Spring 2020 Visiting Writers Series Announced

Spring 2020 Visiting Writers Series Announced
Danielle Evans

The Creative Writing program welcomes six visiting writers in Spring 2020—two each in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Writers meet with registered MFA students for workshops/craft talks during their visit and then give a public reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Reading Room on Mason's Fairfax Campus. Two sets of writers will be part of joint readings. See the schedule and bios below.



Fiction: Danielle Evans (pictured above left) is the author of the short-story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, which was a co-winner of the 2011 PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize for a first book, a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 selection for 2011, the winner of the 2011 Paterson Prize for Fiction and the 2011 Hurston-Wright award for fiction, and an honorable mention for the 2011 PEN/Hemingway award. Her work has appeared in magazines including The Paris Review, A Public Space, American Short Fiction, Callaloo, The Sewanee Review, and Phoebe, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2008, 2010, 2017, and 2018, and in New Stories from the South. She received an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop, has taught creative writing at American University in Washington DC and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and now teaches in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

Nonfiction: Christina Thompson is the author of Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia, which won the 2019 NSW Premier’s General History Award, and Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All, which was shortlisted for the 2009 NSW Premier's Literary Award for Nonfiction and the 2010 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. She received her BA from Dartmouth College and her PhD from the University of Melbourne and held post-doctoral fellowships at the East-West Center in Honolulu and the University of Queensland before becoming editor of the Australian literary journal Meanjin. Since 2000 she has been the editor of Harvard Review, and she teaches writing at Harvard University Extension, where she was awarded the James E. Conway Excellence in Teaching Writing Award in 2008.



Poetry: Kaveh Akbar (pictured on home page) is the author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf. He is also the author of a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic. Kaveh is the recipient of the Levis Reading Prize, Pushcart Prize, Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Kaveh is the founding editor of Divedapper, a home for interviews with major voices in contemporary poetry. With Sarah Kay and Claire Schwartz, he writes a weekly column for the Paris Review called "Poetry RX." Born in Tehran, Iran, he teaches at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson. His poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, PBS NewsHour, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, The New York Times, and elsewhere.



Fiction: Chinelo Okparanta is the author of the novel Under the Udala Trees and the short story collection, Happiness, Like Water, which was cited as an editors’ choice in the New York Times Book Review and was named on the list of The Guardian’s Best African Fiction of 2013. The book was nominated for the Nigerian Writers Award (Young Motivational Writer of the Year), longlisted for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for the 2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award as well as the Etisalat Prize for Literature. She has published work in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Kenyon Review, AGNI, and other venues, and was named one of Granta’s six New Voices for 2012. In 2017, Okparanta was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. Born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, she received her BS from Pennsylvania State University, her MA from Rutgers University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is currently Associate Professor of English & Creative Writing (Fiction) and Margaret Hollinshead Ley Professor in Poetry & Creative Writing at Bucknell University. 

Nonfiction: Mira Jacob is the author and illustrator of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, and longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize. It was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions. Her writing and drawings have appeared in The New York Times, Electric Literature, Tin House, Literary HubGuernicaVogue, the Telegraph, and Buzzfeed, and she has a drawn column on Shondaland. She currently teaches at The New School, and she is a founding faculty member of the MFA Program at Randolph College. She is the co-founder of Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn, where she spent 13 years bringing literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to Williamsburg.



Poetry: Martha Ronk is the author of eleven books of poetry, most recently Silences, a search for that which can never be found, but may often be sensed in nature, paintings, photographs, and gaps of various sorts (Omnidawn 2019). Her book Transfer of Qualities (a phrase from Henry James) is a collection of prose poems and was long-listed for the National Book Award; Vertigo, an homage to W.G. Sebald, was a National Poetry Series selection; and In a landscape of having to repeat won the PEN USA best poetry book award. She has had several residences at MacDowell and Djerassi, received a NEA award, and will be included in Wesleyan’s Women Poets of the 21st Century. At Occidental College she taught Renaissance literature and coordinated the creative writing program.