Eileen Pollack and Diane Seuss

September 13, 2017

Diane Seuss’s most recent collection, Four-Legged Girl, published in 2015 by Graywolf Press, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open won the Juniper Prize and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2010. Her poetry has been published in a broad range of literary magazines, including American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Iowa Review, New England Review, and The New Yorker. Seuss’s fourth collection, Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2018.

Eileen Pollack is the author, most recently, of the novel A Perfect Life, published by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2016. Her other novels include Paradise, New York, and Breaking and Entering, which was awarded the 2012 Grub Street National Book Prize and named a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection. She is the author of two collections of short fiction, The Rabbi in the Attic and In the Mouth, which won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. Eileen’s work of creative nonfiction Woman Walking Ahead is soon to be a movie starring Jessica Chastain. Her investigative memoir The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club was published in 2015 by Beacon Press. A new novel, The Bible of Dirty Jokes, is due out in 2018. Eileen has received fellowships from the NEA, the Michener Foundation, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. Her novella “The Bris” was chosen by Stephen King to appear in the Best American Short Stories 2007; other stories have been awarded two Pushcart Prizes and prizes for best fiction of the year from PloughsharesLiterary Review, and MQR. Her essay “Pigeons” was selected by Cheryl Strayed for the 2013 edition of Best American Essays. She divides her time between Manhattan and Ann Arbor, where she is a professor on the faculty of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.

October 18, 2017 
Reading: 7 pm – Stedman Gallery

Lydia Millet is an American novelist and conservationist. Her third novel, My Happy Life, won the 2003 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, and she has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as well as a Guggenheim fellow, among other honors. Laura Miller of Salon has described Millet’s writing as “…always flawlessly beautiful, reaching for an experience that precedes language itself.” Millet has written books and stories that range from the philosophical to the satirical, on matters including the inventors of the atom bomb, political culture under George H.W. Bush, the discovery of mermaids in a coral reef and the crises of extinction and climate change. She lives in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona with her two children and works for the Center for Biological Diversity.

November 8, 2017 
Workshop with Okey Ndibe: 3-4:30 pm, Writers House  
Reading: 7 pm, Stedman Gallery

Peter Ho Davies is the author of two novels, The Fortunes (winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and the Chautauqua Prize) and The Welsh Girl (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize), and two short story collections, The Ugliest House in the World (PEN/Macmillian Award winner) and Equal Love (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year). His work has appeared in HarpersThe Atlantic, and The Paris Review, and been anthologized in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. In 2003 Granta magazine named him among its Best of Young British Novelists. Davies is also a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and is a winner of the PEN/Malamud Award. Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, he now makes his home in the US, where he teaches creative writing at the University of Michigan.
 
Nigerian-born Okey Ndibe is a novelist, memoirist, political commentator, and essayist. He is the author of Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the making of a Nigerian American; and the novels Arrows of Rain and Foreign Gods, Inc. His award winning journalism has appeared in The New York Times, BBC online, Al Jazeera online, Financial Times, Fabian Society Journal, and the (Nigerian) Daily Sun, where his widely syndicated weekly column appears. Ndibe first came to the US to be the founding editor of African Commentary, a US-based international magazine published by the late great novelist Chinua Achebe. 
 

January 24, 2018

Workshop with Tina Chang, 3-4:30, Writers House

Reading: 7 pm, Multipurpose Room, Campus Center

326 Penn Street

Tina Chang was raised in New York City. She is the first female to be named Poet Laureate of Brooklyn and is the author of the collections of poetry Of Gods & Strangers (2011) and Half-Lit Houses (2004). She is also the co-editor of the W.W. Norton anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (2008). She is the recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Van Lier Foundation among others. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and she is also a member of the international writing faculty at the City University of Hong Kong.

February 14, 2018

7 pm

About the Performance 

The poet Sonia Sanchez has said that “the soul and spirit are formalized, they are formal things.
They’re blues, they’re spirituals, they’re haiku, they’re tanka, they’re all these things that reach
your heart and your spirit and your soul.” Poet Yolanda Wisher & double bassist Mark Palacio
present hokkuchi, a meeting of haiku & eros inspired by Sonia Sanchez’s most pulse-stirring &
blush-worthy work. Performing original haiku sequences set to blues changes, Wisher & Palacio
explore the intimate connection between form & feeling.

About the Performers 

Hailing from Germantown via Ambler, North Wales, Brooklyn, and Belize, the husband & wife
duo of double bassist Mark Palacio and poet Yolanda Wisher has been marrying art & activism
in Philadelphia since 1999 when they met at an open mic in Old City. A largely self-taught
musician, Palacio is a fifth/sixth grade teacher by day. A two-time poet laureate & Pew Fellow,
Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose Press, 2014) & the co-editor of Peace
is a Haiku Song (Philadelphia Mural Arts, 2013). Together they have created a rogue poetry
collective based in West Philly, a neighborhood poetry festival in Germantown, a band called
The Afroeaters, & a kid named Thelonious.

James McBride

April 4, 2018 

7 pm

James McBride is an author, musician and screenwriter. His memoir, The Color of Water (Riverhead), is an American literary classic. His novel The Good Lord Bird, won the 2013 National Book Award for fiction. His novel, Miracle at St. Anna, became a 2008 Touchstone Disney film. His novel Song Yet Sung was the “One Book, One Maryland,” choice of 2010. He has written screenplays and teleplays for film icon Spike Lee (Miracle At St. Anna, Red Hook Summer) and television pioneer David Simon (Parting The Waters). James is a former staff writer for The Wilmington (Del.) News Journal, the Boston Globe, People Magazine, and the Washington Post (Style Section). His work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Essence, andNational Geographic.

In 2015, James was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2016, James was awarded the National Humanities Award by President Barack Obama.

James holds several awards for his work as a musical theater composer, including the American Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award, the ASCAP Richard Rodgers Horizons Award,and the American Music Theater Festival’s Stephen Sondheim Award. He has written songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington, Jr., Gary Burton, Silver Burdett Music Textbooksand for the PBS television character Barney. He served as a saxophonist sideman with jazz legend Little Jimmy Scott. James was born and raised in New York City and attended New York City public schools. He studied at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music and holds a Masters in Journalism from Columbia University. He is proud and delighted to be a Distinguished Writer-In-Residence at New York University. James still tours with his Good Lord Bird band playing gospel music.