UC Riverside to Host 41st Annual Writers Week

The free literary event returns to UCR in February 2018 with headliners Maxine Hong Kingston, Janet Fitch, and Roxane Gay

Maxine Hong Kingston

Maxine Hong Kingston will headline the 41st annual Writers Week, held at UC Riverside in February 2018. Photo credit: Maryanne Teng Hogarth

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — California’s longest-running free literary event, Writers Week, will return to the University of California, Riverside for its 41st installment Feb. 12-17, 2018.

Feminist icon and National Medal of Arts recipient Maxine Hong Kingston, best-selling novelist Janet Fitch, and Haitian-American essayist and New York Times columnist Roxane Gay will headline the event, joining an additional 17 authors for an on-campus series of presentations and readings.

In keeping with the event’s emphasis on showcasing diverse voices, this year’s lineup of featured writers reflects a range of perspectives from around the country and world, said Tom Lutz, a professor of creative writing at UCR and the event’s director.

“The writers work in very different genres as well: realist novels, historical novels, slipstream, science fiction, graphic novels, memoir, autofiction, poetry, prose poetry, spoken word, fantasy, and creative nonfiction,” Lutz said.

The series is free and open to the public, and all events will take place in Room 1128 of Interdisciplinary Building South. Complimentary parking permits will be available at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

Writers Week 2018 is made possible by support from African Student Programs, LGBT Resource Center, The Well, Women’s Resource Center, Office of the Chancellor, Inlandia Institute, Department of Creative Writing Reading Series, Department of Ethnic Studies, California Center for Native Nations, Department of English, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Poets & Writers Inc., through a grant it received from the James Irvine Foundation.

Each presentation will last one hour and consist of an introduction, reading, and Q&A session. In order of appearance, this year’s participating writers are:

Monday, Feb. 12:

  • 2:30 p.m.: Tess Taylor is a poet, an on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and the chair of the poetry committee of The National Book Critics Circle. Her chapbook “The Misremembered World” (2003) won her the Poetry Society’s inaugural chapbook fellowship. She is also the author of “The Forage House” (2013) and “Work & Days” (2016).
  • 4 p.m.: Hadara Bar-Nadav is a poet and professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She is the author of two chapbooks: “Show Me Yours” (2010), which won the Midwest Poets Series Prize, and “Fountain and Furnace” (2016), which received the Sunken Garden Prize. Her poetry collections include “A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight” (2007), “The Frame Called Ruin” (2012), and “Lullaby (With Exit Sign)” (2013).

Tuesday, Feb. 13:

  • 3:30 p.m.: Chris Buckley is a poet, memoirist, editor, critic, and UCR professor emeritus whose work has appeared in The Hudson Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and The American Poetry Review. He has authored more than 50 books and chapbooks and has received four Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
  • 5 p.m. (with Marco Maisto): Micah Chatterton writes, edits, teaches, and tends library in the Inland Empire, where he grew up. His work has appeared in Body, Sixfold, Ruminate, Tupelo Quarterly, Letters, Slice, and several anthologies. His debut poetry collection, “Go to the Living,” was published in spring 2017. He is an alumnus of UCR’s master of fine arts program and a finalist for the Inlandia Institute Prize.
  • 5 p.m. (with Micah Chatterton): Marco Maisto is a poet, writer, and copywriter. His long poem “The Loneliness of the Middle-Distance Transmissions Aggregator” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015, and he won the Hillary Gravendyk National Book Prize for his book “Traces of a Fifth Column” (2017). He is also the winner of the Inlandia Institute Prize.
  • 6:30 p.m.: Krys Lee published her debut novel “How I Became a North Korean” in 2016 after moving back to South Korea. She was born there but grew up, went to school, and wrote her first book, a collection of stories called “Drifting House” (2012), in the United States. Lee is the recipient of the Rome Prize and now teaches at Yonsei University in Seoul.

Wednesday, Feb. 14:

  • 1 p.m. (with James Luna): Nanette Deetz is a Dakota, Lakota, Cherokee, and German poet, journalist, educator, and musician with the band Redbird Giving. Her poetry has been published in numerous anthologies, and as a journalist her writing has appeared in Native News Online, the Tribal Business Journal, and Bay Area News Group. She teaches drama and creative writing at Da Vinci Center for Gifted Children, and with the California Dept. of Rehabilitation.
  • 1 p.m. (with Nanette Deetz): James Luna is an internationally renowned performance and installation artist with more than 30 years of performance and exhibition experience. Since 1975, he has had more than 41 solo exhibitions, participated in 85 group exhibitions, and performed internationally at venues including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and New Museum, among others.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Josh Emmons is an associate professor at UCR. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Esquire. He is the author of the novels “The Loss of Leon Meed” (2005) — which won the James Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award — and “Prescription for a Superior Existence” (2008), as well as a short story collection, “A Moral Tale and Other Moral Tales” (2017).
  • 4 p.m.: Gina Nahai was born in Iran and moved to the United States the night Elvis Presley died. She is the author of “The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.” (2014), a murder mystery and social satire of the expatriate Persian community in Los Angeles. Her other novels include “Cry of the Peacock” (1991), “Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith” (1999), “Sunday’s Silence” (2000), and “Caspian Rain” (2007).
  • 5:30 p.m.: Vickie Vertiz is a poet and alumna of UCR’s master of fine arts program. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Ghost Town, Statement, The Volta, Huizache, and KCET’s Departures. She is the author of the poetry collections “Swallows” (2013) and “Palm Frond With Its Throat Cut” (2017).

Thursday, Feb. 15:

  • 1 p.m.: Justin Torres is an assistant professor at UCLA whose writing has appeared in Harper’s Magazine and The New Yorker. He has received the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and the United States Artists Rolon Fellowship in Literature. His debut novel, “We the Animals” (2011), has been translated into 15 languages, and is being adapted into a film.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Sherwin Bitsui is a Navajo poet whose work has appeared in The Iowa Review, American Poet, and Lit Magazine. He holds an associate’s degree in fine arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Creative Writing Program. His first book, “Shapeshift,” was published in 2003, and his second poetry collection, “Flood Song” (2009), won the PEN Open Book Award and the American Book Award.
  • 5:30 p.m.: Janet Fitch is this year’s Steven Minot Lecturer. Her recently published novel, “The Revolution of Marina M.” (2017), is a sweeping historical saga of the Russian Revolution. Her best-selling novel “White Oleander” (1999) was an Oprah’s Book Club selection and became a feature film released in 2002 and starring Michelle Pfeiffer. In 2016, her novel “Paint It Black” (2006) also was made into a film, directed by Amber Tamblyn.
  • 7 p.m.: Charmaine Craig is an assistant professor at UCR whose first novel, “The Good Men” (2002), was a national best-seller and translated into six languages. Her second novel, “Miss Burma” (2017) — which tells the story of Burma in the 20th century through the lens of one family inspired by her parents and grandparents — was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction.

Friday, Feb. 16:

  • 11 a.m.: Tee Franklin, a queer, black, and disabled comic writer and advocate from New Jersey, won the 2017 Queer Press Grant for “Bingo Love,” a Kickstarter-funded novella representing the lives of queer black women. “Bingo Love” will be released on Valentine’s Day 2018 in comic shops everywhere.
  • 1 p.m.: John Jennings is a UCR professor of media and cultural studies and a cooperating creative writing faculty member. Jennings co-edited the Eisner Award-winning essay collection “The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art” (2015) and co-founded the Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is currently the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Myriam Gurba is a Chicana writer, spoken-word artist, visual artist, and member of Sister Spit, the lesbian feminist spoken-word and performance art collective. She is the author of five chapbooks, as well as “Dahlia Season: Stories and a Novella” (2007), “Painting Their Portraits in Winter: Stories” (2015), and “Mean” (2017), about her coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana.
  • 7 p.m.: Maxine Hong Kingston, this year’s Los Angeles Review of Books/UCR Creative Writing Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, is a Chinese-American novelist, journalist, anti-war advocate, and professor emerita at her alma mater, UC Berkeley. Her extensive body of work includes “The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts” (1976), which won the National Book Critics Circle’s General Nonfiction Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; “China Man” (1980), for which she received the National Book Award for Nonfiction; and “Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book” (1989), which won a PEN West Award for Fiction.

Saturday, Feb. 17:

  • 7 p.m.: Roxane Gay is a Haitian-American fiction writer, essayist, critic, editor, and professor. She is a contributing Opinion columnist for The New York Times, and the author of the books “Ayiti” (2011), “An Untamed State” (2014), “Bad Feminist” (2014), and “Difficult Women” (2017). Her recent release “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” (2017) was named a New York Times Best Seller.

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