EWU Visiting Writer Series

About the Series

Every year the MFA program invites several prestigious writers to campus, where they lead workshops of student work and give readings to the broader community. Recent guests include Albert Goldbarth, Thomas Lynch, Aurelie Sheehan, Peter Everwine, Patricia Hampl, Linda Bierds, Thomas Lux, Alison Baker, James Tate, Dorianne Laux, Yusek Komunyakaa, Phillip Lopate, Lan Samantha Chang, Marilynne Robinson, Stuart Dybek, Jane Smiley, and many more.

Please contact Pam Russell prussell@ewu.edu at 509.828.1434 for more information on visiting writers and all general program questions. 

2017 - 2018 Visiting Writers

Judy Blunt spent more than 30 years on wheat and cattle ranches in northeastern Montana, before leaving that life to attend the University of Montana. Her best-selling memoir, Breaking Clean, was published by A.A. Knopf in 2002 to wide critical acclaim, including a PEN/Jerard Fund Award for nonfiction, the 2001 Whiting Writers’ Award, 2003 Mountains and Plains Bookseller’s Award, Willa Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year, and a 2004 National Endowment for the Arts writer’s fellowship.  Blunt received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2005.  She teaches creative nonfiction at the the University of Montana. 

October 27th, 7:30pm at Spark Central.

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Darin Strauss, a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a winner of the American Library Association’s Alix Award and The National Book Critics Circle Award, is an internationally-bestselling writer and the author of the novels Chang & Eng, The Real McCoy, and More Than It Hurts You, and the NBCC-winning memoir Half a Life. These have been New York Times Notable Books, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, Chicago Tribune, and NPR Best Books of the Year, among others. Darin has been translated into fourteen languages and published in nineteen countries, and he is a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU’s creative writing program. 

November 17th, 7:30pm at Spark Central.

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Jesse Graves grew up in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, about 40 miles north of Knoxville, in a community his ancestors settled in the 1780s. He is an Associate Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at East Tennessee State University, where he won the 2012 New Faculty Award from the College of Arts & Sciences. His first poetry collection, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, won the 2011 Weatherford Award in Poetry from Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, as well as a Book of the Year Award from the Appalachian Writers’ Association. He was given the 2013 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. His second collection of poems, Basin Ghosts, also won the 2014 Weatherford Award in Poetry, making him the first poet to win the award more than one time. His poems have appeared in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Connecticut Review, and in the Poem of the Week feature for Missouri Review. He is editor of several volumes of poetry and scholarship, including three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology (Contemporary Appalachia, Tennessee, and North Carolina), Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston, and the forthcoming Complete Poems of James Agee (University of Tennessee Press, 2017). Graves was awarded the 2014 Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing from Cornell University, and the 2015 James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. 

January 19th, 7:30pm at Auntie’s Bookstore.

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Krys Lee is the author of the short story collection Drifting House and the recent debut novel How I Became a North Korean, both published by Viking, Penguin Random House. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association, and finalist for Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the BBC International Story Prize. Her fiction, journalism, and literary translations have appeared in Granta, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, San Francisco Chronicle, Corriere della Sera, and The Guardian, among others. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Yonsei University, Underwood International College, in South Korea. 

February 16th, 7:30pm at Spark Central.

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Emily Van Kley was raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula but now lives with her partner in Olympia, Washington, where she writes, works at a cooperative grocery, practices aerial acrobatics, and nurses a near-pathological longing for snow. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications and anthologies, including The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Mississippi Review, Best New Poets 2013, and Best American Poetry 2017. Emily holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University and has taught composition and creative writing at the high school and college levels. Her first book, The Cold and the Rust, is forthcoming from Persea in spring of 2018. 

April 13th, 7:30pm at Spark Central.

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Dan Chaon’s most recent book is Ill Will,  a novel. Other works include the short story collection Stay Awake (2012), a finalist for the Story Prize; the national bestseller Await Your Reply and Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award. Chaon’s fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize Anthologies, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, the Shirley Jackson Award, and he was the recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chaon lives in Ohio and teaches at Oberlin College. 

April 28th, 12:00pm at the Montvale Events Center.

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Nance Van Winckel is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Our Foreigner, winner of the Pacific Coast Poetry Series Prize (Beyond Baroque Press, 2017), Book of No Ledge (Pleiades Press Visual Poetry Series, 2016), and Pacific Walkers (U. of Washington Press, 2014). She’s also published five books of fiction, including Ever Yrs, a novel in the form of a scrapbook (Twisted Road Publications, 2014), and Boneland: Linked Stories (U. of Oklahoma Press, 2013). She teaches in the MFA Programs at Eastern Washington University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. The recipient of two NEA poetry fellowships, the Paterson Fiction Prize, Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Award, a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes, Nance lives with her husband Rik Nelson in Spokane, Washington. 

April 28th, 12:00pm at the Montvale Events Center.

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Laura Kasischke was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, 2012. She has published nine novels, three of which have been made into feature films—The Life Before Her Eyes, Suspicious River,White Bird in a Blizzard—and eight books of poetry, most recently Space, in Chains.  Her new poetry collection, The Infinitesimalswas published in May, 2014. She has also published the short story collection If a Stranger Approaches You. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as several Pushcart Prizes and numerous poetry awards and her writing has appeared in Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Harper’s and The New Republic. She has a son and step-daughter and lives with her family and husband in Chelsea, Michigan.  She is Allan Seager Colleagiate Professor of English Language & Literature at the University of Michigan. 

May 11th, 7:30pm at Spark Central.

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EWU’s Visiting Writers Series is presented by:

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Previous Visiting Writers