Visiting Writers • Fall 2021

George Mason University’s Creative Writing Program joins Mason’s University Libraries and Watershed Lit in presenting the Fall 2021 Visiting Writers Series, which will feature two writers each in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Writers will meet for virtual afternoon workshops with students from Mason’s MFA program in creative writing and will then participate in virtual programs that same evening—open to the public and combining brief readings and conversation with hosts from Mason’s creative writing community.

All evening programs will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Visit for updated information ahead.



in conversation with Mason Professor Helon Habila

Tope FolarinTope Folarin is a Nigerian-American writer based in Washington DC. He won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013 and was shortlisted once again in 2016. He was also recently named to the Africa39 list of the most promising African writers under 40. He serves as Vice President of Content and Storytelling at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Policy Studies. He was educated at Morehouse College and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Master’s degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. His debut novel, A Particular Kind of Black Man, was published by Simon & Schuster in August.



in conversation with Mason Professor Tim Denevi

Reginald GibbonsReginald Gibbons is the author of eleven books of poems, including Creatures of a Day (Finalist for the 2008 National Book Award), Slow Trains Overhead: Chicago Poems and Stories (2010), and his most recent book, Renditions (Four Way Books, 2021). He has also published a novel, Sweetbitter, which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the novel prize from the Texas Institute of Letters, and will be reissued in 2022, and a collection of very short fiction, An Orchard in the Street (BOA Editions). He has translated poetry from Spain and Mexico, Russian poetry (co-translated with Ilya Kutik), and also Sophocles' Antigone and Euripides’ Bakkhai (Oxford Univ. Press, both tragedies co-translated with Charles Segal), and a volume of Sophocles, Selected Poems: Odes and Fragments (Princeton). He has published bilingual selections of his poems in Spain, Italy and France. He has also published a book about poetry, How Poems Think (Chicago, 2015), and many other books. Gibbons is a Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University, where he helped found the Litowitz Graduate Creative Writing Program MFA+MA. He has won the Folger Shakespeare Library's O. B. Hardison, Jr., Poetry Prize and also fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Center for Hellenic Studies. Simultaneously with teaching at Northwestern, Gibbons taught in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers for two decades. He was born and raised in Texas, and since 1981 has lived in Evanston, Illinois.



in conversation with Mason MFA Student Keene Carter

Philip WilliamsPhillip B. Williams is from Chicago, IL. He is the author of the poetry collection Thief in the Interior (2016), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a Lambda Literary Award, and the forthcoming poetry collection Mutiny (Penguin, Sept 2021). He has also received a 2017 Whiting Award, a 2021 Literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a nomination for an NAACP Image Award. He currently teaches at Bennington College and is a member of the founding faculty for the Randolph College low-residency MFA program in creative writing.



in conversation with Mason BFA Alumna Alaina Johansson

Myung Mi KimMyung Mi Kim is the author of Civil Bound, Penury, Commons, DURA, The Bounty, and Under Flag, winner of The Multicultural Publisher’s Exchange Award of Merit. She is also the co-editor of Poetics and Precarity: The University at Buffalo Robert Creeley Lectures in Poetry and Poetics. Her work has been anthologized in Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women, Premonitions: Kaya Anthology of New Asian North American Poetry, American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry, American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics, and other collections. Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of nine. She is the James H. McNulty Chair of English at the University at Buffalo.



in conversation with Mason Professor Kyoko Mori

Lise FunderbergLise Funderburg is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She studied at Reed College and the Columbia University School of Journalism, and her work has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, National Geographic, Salon, The Nation, More, and The Chattahoochee Review. Her latest book is Apple, Tree: Writers on Their Parents, a collection of all-new work by 25 writers. Her previous book was Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home, which was chosen as the Drexel University Freshman Read in 2012. Funderburg’s first book was a prescient collection of oral histories, 1994’s Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk about Race and Identity, the first book to explore the lives of adult children of black-white unions. Black, White, Other, expanded and re-released on its 20th anniversary, has become a core text in the study of American multiracial identity. Funderburg has been awarded residencies at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Thurber House, and Blue Mountain, among others, and she won a Nonfiction Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She is a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and teaches at the Paris Writers’ Workshop.


in conversation with Mason Professor Alexia Arthurs

PriyankaPriyanka Champaneri received her MFA in creative writing from George Mason University and has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts numerous times. She received the 2018 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing for The City of Good Death, her first novel.