Readings, Writers and Recitations

38th annual Writers Week returns to UC Riverside Feb. 2-5, 2015

photos of Rankine, Bulawayo and Dyer

Writers Claudia Rankine, NoViolet Bulawayo and critic Geoff Dyer (l-r) are among the speakers at Writers Week 2015.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Award-winning novelists, poets and journalists will discuss their craft Feb. 2-5, 2015, during the 38th annual Writers Week at the University of California, Riverside. Writers Week is the longest-running, free event devoted to writing and writers in Southern California.

Kicking things off at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2, is Claudia Rankine, whose “Citizen: An American Lyric” is widely considered to be the frontrunner for this year’s National Book Award.

More than a dozen nationally and internationally famous authors will participate in discussions and readings during Writers Week, along with some who are just beginning their careers. Works by Writers Week authors will be available for purchase at the venue on the days of their presentations.

“A remarkable roster, with Claudia Rankine, the Zimababwean-American novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, and novelist and critic Geoff Dyer,” said Tom Lutz, director of the annual event and a professor of creative writing at UCR. “This year we are also saying goodbye to some of our most celebrated colleagues — Juan Felipe Herrera and Mike Davis — and hello to our new colleagues, novelists Jane Smiley and Josh Emmons and poets Katie Ford and Allison Benis White.”

Science fiction author Ernest Hogan will present a master class in writing before his scheduled reading on Wednesday, Feb. 4. The master class will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in Interdisciplinary Building 1128. It is free and open to the public.

Writers Week 2015 is made possible by support from the UC Riverside College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS) and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

UC Riverside has the only undergraduate creative writing program in the University of California and offers a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and writing for the performing arts.


Here is the schedule for Writers Week. Daytime activities take place in the UCR Bookstore lounge. Evening events will be in the Highlander Union Building, Room 302. Admission is free. Complimentary parking permits are available at the kiosk on West Campus Drive, near University Avenue.

Monday, Feb. 2

Claudia RankineClaudia Rankine: 5-6:15 p.m.
Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry: “Citizen: An American Lyric, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric,” “PLOT,” “The End of the Alphabet,” and “Nothing in Nature is Private,” which received the Cleveland State   Poetry Prize. She was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2013. Born in Jamaica, Rankine earned her B.A. in English from Williams College and her M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University. She teaches at Pomona College. This event is support by Poets & Writers Inc. through a grant it received from The James Irvine Foundation.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Tod GoldbergTod Goldberg:   Noon-1:15 p.m.
Tod Goldberg is the author of a dozen books, including “Gangsterland” and “Living   Dead Girl,” which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the popular “Burn Notice” television series. His essays, nonfiction, and criticism have appeared in numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Best American Essays, and have earned him five Nevada Press Association awards. He directs the Low Residency M.F.A. program in creative writing and writing for the performing arts at UCR’s Palm Desert Center.

Steph ChaSteph Cha: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Steph Cha is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. She lives in her native city of Los Angeles. “Follow Her Home was her first novel, published in 2012. “Beware Beware was published in 2014. Her newest novel, “Dead Soon Enough,” is the third in the Juniper Song mystery series and will publish in August 2015. She writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times,primarily book reviews and food articles, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She divides her time between writing and working as a temp attorney.

Josh EmmonsJosh Emmons: 3-4:15 p.m.
Josh Emmons is the author of two novels, “The Loss of Leon Meed” and “Prescription for a Superior Existence,” which have been translated into several languages. He received his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, ZYZZYVA, Esquire, The American Scholar and The San Francisco Chronicle, and his stories have been honorably noted in “The Best American Non-Required Reading.” He is at work on a third novel and a short story collection, and teaches at UCR.

Katie FordKatie Ford & Alison Benis White: 4:30 -6:15 p.m.
Katie Ford is the author of “Deposition,” “Colosseum” and “Blood Lyrics.” “Colosseum” was named among the Best Books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review and led to a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize.   Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, The  American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and many other journals. She completed graduate work in theology and poetry at Harvard University and received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She teaches at UCR.

Alison Benis WhiteAlison Benis White is the author of “Small Porcelain Head,” winner of The Levis Prize   in Poetry and a finalist for the California Book Award and the PEN Center USA Literary Award. Her first book, “Self-Portrait with Crayon,” received the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. Her honors include   the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, an Emerging Writers Fellowship from The Writer’s Center, and a Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers. She teaches creative writing at UCR.

Mike DavisMike Davis & Juan Felipe Herrera: 6:30-8:15 p.m.
Mike Davis is a UCR professor of creative writing. His 20 books include“City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990), which was named a best book in urban politics by the American Political Science Association, won the Isaac Deutscher Award from the London School of Economics, and has been translated into eight languages; and “Planet of Slums: Urban Involution and the Informal Working Class (2006). He was named a Macarthur Fellow in 1998 and was honored for distinguished achievement in nonfiction by the Lannan Literary Foundation.

Juan Felipe HerreraJuan Felipe Herrera was appointed to a two-year term as Poet Laureate of California   by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012. Author of over 25 books, he has won awards from Guggenheim, PEN USA, PEN American Center, the Smithsonian, and the National Book Critics Circle, as well the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Americas Award, and the Focal Award. Among his books are   “Akrílica,” “Crash Boom Love,” and “Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes,” which published in August. He is a UCR professor of creative writing.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Ernesto HoganErnest Hogan: Noon-1:15 p.m.
Ernest Hogan is a recombocultural Chicano mutant, known for committing outrageous acts of science fiction, cartooning, and other questionable pursuits. His novels are “Cortez on Jupiter,” “High Aztech” and “Smoking Mirror Blues.” His short fiction has appeared in Amazing Stories, Analog, Science Fiction Age, Semiotext(E)Sf, “Super Stories of Heroes & Villains,” “We See A Different Frontier,” andMothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond.” “Black Obsidian,” his story collaboration with Rick Cook, was nominated for a Nebula Award.

Ching-In-ChenChing-In Chen: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Chin-In Chen is author of “The Heart’s Traffic” and co-editor of “The Revolution Starts   at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities.” A Kundiman, Lambda and Callaloo Fellow, and participated in Sharon Bridgforth’s Theatrical Jazz Institute. Chen is part of Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities, and was a participant in Sharon Bridgforth’s Theatrical Jazz Institute. Fellowships and residencies include Soul Mountain Retreat, Ragdale Foundation, and the Norman Mailer Center.Chen is this year’s UCR M.F.A. alumna reader.

Maria BustillosMaria Bustillos: 3-4:15 p.m.
Maria Bustillos is a Los Angeles-based journalist and critic. She is the author of “Dorkismo: the Macho of the Dork” and “Act Like a Gentleman, Think Like a Woman,” a satirical response to Steve Harvey’s “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New   York Times, the Guardian, The Awl, Medium, Aeon, Gawker, Slate, Details, OUTMagazine, BuzzFeed. LA Weekly, and many others. Her work for The   Awl and Los Angeles Review of Books was featured on Longreads Best of 2012.

Mona SimpsonMona Simpson & Michelle Huneven: 4:30-6:15 p.m.
Among Mona Simpson’s novels are “Anywhere but Here” (which became a major motion picture with Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman),My Hollywood,” “A   Regular Guy,” “The Lost Father,” “Off Keck Road” and “Casebook.” Her work has been awarded a Whiting Prize, a Guggenheim, an NEA grant, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a Lila Wallace Readers Digest Prize, a Chicago Tribune  Heartland Prize, and a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She teaches at UCLA.

Michelle HunevenMichelle Huneven was born in Altadena, Calif. She received an M.F.A .at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her novels include“Round Rock,” “Jamesland,” both New York Times notable books and finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and “Blame,” a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and “Off Course,” published in 2014. She also wrote a short story, “Separation,” that is included in the Literary Pasadena Anthology. She has received a GE Younger Writers Award, a Whiting Award for Fiction, and the James Beard award for food journalism. She teaches creative writing at UCLA.

Jane SmileyJane Smiley & Laila Lalami: 6:30-8:15 p.m.
Jane Smiley’s novel “A Thousand Acres” won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. Her novel “The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton” won the 1999 Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. Her novel “Horse Heaven” was short-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002, and her novel “Private Life” was chosen as one of the best books of 2010 by The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. Her new novel is “Some Luck.” She has written several works of nonfiction, and has published five volumes of a horse series for young adults. She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1987 and teaches at UCR.

Laila LalamiLaila Lalami, born in Morocco, is the author of the short story collection “Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits,” which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award, and the novel “Secret Son,” which was on the Orange Prize long list. “The Moor¹s Account,” based on the true story of the first black explorer of America, was published to critical acclaim in fall 2014. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, and the New   York Times.She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship. She teaches at UCR.

Thursday, Feb. 5

Michael DatcherMichael Datcher: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Michael Datcher is completing his Ph.D. in English literature at UCR. He is the author of the historical novel “Americus” and the New York Times bestseller “Raising Fences,” a Today Show Book Club Book of the Month pick. The film rights were optioned by actor Will Smith’s Overbrook Productions, which hired Datcher to write the screenplay. He is co-editor of “Tough Love: The Life and Death of Tupac Shakur.” Datcher’s play “SILENCE” was commissioned by and premiered at the Getty Museum. He teaches English at Loyola Marymount University.

MariNaomiMariNaomi: 12:30-1:45 p.m.
MariNaomi is the author and illustrator of the award-winning graphic memoir “Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22,”Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories,” and the upcoming book Turning Japanese.” Her work has appeared in over 50 anthologies. Her work on the Rumpus won a SPACE award and an honorable mention in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics 2013. Her artwork has been featured in   the De Young Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco’s Asian American Museum and the Japanese American Museum in   Los Angeles.

Alan SoldofskyAlan Soldofsky: 2-3:15 p.m.
Alan Soldofsky has published a collection of poetry, “In the Buddha Factory,” and three poetry chapbooks – “Kenora Station,” “Staying Home,” and a chapbook that includes a selection of poems by his son, Adam Soldofsky, “Holding Adam / My Father’s Books.” He was the recipient of a 2009 Artist Fellowship in Literary Arts from Arts Council Silicon Valley. His poems and criticism have appeared in numerous publications and journals. Soldofsky directs the Creative Writing Program at San Jose State University. He received an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Jervey TervalonJervey Tervalon: 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Jervy Tervalon is the author of six books including “Understanding This,” for which he won the Quality Paper Book Club’s New Voices Award, and the Los Angeles Times bestseller “Dead Above Ground.” His new novel, “Monster’s Chef,” was published in June 2014. He is the executive director of Literature for Life, a literary magazine and educational advocacy organization, and literary director of The Pasadena LitFest. An award-winning poet, screenwriter, dramatist and Disney Screen Writing Fellow, he received his M.F.A. in creative writing from UC Irvine and teaches at UC Santa Barbara.

Geoff DyerGeoff Dyer, Stephen Minot Lecturer: 5-6:15 p.m.
Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels: “Paris Trance,” “The Search,” “The Colour of Memory,” and “Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi”;two collections of essays; and six genre-defying titles: “But Beautiful,” “The Missing of the Somme,” “Out of Sheer Rage,” “Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It,” “The Ongoing Moment” and “Zona.” A collection of essays from the last 20 years titled “Otherwise Known as the Human Condition” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. His most recent book is “Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H W Bush.” (May 2014)

NoViolet BulawayoNoViolet Bulawayo: 7-8:30 p.m.
NoViolet Bulawayo won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing; was shortlisted for   the 2009 SA PEN Studzinsi Award, the 2013 Man Booker Prize, and the 2013 Guardian First Book Award; was a finalist for the B&N Discover Great Writers Award; and was one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 in 2013. Her work has appeared in Guernica, The Telegraph, Callaloo, The Boston Review, and Newsweek,   as well as in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the U.K. She is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. She was born and raised in Zimbabwe. This lecture is made possible by financial support from UC Riverside African Student Programs.

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Tel: (951) 827-7847
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Additional Contacts

Tom Lutz

Kathy DeAtley
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