Writers Week Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Best-selling, award-winning authors will discuss their work Feb. 14-16, 2017

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o will receive the second annual Los Angeles Review of Books/UCR Creative Writing Lifetime Achievement Award at Writers Week.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Writers Week, the longest-running, free literary event in California, celebrates its 40th anniversary at the University of California, Riverside Feb. 14-16, 2017.

This year’s celebration of writers and writing will feature Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, often mentioned as a potential Nobel Laureate, as well as National Book Award winner Robin Coste Lewis, Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, and a host of best-selling, award-winning novelists, journalists, and poets.

The event is free and open to the public. Complimentary parking permits will be available at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus. All author presentations will be in Interdisciplinary Building South 1128.

“Once again, we have many of the world’s most interesting and accomplished writers coming to spend the week with us in Riverside,” said Tom Lutz, UCR professor of creative writing and director of the event. “Ngugi will receive the second annual Los Angeles Review of Books/UCR Creative Writing Lifetime Achievement Award, and writers from Southern California and around the country will read and discuss their work, some extremely distinguished, some just having published their first works, some in the middle – all superb!”

Writers Week is presented by the UCR Department of Creative Writing, with additional support from African Student Programs, the Office of the Chancellor, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Poets & Writers.

Participating in Writers Week 2017 are:

  • Jade Chang, whose debut novel “The Wangs vs. the World,” was published in October by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She has worked as an arts and culture journalist and editor for publications like the BBC, Metropolis, Glamour, and The Los Angeles Times Magazine. She was recently an editor at Goodreads. She is the recipient of a Sundance Arts Journalist fellowship, the AIGA/Winterhouse Design Criticism Award, and a Squaw Valley Writers Workshop scholarship.
  • Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, the 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellow, has written numerous books and edited many poetry anthologies. Books published by Coffee House Press include: “Streaming,” which won the Pen Southwest Book Award in Poetry, Wordcrafter of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement Award NWCA, IPPY Medal; “Off-Season City Pipe,” which earned Wordcraft Writer of the Year in Poetry honors; and “Dog Road Woman,” recipient of the American Book Award. She is a distinguished professor of creative writing at UCR.
  • Natashia Déon, recipient of the PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellowship and author of the critically acclaimed novel “Grace” (Counterpoint Press). An attorney, writer, law professor, and creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series Dirty Laundry Lit, Deón was recently named one of L.A.’s Most Fascinating People by L.A. Weekly. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, Asian American Lit Review, Rattling Wall, B O D Y and other places.
  • Dagoberto Gilb, author of “Before the End,” “After the Beginning,” “The Flowers,” “Woodcuts of Women,” “Gritos,” “The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña,” and “The Magic of Blood.” Among his honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship and the PEN/Hemingway Award, and his work has been a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the executive director of CentroVictoria, a center for Mexican American literature and culture at the University of Houston-Victoria.
  • David Hernandez, whose most recent collection of poetry is “Dear, Sincerely” (University of Pittsburgh Press). His other books include “Hoodwinked” (Sarabande Books), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry; “Always Danger” (SIU Press), winner of the Crab Orchard Series; and “A House Waiting for Music” (Tupelo Press). He has been awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. Hernandez teaches creative writing at California State University, Long Beach.
  • Vanessa Hua, author of “Deceit and Other Possibilities.” She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, and is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, The New York Times, New Yorker online, Salon, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Newsweek, among other publications. She works and teaches at the Writers’ Grotto in San Francisco. She is a contributing non-fiction editor at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins.
  • Dana Johnson, the author of the short-story collection “In the Not Quite Dark,” published by Counterpoint in August. She is also the author of “Break Any Woman Down,” winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel “Elsewhere, California.” Both books were nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in The Paris ReviewCallalooThe Iowa Reviewand Huizache. She is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.
  • Michelle Latiolais, author of the novel “She” (Norton); Widow (Bellevue Literary Press), a collection of stories shortlisted for The Believer Book Award; the novel “A Proper Knowledge” (Bellevue Literary Press); and the novel “Even Now” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. She is a professor of English at the University of California, Irvine, where she co-directs the Programs in Writing.
  • Robin Coste Lewis, whose poetry collection “Voyage of the Sable Venus” (Knopf, 2015), won the National Book Award for poetry in 2015. She is a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at the University of Southern California. Lewis is also a Cave Canem fellow and a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. A previous finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, she has published in various journals and anthologies, including Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition: Women in Literary Arts, and Lambda Literary Review.
  • William Luvaas, who has published three novels: “The Seductions of Natalie Bach” (Little, Brown), “Going Under” (Putnam), and “Beneath The Coyote Hills” (Spuyten Duyvil Press). He is also the author of the story collections “A Working Man’s Apocrypha” (Oklahoma University Press) and “Ashes Rain Down: a story cycle” (Spuyten Duyvil Press). His novel “Welcome To Saint Angel” is forthcoming from Anaphora Literary Press in 2017.
  • Fred  Moten, who is the author of “In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition” (University of Minnesota Press), “Hughson’s Tavern” (Leon Works), “B. Jenkins” (Duke University Press), “The Feel Trio” (Letter Machine Editions), and co-author, with Stefano Harney, of “The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study” (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia). He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and a National Book Award in Poetry. He is a professor of English at UCR.
  • Daniel Olivas, the author of seven books and editor of two anthologies. His books include the award-winning novel “The Book of Want” (University of Arizona Press); the landmark anthology, “Latinos in Lotusland” (Bilingual Press), which brings together 60 years of Los Angeles fiction by Latino/a writers; and “Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews” (San Diego State University Press). He has written for many publications including The New York Times, El Paso Times, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Huffington Post.
  • Emily Rapp Black, who wrote “Poster Child: A Memoir and The Still Point of the Turning World” (Penguin Books), which was a New York Times Bestseller and a finalist for the PEN Center Literary Award in Nonfiction. She has received awards and recognition for her work from, among others, The Atlantic Monthly, StoryQuarterly, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Foundation, the Rona Jaffe Foundation (Emerging Writer Award), and the Jentel Arts Foundation. She is an assistant professor of writing at UCR.
  • Luis J. Rodriguez, the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Rodriguez is a novelist/memoirist/short story/children’s book writer as well as a community and urban peace activist, mentor, youth and arts advocate. He has written 15 books in all genres, including the best-selling memoir, “Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.” (Touchstone). His latest book is the sequel, “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing” (Touchstone) He is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, now in its 25th year, and co-founder/president of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural and Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley.
  • Marisa Silver, author of the novel “Little Nothing,” published in September by Blue Rider Press. Her other novels include “Mary Coin,” a New York Times Bestseller and winner of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Award for Fiction; “The God of War,” which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction; and “No Direction Home.” Her first collection of short stories, “Babe in Paradise,” was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year.
  • Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a Kenyan novelist, essayist, and playwright who has been publishing dynamic work since the 1960s. He has written more than 25 works, which have been translated into more than 30 languages. His work is the subject of many books, critical monographs, and dissertations, and he is the recipient of many honors, including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature. His 2006 novel “Wizard of the Crow” was published to global acclaim. He is a distinguished professor of English and literature at the University of California, Irvine.
  • Michael L. Tolkin, a filmmaker and novelist whose latest novel, “NK3,” will publish in February 2017. He has written numerous screenplays, including “The Player” (1992), which he adapted from his novel of the same name (1988), and for which he received the Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. He is also the author of the novel “The Return of the Player” and screenplays for “Nine,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Changing Lanes,” and “Deep Impact.” He is a writer, director, and producer on “Ray Donovan,” and wrote and directed the feature films “The Rapture” and “The New Age.”
  • Sarah Vap, who has written five collections of poetry, including “Dummy Fire,” winner of the 2006 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, selected by Forrest Gander. Her second collection, “American Spikenard,” was the winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize in 2007. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, and Gulf Coast, among other publications.


Media Contact

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E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
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Additional Contacts

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