Visiting Writers

Sponsored by the Department of English, the Visiting Writer Series brings interesting and diverse writers of prose and poetry to Reed to enhance our courses with readings and discussions.

To receive details of upcoming readings in your mailbox (electronic or paper), subscribe to our mailing list by emailing vswr@reed.edu or calling the Department at 503-777-7753.

Visiting Writers Series will take place this year in the Eliot Chapel. The readings begin at 6:30pm. Books are sold and refreshments are served!

Visiting Writers Series
2016-17 Schedule

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Dao Strom

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, October 6, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Dao Strom is a writer and musician whose work melds disparate “voices”—written, sung, visual—to contemplate the intersection of personal and collective histories. She is the author of a novel, Grass Roof, Tin Roof (2003), a collection of novellas, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (2006), and an image-text memoir, We Were Meant To Be a Gentle People (2015), accompanied by a music album, East/West (2015). She is a 2016 Creative Capital Award Artist. Her work has also received support from the Regional Arts Culture & Council, Oregon Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, James Michener Fellowship, and the Nelson Algren Award. Strom is a contributing writer and editor to diacritics.org, the leading blog on Vietnamese diasporic arts and culture, and a co-curator of INHERITORS, a Portland-based hybrid forms literary series exploring the inheritance of violence. Strom was born in Vietnam and grew up in northern California.

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Sofia Samatar

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, October 27, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Sofia Samatar is the author of the novels A Stranger in Olondria and The Winged Histories, both from Small Beer Press. Her stories and essays have appeared in Lightspeed, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, The New Inquiry, and elsewhere, and her work has received the John W. Campbell Award, the William L. Crawford Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award. She teaches in the English Department at James Madison University, where her interests include African and Arabic literature, Afrofuturism, and speculative fiction.

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Nathaniel Mackey

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, November 10, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Nathaniel Mackey is the author of six books of poetry, the most recent of which is Blue Fasa (New Directions, 2015); an ongoing prose work, From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, whose fifth volume, Late Arcade, is forthcoming from New Directions in 2017; and two books of criticism, the most recent of which is Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005).  Strick: Song of the Andoumboulou 16-25, a compact disc recording of poems read with musical accompaniment (Royal Hartigan, percussion; Hafez Modirzadeh, reeds and flutes), was released in 1995 by Spoken Engine Company.  He is the editor of the literary magazine Hambone and coeditor, with Art Lange, of the anthology Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (Coffee House Press, 1993).  His awards and honors include the National Book Award for poetry (2006), the Stephen Henderson Award from the African American Literature and Culture Society (2008), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2010), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation (2014), and the Bollingen Prize for American Poetry (2015).  He is the Reynolds Price Professor of English at Duke University.

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Claire Vaye Watkins

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, November 17, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Claire Vaye Watkins was born and raised in the Mojave Desert. A graduate of the University of Nevada Reno, Claire earned her MFA from the Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, Tin House, The Paris Review, One Story, Glimmer Train, Best of the West, Best of the Southwest, The New York Times and many others. A recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, Claire was also one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.”  She is the author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.  A Guggenheim Fellow, Claire is on the faculty of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

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Leslie Jamison

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, February 9, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Leslie Jamison is the author of The Empathy Exams, a New York Times bestselling essay collection, and a novel, The Gin Closet, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award. Her work has appeared in Harper's, Oxford American, A Public Space, Boston Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Believer, and the New York Times, where she is a regular columnist for the Sunday Book Review. She lives in Brooklyn and is an assistant professor at Columbia University.

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TC Tolbert

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, February 23, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

TC Tolbert often identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, dancer, and poet but really s/he’s just a human in love with humans doing human things. The author of Gephyromania (Ahsahta Press 2014) and 3 chapbooks, TC is also co-editor (along with Trace Peterson) of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books 2013). S/he is Core Faculty in the low residency MFA program at OSU-Cascades and spends his summers leading wilderness trips for Outward Bound. His favorite thing in the world is Compositional Improvisation (which is another way of saying being alive). www.tctolbert.com

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Robin Coste Lewis

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, March 2, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Robin Coste Lewis is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (Knopf, 2015), a National Book Award winner. 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. She received her BA from Hampshire College, her MFA in poetry from NYU, and an MTS in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from the Divinity School at Harvard University. A previous finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, she has published her work in various journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition: Women in Literary Arts, VIDA, Phantom Limb, and Lambda Literary Review, among others. She has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College, and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Lewis was born in Compton, California; her family is from New Orleans.

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Sara Jaffe

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, April 13, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Sara Jaffe's first novel, Dryland, was published by Tin House Books in September 2015. Her short fiction and criticism have appeared in publications including Fence, BOMB, NOON, Paul Revere’s Horse, matchbook, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She co-edited The Art of Touring (Yeti, 2009), an anthology of writing and visual art by musicians drawing on her experience as guitarist for post-punk band Erase Errata.

Recordings of previous readings

Former visiting writers list