, a National Latino Writers’ Conference Scholarship, the Lascaux Review Poetry Prize, Phoebe Journal’s Greg Grummer Poetry Prize chosen by Monica Youn, the Pinch Poetry Prize chosen by Ada Limón, & seven Pushcart nominations. Her work has appeared in Best of the Net, Best New Poets, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Ploughshares, POETRY, TriQuarterly, Boston Review, AGNI, Crazyhorse, Witness, Southern Humanities Review, Missouri Review, & The Kenyon Review, among many others. She can be found at as well as Facebook & Twitter (@JennGivhan).  

Jenn will also be giving a craft talk in Science II, room 101 (Planetarium) from noon - 1:00 PM on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018.


John McNally

May 1, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
Museum of Culture & Environment

John McNally is the author or editor of seventeen books, including The Boy Who Really, Really Wanted to Have Sex: The Memoir of a Fat Kid, Lord of the Ralphs (a young adult novel), and Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction. His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in over a hundred publications, including One Teen Story, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Washington Post. A finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, John divides his time between Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Lafayette, Louisiana, where he is Writer in Residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. 

John will also be giving a craft talk from noon - 1:00 PM in Science II, room 101 (Planetarium), on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018.

Jac Jemc

May 15, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
Museum of Culture & Environment

Jac Jemc lives in Chicago. Her novel The Grip
of It was recently released from FSG Originals (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) in August 2017. Jemc is also the author of My Only Wife (Dzanc Books), named a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award;  A Different Bed Every Time (Dzanc Books), named one of Amazon's Best Story Collections of 2014; and a chapbook of stories, These Strangers She'd Invited In (Greying Ghost Press).  Jac's nonfiction has been featured on the long list for Best American Essays and her story "Women in Wells" was featured in the 2010 Best of the Web anthology. Jac received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has completed residencies at the Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, Hald: The Danish Center for Writers and Translators, Ragdale, the Vermont Studio Center, Thicket, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grants, and was named as one of 25 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex and one of New City's Lit 50 in Chicago. She's taught English and Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame, Northeastern Illinois University, Loyola University Chicago, Lake Forest College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Story Studio Chicago, and The Loft Literary Center. She currently serves as web nonfiction editor for Hobart.

Jac will also be giving a craft talk from noon - 1:00 PM in Science II, room 101 (Planetarium) on Tuesday, May 15th, 2018.

2016-2017 Readings:

Picture of Rachel Toor

Rachel Toor

October 4, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

CWU SURC Ballroom

Rachel Toor is the author of four works of nonfiction and one novel. Her most recent book is Misunderstood: Why The Humble Rat May Be Your Best Pet Ever (FSG 2016). She is a professor in the graduate creative writing program at Eastern Washington University. Her work has been published in a wide variety of places, including The New York Times, The LA Times, Ploughshares, SB Nation, Glamour, Reader’s Digest, Runner’s World and JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, and she writes a monthly for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her next book, which will be published by the University of Chicago Press in Fall 2017, is for high school students on writing the college application essay. She graduated from Yale University and received an MFA from the University of Montana.

There will also be a craft talk by Rachel at noon in Black Hall Rm 151.

Eduardo C. Corral

October 18, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

CWU SURC Ballroom

Eduardo C. Corral is the author of Slow Lightning, which won the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. He's the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, an NEA Fellowship, and the Holmes National Poetry Prize. He's currently the writer-in-residence at North Carolina State University

There will also be a craft talk by Eduardo at noon in Black Hall, Rm 151.

Marjorie Agosín

November 1, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.


Marjorie Agosín was raised in Chile, the daughter of Jewish parents. Heeding rumors of the coup that would install Augusto Pinochet, Agosín’s family left the country for the United States, where Agosín earned a BA from the University of Georgia and an MA and a PhD from Indiana University. In both her scholarship and her creative work, she focuses on social justice, feminism, and remembrance. Agosín is the author of numerous works of poetry, fiction, and literary criticism.

Agosín has received numerous honors and awards for her writing and work as a human rights activist, including a Jeanette Rankin Award in Human Rights and a United Nations Leadership Award for Human Rights. The Chilean government honored her with a Gabriela Mistral Medal for Lifetime Achievement. Agosín is the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American studies and a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College.

There will also be a craft talk by Marjorie at noon in Black Hall, Rm 151.

Zach VandeZande

January 24, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

CWU SURC Ballroom

Zach VandeZande is an Assistant Professor at Central Washington University. He is the author of the novel Apathy and Paying Rent and the forthcoming story collection Lesser American Boys. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Gettysburg Review, Yemassee, Word Riot, Portland Review, Cutbank, Sundog Literature, Passages North, Beloit, Slice Magazine, Atlas Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. He enjoys baking bread, hammocks, and people who bring their dogs.

There will also be a craft talk by Zach at noon in Black Hall, Rm 151.

Maya Zeller

February 21, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

CWU SURC Ballroom

Born upstairs in her parents' gas station on the Oregon Coast, Maya lived a nomadic childhood in the Pacific Northwest. She attended Western Washington University in the late 1990s, where she earned a B.A. in English Education. After teaching high school and coaching cross country and track on the Olympic Peninsula, Maya moved to Spokane for graduate school. She worked as an editor for Eastern Washington University Press as well as for Willow Springs Magazine before earning a MFA in creative writing in 2007 and teaching for the Community Colleges of Spokane and then Gonzaga University, before coming to Central Washington University. Maya's poetry collections are Rust Fish and Yesterday, the Bees; individual essays and poems appear widely. Maya's work has won various awards, including a residency in the H.J. Andrews Forest and a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Maya serves as fiction editor for Crab Creek Review and as a teacher to many fine students at CWU.

There will also be a craft talk by Maya at noon in Black Hall, Rm 151.

She Weeps Each Time You're Born

Amy Quan Barry

April 12, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

CWU SURC Ballroom

Amy Quan Barry is the author of four books of poetry and the novel She Weeps Each Time You're Born, published by Pantheon in 2015. Her work has appeared in such magazines as Ms. and The New Yorker, and she is the recipient of two NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry. Barry currently directs the MFA Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

There will also be a craft talk by Amy at noon in Black Hall, Rm 151.

“NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.”
“El proyecto NEA Big Read es una iniciativa del National Endowment for the Arts (el Fondo Nacional para las Artes de Estados Unidos) en cooperación con Arts Midwest.”

Tim O'Brien

April 25, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

McConnell Hall

Vietnam veteran Tim O’Brien is the author of one of the best novels ever written about the Vietnam war—The Things They Carried. Born in Minnesota, and graduated from Macalester College with a Political Science degree, he was drafted and served as a foot soldier from 1969 to 1970 with the 46th Infantry.  He was sent home with a Purple Heart and then attended Harvard University, where he wrote a memoir, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home (1973). He then worked as a national affairs reporter for The Washington Post for a year, after which he began writing books full time. He published Northern Lights (1975), Going After Cacciato (1978) --which won the National Book Award, The Nuclear Age (1981), The Things They Carried (1990), In the Lake of the Woods (1994), Tomcat in Love (1999), and July, July (2002). He has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. He currently teaches creative writing at Texas State University. O’Brien is visiting Ellensburg as part of an NEA Big Read grant and also is co-sponsored by the CWU College of Arts & Humanities, English Dept., CWU Brooks Library, CWU Center for Leadership Civic Engagement, CWU Museum of Culture & Environment, Ellensburg School District, Roslyn Friends of the Library, CWU Veterans’ Center, CWU Wildcat Shop, CWU Inklings Club, and Karen Gookin.

There will also be a craft talk by Tim at noon in the Music Recital Hall.

“NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.”
“El proyecto NEA Big Read es una iniciativa del National Endowment for the Arts (el Fondo Nacional para las Artes de Estados Unidos) en cooperación con Arts Midwest.”

Sayantani Dasgupta

May 9, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

CWU SURC Ballroom

Born in Calcutta and raised in New Delhi, Sayantani Dasgupta teaches at the University of Idaho. Her essays and stories have appeared in The Rumpus, Phoebe, and Gulf Stream, among other magazines and literary journals. She edits nonfiction for Crab Creek Review, and previous honors include a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and a Centrum Fellowship. In Fire Girl, her debut collection of essays, Sayantani examines her personal story against the history, religion, popular culture and mythology of South Asia and her current home in the American West.

There will also be a craft talk by Sayantani at noon in Black Hall, Rm 151

Kate Lebo, Tiffany Midge, and Elissa Washuta

May 23, 2017 at 7:30pm

Museum of Culture - Dean Hall


Kate Lebo

Kate Lebo is the author of two cookbooks, Pie School and A Commonplace Book of Pie. Her essays and poems have appeared in Best American Essays, Best New Poets, New England Review, Willow Springs, High Desert Journal, The Rumpus, and Gastronomica. In 2017, Sasquatch Books will release Pie & Whiskey, an anthology co-edited with Sam Ligon and based on their popular Pie & Whiskey reading series. She lives in Spokane, Washington.


Tiffany Midge

Tiffany Midge is an assistant poetry editor for The Rumpus, and a humor columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network. Her poetry collection "The Woman Who Married a Bear" (University of New Mexico Press) won the Kenyon Review Earthworks Indigenous Poetry Prize. Tiffany's work has been featured in McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Waxwing, The Butter, Okey-Pankey, and Moss. Tiffany is a Hunkpapa Lakota and allergic to horses. She aspires to be the distinguished writer in residence in Seattle’s Space Needle.


Elissa Washuta

Elissa Washuta, a member of the Cowlitz Indian tribe, is the author of two books, Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules. Essayist and poet Kate Lebo is the author of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter, and A Commonplace Book of Pie. Poet Tiffany Midge, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, is the author of Outlaws, Renegades and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-Up Halfbreed, The Woman Who Married a Bear, and others.


  • There will be a discussion panel in Black Hall-151 from 12-1pm that addresses  editor-author relationships as well as perspectives on Native issues.



2015-2016 Readings:


Rene Denfeld
October 13, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Wellington Event Center (adjacent to Barto Hall)

Rene Denfeld is the author of The Enchanted, winner of the prestigious French Prix award as well as an ALA Medal For Excellence in Fiction, the Texas Lariat, finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan prize, long-listed for the Carnegie Medal, and the Oregonian's #1 Book of the Year. The Enchanted was inspired by her work with men and women facing execution. Rene lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is the happy mom to three kids she adopted from foster care. She is currently the Chief Investigator for the public defender's office.


Xavier Cavazos and Jennifer L. Knox
November 10, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
SURC Theatre

Jennifer L. Knox is the author of five books of poems. Her latest, Days of Shame and Failure, will be published by Bloof Books in October 2015. Her poems have appeared four times in the Best American Poetry series as well as  The New York Times, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, McSweeney's, and Bomb. Jennifer was born in Lancaster, California—home to Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, and the Space Shuttle. She received her B.A. from the University of Iowa, and her M.F.A. in poetry writing from New York University. She has taught poetry writing at Hunter College and New York University. She currently teaches at Iowa State University.


Xavier Cavazos received his MFA in 2013 from Iowa State University where he served as poetry editor for Flyway: Journal of Creative Writing and the Environment and is the author of Barbarian at the Gate, selected and introduced by Thomas Sayers Ellis as part of the Poetry Society of America's New American Poets Chapbook Series and Diamond Grove Slave Tree, the inaugural Prairie Seed Poetry Prize from Ice Cube Press. Cavazos has poetry forthcoming in the Best American Experimental Writing (BAX) 2015, and teaches in the Africana and Black Studies and the Professional and Creative Writing Programs at Central Washington University.


Katharine Whitcomb
January 19, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Wildcat Shop

Katharine Whitcomb is the author of four collections of poems: The Daughter’s Almanac (The Backwaters Press, 2015), chosen by Patricia Smith as the winner of the 2014 The Backwaters Press Prize, Lamp of Letters (Floating Bridge Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award, Saints of South Dakota & Other Poems, which was chosen by Lucia Perillo as the winner of the 2000 Bluestem Award and published by Bluestem Press, and Hosannas (Parallel Press, 1999). She is the co-author, with artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter, of The Art Courage Program (Jaded Ibis, 2014), a parody self-help book/art piece. She is the co-editor of A Sense of Place: The Washington State Geospatial Poetry Anthology, and the founding co-editor of Cascadia Chronicle: A Geospatial Journal of Place, Environment and Imagination. Whitcomb was a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and had fellowships in poetry at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She has attended residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, La Muse in Labastide Esparbairenque, France, and the Whiteley Center on San Juan Island, WA. She has had work published in many journals including The Paris Review, Poetry Northwest, and Narrative, and in anthologies, including Fire On Her Tongue, and Making Poems. She teaches at Central Washington University and lives in Ellensburg, Washington.

Megan Kruse
February 23, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
SURC Theatre

Megan Kruse is the author of the acclaimed novel Call Me Home, released by Hawthorne Books in 2015, with an introduction by Elizabeth Gilbert. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and her work has appeared widely in magazines and journals, including Narrative Magazine, Psychology Today, The Rumpus,and The Sun, among others. She is currently the 2015-2016 Visiting Writer-in-Residency for Eastern Oregon University's Low-Residency MFA program, and at work on a second novel. Megan has just been named one of The National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" Honorees.


Ava Chin
April 5, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
SURC Theatre

Ava Chin is the author of Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal (Simon & Schuster), which won 1st Prize in the 2015 M.F.K. Fisher Book Awards. Kirkus called Eating Wildly “A delectable feast of the heart,” and Library Journal chose it as one of the “Best Books of 2014.” Her writing has appeared in The New York Times (“Urban Forager”), the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Marie Claire, Saveur, and the Village Voice, among others. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. A former slam poet, she is an associate professor of creative nonfiction at CUNY and a 2015 Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. The Huffington Post named her one of "9 Contemporary Authors You Should Be Reading."

Fred D'Aguiar
April 19, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
SURC Theatre

Fred D'Aguiar writes across genres. His dozen books include poetry and fiction, as well as published essays and staged and published plays. His latest novel is Children of Paradise (HarperCollins, 2014).


Natalie Diaz
May 17, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Wellington Event Center (adjacent to Barto Hall)

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. In 2104, she was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program and lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she directs the Fort Mojave Language Recovery Program, working with the last remaining speakers at Fort Mojave to teach and revitalize the Mojave language.

2014-2015 Readings:

Andrianne Kalfopoulou

October 23, 2014

Wildcat Shop

Adrianne Kalfopoulou is Associate Professor of Language and Literature at Hellenic American University/HAEC in Athens, Greece. Her publications include two poetry collections, Wild Greens and Passion Maps, from Red Hen Press and scholarly work on Sylvia Plath in Women’s Studies and Plath Profiles. Her essay collection, Ruin, Essays in Exilic Living deals with crisis moments that explore in Rachel Hadas’ words “…not only cities but states of mind and soul in a pulsing, fraying time.” Awarded Room magazine’s prize in nonfiction for 2011, and a “Notable Essay of the Year” in Best American Essays, Adrianne engages meanings of “exilic” and how it feels to live in cities emblematic of late capitalism. Read more here: She has taught creative writing and literature in the Creative Writing Program at New York University, and at the University of Freiburg.


Debra Marquart

November 5, 2014

Wildcat Shop

Debra Marquart is a professor of English in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University.  Marquart's work has received numerous awards and commendations, including the John Guyon Nonfiction Award, the Mid-American Review Nonfiction Award, The Headwater's Prize, the Shelby Foote Prize for the Essay from the Faulkner Society, a Pushcart Prize, and a 2008 NEA Creative Writing Prose Fellowship among others.  Her work has appeared in numerous journals including The North American Review, Three Penny Review, New Letters, River City, Crab Orchard Review, Narrative Magazine, The Sun, The Normal School, Orion, and Witness.

Marquart’s memoir, The Horizontal World: Growing up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere, received the "Elle Lettres" award from Elle Magazine, a New York Times Editors’ Choice commendation, and the 2007 PEN USA Creative Nonfiction Award.  Marquart is also the author of two poetry collections--Everything's a Verb and From Sweetness--and a collection of interrelated short stories, The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories, which draws on her experiences as a female road musician. 

Marquart’s latest book, a poetry collection, Small Buried Things, is forthcoming from New Rivers Press in 2015.  She is currently at work on a nonfiction book, “The Listening Room: Notes on a Life in Music,” which is an acoustic ecology, a meditation on the pleasures and privileges of being a singer, and an autobiography of a life filled with making and listening to music.


Terry Martin

January 27, 2015

Wildcat Shop

Terry Martin earned a B.A. from Western Washington University and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. An English Professor at Central Washington University, she is the recipient of CWU's Distinguished Professor Teaching Award and the CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year Award. Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared in hundreds of publications and she has edited books, journals and anthologies. Her first book of poems, Wishboats, won the Judges' Choice Award at Seattle's Bumbershoot Book Fair in 2000; her second book, The Secret Language of Women, was published in 2006. Her new book of poems, The Light You Find, was published by Blue Begonia Press in September 2014. She lives with her family in Yakima, Washington.


Kevin Sampsell

February 24, 2015

Wildcat Shop

Kevin Sampsell is the publisher of the micro press, Future Tense Books, which he has been running out of Portland for over twenty years. He is the author of a memoir, A Common Pornography (Harper Perennial) and a novel, This Is Between Us (Tin House). He has been published in Best American Essays 2013, Fairy Tale Review, Salon, Hobart, Pank, and many other publications. His column about collage art, Paper Trumpets, appears regularly on The Rumpus website.

Thomas Sayers Ellis

April 21, 2015

SURC Theatre

Poet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room and Skin, Inc. (Graywolf Press). His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry (1999, 2001 and 2010), The Nation, Paris Review, Poetry and Tin House and "Vernacular Owl," his elegy for Amiri Baraka, was award the Levinson Prize for Poetry by Poetry Magazine in 2014. His photo-essays and photographs have appeared widely in magazines and on book covers, and in 2011 he had his first solo exhibition "(Un)Lock It: the Percussive People in the GoGo Pocket" in Washington, D.C.. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Montana.

Allison Joseph

May 12, 2015

SURC Theatre

 Allison Joseph was born in London, England in 1967 to parents of Caribbean heritage. She grew up in Toronto, Canada and the Bronx, New York. She is a graduate of Kenyon College and the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Indiana University.  She has taught since 1994 at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where she help to found Crab Orchard Review, a journal of literary works, and the Young Writers Workshop, a coed residential summer program for teen writers. She is also the moderator of the Creative Writers Opportunities List, a list-serve that provides publication and submission information to writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

In 2012, she was awarded the George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.Allison Joseph was born in London, England in 1967 to parents of Caribbean heritage. She grew up in Toronto, Canada and the Bronx, New York. She is a graduate of Kenyon College and the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Indiana University.  She has taught since 1994 at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where she help to found Crab Orchard Review, a journal of literary works, and the Young Writers Workshop, a coed residential summer program for teen writers. She is also the moderator of the Creative Writers Opportunities List, a list-serve that provides publication and submission information to writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

In 2012, she was awarded the George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Tim Seibles

May 19, 2015

SURC Theatre

Timothy Seibles  is an Associate Professor of English at Old Dominion University. His most recent poetry collection, Fast Animal, was a National Book Award Finalist in 2012. Tim is also the author of poetry collections Body Moves, Hurdy-Gurdy, Kerosene, Ten Miles an Hour, Buffalo Head Solos, and Hammerlock. An NEA Fellow in 1990, he also received the Open Voice Award from the National Writers Voice Project. In 2013 he received the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for poetry. He was a writing fellow as well as the writing coordinator at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Before beginning to teach at Old Dominion, he spent a year living and writing in Cambridge. Recently his work has been featured in Red Brick Review, New Letters, Dark Eros, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Artful Dodge, and in E. Ethelbert Miller's anthology In Search of Color Everywhere.



2013-2014 Readings:

Alice Derry

October 8, 2013

7:30 p.m.

SURC Theatre

Alice Derry is the author of six books of poetry, the most recent being Tremolo, published by Red Hen Press in 2012.  Her collection Strangers to Their Courage was a finalist for the Washington Book Award in 2002.  After thirty-seven years teaching writing and literature, she recently retired from Peninsula College where for more than a quarter century, she co-directed the Foothills Writers Series.


Scott Olsen

Friday, November 8, 2013

7:30 p.m.

Museum of Culture and Environment, Dean Hall

W. Scott Olsen is the author of several books, including At Speed: Traveling the Long Road between Two Points (Univ of Nebraska Press, 2006) and Hard Air: Adventures from the Edge of Flying (Bison Books, 2008) , a blog called “A Week in Fire,” and is the editor of many anthologies. He is a professor of English at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and the editor in chief of the literary journal Ascent.

Co-sponsored by the Museum of Culture and Environment

Karen Finneyfrock

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

7:30 p.m.

SURC Theatre

Karen Finneyfrock is a slam poet, novelist, and teachingartist in Seattle, WA. Her second book of poems, Ceremony for the Choking Ghost, was released on Write Bloody press in 2010. Her young adult novel, The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door, was released from Viking Children's Books in February, 2013. She is a former writer-in-residence at Richard Hugo House in Seattle and teaches for Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers-in-the-Schools.


Photo of Derek Sheffield Derek Sheffield

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

7:30 p.m.

Wildcat Shop

Award-winning poet and nature writer Derek Sheffield's first poetry collection, Through the Second Skin, was published by Orchises Press in 2013. His poems have appeared widely in literary magazines and journals such as Poetry, The Georgia Review, Orion, Ecotone, Hayden's Ferry Review and He has received fellowships from Artistic Trust, Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Seattle Music & Arts Commission. 


   Fiction writer Donna Miscolta

     Tuesday, April 15, 2014

     7:30 p.m.

     SURC Theate

Novelist Donna Miscolta is a Seattle writer of  Filipino/Mexican descent. She is the author of When the de La Cruz Family Danced (2011, Signal 8 Press). Miscolta has published fiction and essays widely in journal including Seattle Magazine, Calyx, and New Millenium Writing, and has received grants from Artist Trust and 4Culture.



  Nonfiction writer Brandon          Schrand

  Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  7:30 p.m.

  Wildcat Shop







  Poet Mark Wunderlich

  Tuesday, May 6, 2014

  7:30 p.m.

  Wildcat Shop







2012-2013 Readings 

Kathleen Flenniken

Wednesday, October 17, 7:30 p.m.

Museum of Culture and Environment, Dean Hall

Kathleen Flenniken is the 2012-2014 Washington State Poet Laureate. Her first book, Famous (University of Nebraska, 2006), won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association and a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry, The Writer’s Almanac, Poetry Daily, American Life in Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Her second collection, Plume, selected by Linda Bierds for the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series, was published in Spring 2012 by University of Washington Press.

Flenniken’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artist Trust, a Pushcart Prize, and grants from Artist Trust and the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop and was awarded an Emerging Writer’s Fellowship by The Writer’s Center in Bethesda in 2010. She teaches poetry through Seattle’s Writers in the Schools program, Jack Straw, and other arts agencies. Flenniken is a co-editor and president of Floating Bridge Press, a non-profit press dedicated to publishing Washington State poets, and president of the board at Jack Straw.

Co-sponsored by the Museum of Culture and Environment


Tuesday, November 6, 7:30 p.m.

SURC Theatre

David James Duncan is a father, a renowned fly fisher, a practitioner of what he calls “direct, small-scale compassion-activism,” and the author of the novels The River Why and The Brothers K, the story collection River Teeth, and the nonfiction collections My Story as Told by Water and God Laughs & Plays. He is also co-author of two fast-response activist books, The Heart of the Monster (2011, co-written with Rick Bass) and Citizen’s Dissent (2003, co-written with Wendell Berry).
David’s work has won three Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, three Pushcart Prizes, a Lannan Fellowship, the Western States Book Award for nonfiction, a National Book Award nomination, an honorary doctorate from University of Portland, the American Library Association’s 2003 Award for the Preservation of Intellectual Freedom (with co-author Wendell Berry), and inclusion in more than forty national anthologies including Best American Essays, Best American Sports Writing, Best American Catholic Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing (six times).
David’s essay, stories, memoirs and interviews have appeared in scores of magazines and quarterlies. He has spoken all over the U.S. on rivers and wilderness, imaginative and spiritual freedom, the tragicomedy of the writing life, the nonreligious literature of faith, the workable charm of the contemplative life, and the dire importance of the Interior West’s fast-vanishing wild salmon. David is a contributing editor to Orion Magazine and an appointee to the Trust for Public Land’s Wallace Stegner Circle. His book, River Teeth, helped inspire an award-winning journal of literary nonfiction, also called River Teeth. He scripted and narrated a documentary on bamboo flyrods titled “Trout Grass.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

SURC Theatre

Karen Spears Zacharias writes about real people and the issues that really matter to them.
Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Newsweek, National Public Radio, Relevant Magazine, Christianity Today, and CNN.
Karen teaches journalism at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wa., and blogs at A vocal advocate for veterans and military families, Karen’s father was killed-in-action,Vietnam, 1966.
While serving as the writer-in-residence at the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts, Fairhope, Al., Karen wrote A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder (MacAdam/Cage, April, 2012). It is the true crime tale of the murder of Karly Sheehan of Corvallis, Oregon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

SURC Theatre

Tom Wayman was born in 1945 in Hawkesbury, Ontario, a pulp mill town on the Ottawa River. When he was 7 his family moved to Prince Rupert, a fishing and pulp mill town on the B.C. coast just south of the Alaska Panhandle. Wayman’s father was a pulp mill chemist. In 1959, the family moved to Vancouver, B.C., where Wayman finished high school, and attended the University of B.C. He graduated in 1966 with a B.A. in Honors English. During his undergraduate years Wayman worked as a journalist on the Vancouver Sun, and on the UBC student newspaper The Ubyssey (of which he was editor-in-chief in 1965-66).

In 1966 Wayman went to southern California for graduate work, receiving an M.F.A. in English and writing from the University of California at Irvine. He subsequently worked at a range of manual and academic jobs in Colorado, Ontario, Michigan, and Alberta, as well as British Columbia. He has been writer-in-residence at the University of Windsor, University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University, University of Winnipeg and most recently (1996) University of Toronto. His latest teaching stints were for Okanagan University College in Vernon and Kelowna, B.C. (1990-91, and 1992-95) and the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, B.C. (1991-92, and 1995-present) .

Wayman has published thirteen collections of his poems, most recently Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-93 (1993) and The Astonishing Weight of the Dead (1994). A collection of his essays was published in 1983, and another, A Country Not Considered: Canada, Culture, Work, appeared in 1993. A play of his, The Parts Yard, was produced in the 1984 DuMaurier Festival of Plays in Vancouver.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

SURC Theatre

Jason Brown is the author of the short-story collections Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work (Open City Books, 2007) and Driving the Heart (W .W .Norton & Co. , 1999).  He received an MFA from Cornell and was a Wallace Stegner and a Truman Capote Fellow at Stanford University. Brown has won numerous fiction prizes and his work has appeared in publications such as The Best American Short Stories, Harper's, Open City, TriQuarterly, The Atlantic, and The Georgia Review

Jesse Lee KerchevalTuesday, April 30, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

SURC Ballroom

Jesse Lee Kercheval was born in Fontainbleau, France, and was raised in Florida. In 1983, she received a B.A. in History from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, where she studied writing with Janet Burroway, David Kirby, and Jerome Stern among others.

In 1986, she received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a teaching-writing fellow. After teaching a year as an assistant professor at DePauw University, in 1987, she joined the writing faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is currently the Sally Mead Hands Professor of English . She was director of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing from 1994 to 2010 and was also the founding director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Wisconsin.

Kercheval is the author of twelve books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Her novella Brazil (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2010) won the Ruthanne Wiley Memorial Novella Contest. Her poetry collection Cinema Muto (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009) was selected by David Wojahn for a Crab Orchard Open Selection Award. Her story collection The Alice Stories (University of Nebraska Press, 2007) won the Prairie Schooner Fiction Book Prize. Her first story collection The Dogeater (University of Missouri Press, 1987) won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Short Fiction. Space (Alonquin Books, 1998), her memoir about growing up near Cape Kennedy during the moon race, won the Alex Award from the American Library Association. Her novel The Museum of Happiness, set in Paris in 1929, has been reissued with a new afterword by the author by the University of Wisconsin Press as part of the Library of American Fiction. Her popular writing text Building Fiction has also been reissued in trade paperback by the UW Press. Her other poetry collections are Dog Angel (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004) and World as Dictionary (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1999).  She is also the author of two poetry chapbooks, Chartreuse (Hollyridge Press, 2005) and Film History as Train Wreck (Center for Book Arts, 2006) which won the 2006 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize. Her novel, My Life as a Silent Movie, is forthcoming from Indiana University Press in their Break Away Books series. Her individual stories and poems appear regularly in magazines in the U.S, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

She has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Research and Study Center at Harvard, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Corporation of Yaddo, and James A. Michener and the Copernicus Society. She spent 2010-2011 on sabbatical in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Her current projects include a collection of poems, Extranjera, in Spanish about Uruguay.


Elizabeth AustenTuesday, May 21, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

SURC Theatre

Elizabeth Austen is the author of the poetry collection  Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011) and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet, part of the 2010 Toadlily Press quartet, Sightline.  Her poems have appeared  in journals including Willow Springs, Bellingham Review, the Los Angeles Review, the Seattle Review, DMQ Review, and anthologies including Poets Against the War, Weathered Pages and  the Telling.

Through her early thirties, she worked as an actor, vocal coach and director with companies including Book-It Repertory Theatre, On the Boards and the Seattle Shakespeare Festival, as well as companies in Michigan, Montana, New Jersey and London, England. She trained as a classical actor and vocal coach at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and studied history, literature and philosophy at University College, London.
She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University-Los Angeles in 2001, and has taught in the “Inquiry Through Writing” program at Richard Hugo House, a literary arts center in Seattle. She has been a visiting artist for the Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon, Seattle and Sedro Woolley, Washington school districts, and for the Austin, Texas ArtSpark Festival. She has led workshops for Burning Word, Field’s End, Highline Community College, Poets in the Park, Puget Sound Writers Program and the Washington Center for the Book. 



2011-2012 Readings:

Harold TawTuesday, October 11, 2011, 7:30 pm
Music Building Recital Hall

Harold Taw

Harold Taw's debut novel, Adventures of the Karaoke King (AmazonEncore 2011), is a karaoke grail quest about people who keep falling just short of their dreams. A participant in the 2009 Artist Trust EDGE Program for Writers and the 2011 Jack Straw Writers Program, Harold received an Artist Trust GAP award to research his second novel Saturday's Child, garnered accolades for his screenplay Dog Park, and had his work featured on NPR and in a New York Times bestselling anthology. Harold graduated from Yale Law School and as a Fulbright Scholar studied prostitution and the AIDS epidemic in rural Thailand.

A reviewer for The Star-Ledger newspaper in Newark, New Jersey praised Harold's novel as an "imaginative and engrossing tale," in which "the targets of his poison pen are consumerism, the tawdry accoutrements of tourist stops in the Southwest, corporate destruction of unique establishments in a quest to MacDonald's-ize commercial success, self-help gurus and the insanity of the justice system that demonizes immigrants."

An customer criticized Harold's novel as "[d]isturbing" and "the bleakest, grimmest book I've read in a very long time" because it left her "in the grip of an overwhelming sense that perhaps this is indeed all there is to life in America...."

Harold thinks both reviewers got it just about right. He is featured in a radio piece on karaoke produced for the NPR affiliate KPLU.

Lorraine HealyTuesday, November 8, 2011, 7:30 pm   
♦  SURC Ballroom

Lorraine Healy

Lorraine Healy, an award-winning Argentinean poet of Irish ancestry, was the first poet to receive a green card solely on the merits of her work. Her book of poems The Habit of Buenos Aires won the Patricia Bibby First Book Award and was published by Tebot Bach Press in 2010. She has won several other national awards including the Hackney Prize and has been published extensively both in the U.S. and her native Argentina. Healy graduated from the M.F.A in Poetry program at New England College, New Hampshire, as well as from the post-MFA Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. As a fine arts photographer, she has had several collective shows at the Bayview Front Room on Whidbey Island and participated in the Island Arts Council Open Studio Tour.

Phil GarrisonTuesday, November 8, 2012, 7:30 pm
♦  Cultural Museum, Dean Hall

Phil Garrison

Philip Garrison is the author of many books, including Augury and Waiting for the Earth to Turn Over(University of Utah Press), The Permit that Never Expires: Migrant Tales from the Ozark Hills and the Mexican Highlands (University of Arizona Press), and Because I Don't Have Wings: Stories of Mexican Immigrant Life(University of Arizona Press). He also founded APOYO, a volunteer group that offers advocacy, interpretation services, and a food and clothing bank that now serves some 400 people a month from Central Washington's Mexican communities. He is a recipient of the Associated Writing Programs Creative Nonfiction Award and a Governor's Writer's Award from Washington State. He is a professor emeritus at Central Washington University.

Lisa NorrisTuesday, February 7, 2012
♦  SURC Ballroom

Lisa Norris

Lisa Norris's story collection, Women Who Sleep With Animals (Stephen F. Austin State University Press 2010), won the Stephen F. Austin University Press Prize for fiction and was a finalist for the Spokane prize. Her first book, Toy Guns: Stories, won the Willa Cather Fiction Prize in 1999 and was published by Helicon Nine Press. Her stories, poems and creative nonfiction have been published in a number of literary journals-most recently Shenandoah, South Dakota Review, and Ascent--as well as an anthology called Kiss Tomorrow Hello (Doubleday 2006). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from American University, her MA from Idaho State University, and her BS in Fisheries & Wildlife from Virginia Tech. She is an associate professor at Central Washington University.

Monday, April 9, 2012, 7:30 pm    
♦   SURC Theater

Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle is the author of Mink River (Oregon State University Press 2010). Some of his other works include The Grail: A Year Ambling and Shambling through an Oregon Vineyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World (Oregon State University Press), The Wet Engine (Paraclete Press) and five collections of essays. Doyle's work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, American Scholar, Orion and in the Best American Essays anthologies of 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2005. He is editor of Portlandmagazine, the publication of the University of Portland, in Oregon.

Monday, April 16, 2012, 7:30 pm   

 ♦   SURC Theater

Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser served as the U. S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and his book Delights & Shadows won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry Over a dozen volumes of his poetry were published between 1969 and 2007. Also an essayist, he is a Presidential Professor of English at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His writing is known for its clarity, precision and accessibility. He worked for many years in the life insurance business, retiring in 1999 as a vice president. He and his wife, Kathleen Rutledge, the retired editor of The Lincoln Journal Star, live on an acreage near the village of Garland, Nebraska. He has a son, Jeff, and a granddaughter, Margaret.

Monday, May 14, 2012, 7:30 pm   
 ♦   SURC Theater

Daniel Orozco

Daniel Orozco, the author of Orientation: And Other Stories published in May, 2011 by Faber & Faber , also has published work in Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies, and in Harper's Magazine, Zoetrope, McSweeney's, Story Quarterly, and others. He was a Scowcroft and L'Heureux Fiction Fellow and a Jones Lecturer in Fiction in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University. He has been awarded residencies from the MacDowell Colony and the Lannan Foundation, and is the recipient of writing fellowships from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is an assistant professor at the University of Idaho.

Previous Readings:

Image of Joseph PowellMonday, October 4, 2010, 7:30 pm    ♦   Mary Grupe Center

Joseph Powell

Joseph Powell grew up on a small farm in Ellensburg. He received his BA in English Literature from the University of Washington, an MA from Central Washington University, and a MFA from the University of Arizona. His first book of poems, Counting the Change, was selected by Ted Weiss to be published in the Quarterly Review of Literature; his second, Winter Insomnia, was published by Lex Runciman's Arrowood Books; his third, Getting Here, was also chosen by Weiss for the Quarterly Review of Literature. He has also co-written a book with Mark Halperin on meter in poetry: Accent On Meter: A Handbook for the Readers of Poetry, published by NCTE. He published a book of stories in 2007 titled Fish Grooming & Other Stories from March Street Press which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. His latest book of poems, Hard Earth, was published in 2010 by March Street Press. In his spare time, he enjoys flyfishing, gardening, gathering mushrooms and berries, playing ping-pong and tennis. Joe teaches writing at Central Washington University.


Image of Jess WalterMonday, October 18, 2010, 7:30 pm    ♦   Music Building Recital Hall

Jess Walter

Jess Walter is the author of five novels, including The Zero, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award and Citizen Vince, winner of the 2005 Edgar Allen Poe Award for best novel. He has been a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize and the PEN USA Literary Prize in both fiction and nonfiction. His books have been New York Times, Washington Post and NPR best books of the year and are translated into twenty-two languages. He lives with his family in Spokane.


Image of William PackMonday, November 1, 2010, 7:30 pm    ♦   Mary Grupe Center

William Pack

William Pack grew up in poverty in rural Montana, became emancipated from his parents at age 15, slept on floors and worked odd jobs until landing a job as a stock broker for Merrill Lynch. He used hard work, business prowess, and an uncanny intuition for timing market swings to quickly rise to prominence. At 36 he became the youngest EVP/divisional director at Citigroup Smith Barney. Pack also served as an arbitrator and an appellate arbitrator while serving an appointment on the District Conduct Committee of the NASD, a secruities regulation enforcement partner of the SEC, where he studied and resolved securitites schemes. His first book, The Bottom of the Sky , is published by Riverbend Publishing of Helena, Montana. It was an award-winning finalist, Best Book 2009 Awards, in the category of Literature and Fiction: General (USA Book News). When not in Montana, Pack lives in Northern California.


Image of Tod MarshallTuesday, January 18, 2011, 7:30 pm    ♦   SURC Theatre

Tod Marshall

Tod Marshall grew up in Kansas. His first collection of poetry was Dare Say (University of Georgia Press, 2002). He has also published a collection of his interviews with contemporary poets, Range of the Possible (Eastern Washington University Press, 2002) and an attendant anthology of work by the interviewed poets, Range of Voices (EWU Press, 2005). His latest book is The Tangled Line (Canarium Press, 2009). He lives in Spokane, Washington, and teaches at Gonzaga University.


Image of Buddy LevyTuesday, March 1, 2011, 7:30 pm    ♦   SURC Theatre

Buddy Levy

Buddy Levy is the author of the forthcoming River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Historic Descent of the Amazon (Bantam Dell, 2011) and Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs (Bantam Dell, 2008), which was a finalist for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, 2009. His previous books include American Legend: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett (Putnam, 2005, Berkeley Books, 2006); and Echoes On Rimrock: In Pursuit of the Chukar Partridge (Pruett, 1998). As a freelance journalist he has covered adventure sports and lifestyle/travel subjects around the world, including several Eco-Challenges and other adventure expeditions in Argentina, Borneo, Chile, Ecuador, Europe, Greenland, Peru, Morocco, and the Philippines. His magazine articles and essays have appeared in Backpacker, Big Sky Journal, Couloir, Discover, High Desert Journal, Poets & Writers, River Teeth, Ski, Trail Runner, Utne Reader, TV Guide, and VIA. He is associate professor of English at Washington State University, and lives in northern Idaho with his wife and two children.


Image of Marjorie SandorTuesday, April 5, 2011, 7:30 pm    ♦   SURC Theatre

Marjorie Sandor

Marjorie Sandor is the author of The Late Interiors: A Life Under Construction, Arcade Publishing (May 2011), Portrait of My Mother, Who Posed Nude in Wartime, Sarabande Books (2003), and The Night Gardener, The Lyons Press (1999) as well as A Night of Music, Ecco Press (1989). She won an award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation for fiction in 1999, the Oregon Book Award for Literay Nonfiction in 2000 and the National Jewish Book Award in Fiction in 2004. She earned her MFA from the University of Iowa in 1984 and her BA from the University of California at Davis in 1979. Marjorie is a professor at Oregon State University where she teaches creative writing and literature.


Image of Susan Rich

Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 7:30 pm    ♦   SURC Ballroom, Section A

Susan Rich

Susan Rich is the author of three collections of poetry, The Cartographer's Tongue / Poems of the World, Cures Include Travel, and The Alchemist's Kitchen. She has received awards from PEN USA, The Times Literary Supplement, and Peace Corps Writers. Her fellowships include an Artists Trust Fellowship from Washington State and a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa. She lives in Seattle.



Image of Allen BradenTuesday, May 24, 2011, 7:30 pm    ♦   SURC Ballroom, Section A

Allen Braden

Poet Allen Braden is author of A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood (University of Georgia Press 2009) and a fine letterpress accordion book, Detail of the Four Chambers to the Horse's Heart. He received an NEA fellowship for creative writing and was awarded a residency at the Poetry Center and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Braden's recent work appears in Orion Magazine, Subtropics, Poetry International, Water-Stone Review and three textbooks. He lives in Tacoma and teaches poetry and creative writing at Tacoma Community College





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