Writers Week: Fabulous at 40

UCR’s annual celebration of writers and writing returns Feb. 14-16

RIVERSIDE, California – International award-winning novelist and playwright Ngugi wa Thiong’o will receive the second annual Los Angeles Review of Books/UC Riverside Creative Writing Lifetime Achievement Award during the 40th annual Writers Week at UCR Feb. 14-16.

The annual celebration of writing and writers is the longest-running, free literary event in California. All events are 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.

“We are very honored an excited to have Ngugi wa Thiong’o as the second recipient of the LA Review of Books/UC Riverside Creative Writing Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Tom Lutz, director of Writers Week and professor of creative writing. “We have many of the world’s most interesting and accomplished writers coming to spend the week with us in Riverside. Among the best known are National Book Award winner Robin Coste Lewis, Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez, Huizache editor and fellow Chicano literature pioneer Dagoberto Gilb, and author of “The Player” Michael Tolkin, and our own new faculty members Allison Adelle Hedge Coke and Emily Rapp Black.

“I’m also excited about a panel with two young-adult authors — Lilliam Rivera and Brandy Colbert — and their agent, Kima Jones. As usual at Writers Week, we have both first-time novelists like Natashia Déon, Jade Chang, and Vanessa Hua alongside more established writers like Michelle Latiolais, Dana Johnson, and William Luvaas.”

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.

The schedule of events is below.

Tuesday, Feb. 14

  • Dagoberto Gilb1 p.m. – 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.
  • Natashia Deon2:30 p.m. – Natashia Deón, recipient of the PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellowship and author of the critically acclaimed novel “Grace.” 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, and B O D Y. Deón has been awarded numerous fellowships and residencies.
  • Jade Chang3:30 p.m. – Jade Chang, whose debut novel “The Wangs vs. the World,” is a New York Times Editors’ Choice and was named one of the best books of 2016 by Buzzfeed, NPR, Elle, and others. Chang 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.
  • Michael Tolkin5 p.m. – Michael Tolkin, a filmmaker and novelist whose latest novel, “NK3,” will publish in February. He has written numerous screenplays, including “The Player,” which he adapted from his novel of the same name 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.”
  • Luis Rodriguez6:30 p.m. – 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.” His latest book is the sequel, “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing.” 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.

Wednesday, Feb. 15

  • William Luvaas11 a.m. – William Luvaas, who is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Fiction and has published three novels: “The Seductions of Natalie Bach,” “Going Under,” and “Beneath The Coyote Hills.” He is the author of the story collections “A Working Man’s Apocrypha” and “Ashes Rain Down: a story cycle,” which was a Huffington Post 2013 Book of the Year. He has edited an anthology of California writers, “Into The Deep End: The Writing Center Anthology 3.” His novel “Welcome To Saint Angel” is forthcoming from Anaphora Literary Press in 2017.
  • Fred MotenNoon – Fred Moten, who is the author of “In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition,” “Hughson’s Tavern,” “B. Jenkins,” and “The Feel Trio”;  and co-author, with Stefano Harney, of “The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study.” 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 also co-founder and co-publisher (with Joseph Donahue) of a small literary press called Three Count Pour. He is a professor of English at UCR.
  • Lilliam Rivera1 p.m. – Lilliam Rivera and Brandy Colbert with Kima Jones. Lilliam Rivera is the author of “The Education of Margot Sanchez,” a contemporary young adult novel to debut Feb. 21. She is also a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner with work in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Bellevue Literary Review, and Latina, among others.
    Brandy Colbert   Brandy Colbert is the author of the young adult novel “Pointe,” which was named a best book of 2014 by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, and the Chicago and Los Angeles public libraries. Her short fiction and nonfiction has been featured in critically acclaimed anthologies, and her next novel, “Little & Lion,” will be published in August.
    Kima Jones   Kima Jones has received fellowships from PEN Center USA Emerging Voices, Kimbilio Fiction, Yaddo’s 2016 Howard Moss Residency in poetry, and was named the 2014-2015 Gerald Freund Fellow at The MacDowell Colony. She has been published at GQ, Guernica, NPR, PANK, Scratch Magazine and The Rumpus among others and in the anthologies “Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History,” “Her Own Accord: American Women on Identity, Culture, and Community,” and The New York Times Best Seller “The Fire this Time.” Her short story “Nine” received notable mention in Best American Science Fiction 2015. She is a founding board member of Makara Center for the Arts in Santa Ana, California, and operates Jack Jones Literary Arts, a book publicity company in Los Angeles.
  • Sarah Vap2:30 p.m. – 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. “End of a Sentimental Journal: A Mystery Poem” is part of the Noemi Press Infidel Poetics Series. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, and Gulf Coast, among other publications. She is a recipient of a 2013 National Endowment of the Arts Grant for Literature.
  • Vanessa Hua3:30 p.m. – 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.
  • Daniel Olivas4:30 p.m. – 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.
  • Dana Johnson5:30 p.m. – 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 Review, Callaloo, The Iowa Review and Huizache. She is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.
  • Michelle Latiolais7 p.m. – 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.

Thursday, Feb. 16

  • Rachelle Cruz10:30 a.m. – Rachelle Cruz, is the author of “God’s Will for Monsters,” winner of the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Prize and the chapbook, “Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood” and co-editor with Melissa Sipin of “Kuwento: Lost Things,” an anthology of Philippine Myths. Her work has appeared in As/Us, New California Writing 2013, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Yellow Medicine Review, Jet Fuel Review, The Lit Pub, The Bakery, Stone Highway, The Collagist, Bone Bouquet, PANK Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Splinter Generation, KCET’s Departures Series, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, among others. She hosts “The Blood-Jet Writing Hour on Blog Talk Radio,” and is the podcast editor at The Collagist.
  • Ruth Nolan11:30 a.m. – Ruth Nolan, whose debut poetry chapbook, “Ruby Mountain,” was published in 2016. Her short story, “Palimpsest” was published in “LA Fiction Anthology: Southland Stories,” and won an Editor’s Reprint Honorable Mention award from Sequestrum Magazine. Her writing has also been published in James Franco Review, Angels Flight Literary West, Rattling Wall, Desert Oracle, Women’s Studies Quarterly, New California Writing, Lumen, and Pacific Review. Her nonfiction book, “Fire on the Mojave: Stories from the Deserts and Mountains of Inland Southern California,” is forthcoming in 2017. She is also the editor of “No Place for a Puritan: the Literature of California’s Deserts.”
  • Emily Rapp Black12:30 p.m. – 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), the Jentel Arts Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo; the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain; and Bucknell University, where she was the Philip Roth Fiction Writer-in-Residence. She is an assistant professor of writing at UCR.
  • David Hernandez1:30 p.m. – David Hernandez, whose most recent collection of poetry is “Dear, Sincerely.” His other books include “Hoodwinked,” winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry; “Always Danger,” winner of the Crab Orchard Series; “A House Waiting for Music;” and two young adult novels, “No More Us for You” and Suckerpunch.” He has been awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. His poems have appeared in Field, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and The Best American Poetry.
  • Allison Hedge Coke2:30 p.m. – 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.
  • Robin Coste Lewis3:30 p.m. – 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.
  • Ngugi_wa_Thiong'o5 p.m. – 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.
  • 6 p.m. – Closing reception

Media Contact


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