The Visiting Writers Series is sponsored by the MFA Program in Creative Writing at OSU, with support from the OSU Libraries and Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and Grass Roots Books and Music. 

All readings are free and open to the public with a Q&A and book signing to follow.
Please check the schedule frequently as changes in the time or venue may occur.



Accommodation requests can be made by contacting Molly McFerran at (503) 737 - 3244 or

23-24 Visiting Writer

March 8: Fiction writer Jamel Brinkley, 7:30PM Corvallis Museum Downtown

Past Visiting Writers include:

Tania James

Tania James is the author of four works of fiction, most recently the novel The Tusk That Did the Damage (Knopf). Tusk was named a Best Book of 2015 by The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, and NPR, and shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas PrizeHer short stories have appeared in One Story, The New Yorker, Granta, Freeman's Anthology, Oxford American, and other venues. James is an associate professor at George Mason University, and lives in Washington DC. Her forthcoming novel, Loot, will be published by Knopf in June 2023.

Venita Blackburn

Works by Venita Blackburn have appeared in, Harper’s, Ploughshares, McSweeney’s, the Paris Review and others. She received the Prairie Schooner book prize in fiction for her collected stories, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes in 2017. She is founder of the literary nonprofit Live, Write (, which provides free creative writing workshops for communities of color. Blackburn’s second collection of stories, How to Wrestle a Girl, will be published fall of 2021. She is an Assistant Professor of creative writing at California State University, Fresno.

Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib is a writer from the east side of Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of five books of poetry and nonfiction, most recently A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance and A Fortune for Your Disaster.

Mitchell S. Jackson

Award-winning and critically acclaimed author Mitchell S. Jackson is a native of Portland, Oregon. Jackson's work explores his hometown, including the systemic forces that shaped his community, his family, and his early life. That exploration began with a novel titled The Residue Years—a book that announced Jackson as a bright new voice in literary fiction.

Jia Tolentino

Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of the essay collection Trick Mirror. Formerly, she was the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at the Hairpin. She grew up in Texas, went to University of Virginia, and got her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Grantland, and Pitchfork, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn.

Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky is the author of the widely acclaimed Deaf Republic (Graywolf, 2019), which Kevin Young, writing in The New Yorker, called a work of “profound imagination.” Poems from Deaf Republic were awarded Poetry Magazine's Levinson Prize and the Pushcart Prize. He is also the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) and Musica Humana (Chapiteau Press, 2002). Kaminsky has won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and the Foreword Magazine’s Best Poetry Book of the Year award. Recently, he was on the short-list for the Neusdadt International Literature Prize. His poems have been translated into numerous languages and his books have been published in many countries including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize. His poems have been compared to work by Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, and Marina Tsvetaeva. 

Namwali Serpell

Namwali Serpell is a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. She won the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing for her story “The Sack.” She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for women writers in 2011 and was selected for the Africa39, a 2014 Hay Festival project to identify the best African writers under 40. Her first published story, “Muzungu,” was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009 and shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize. The Old Drift (Hogarth, 2019) is her first novel. 

Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press, 2010), and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury, 2017), which The New Yorker called, “mesmerizing.” Abandon Me was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, an Indie Next Pick, and widely named a Best Book of 2017. Febos is the inaugural winner of the Jean Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary and the recipient of the 2017 Sarah Verdone Writing Award from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her work has recently appeared in Tin House, Granta, The Believer, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Lenny Letter, The Guardian, and Vogue. Her essays have been anthologized widely, winning prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, and The Center for Women Writers at Salem College. She is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow and has also received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation, The BAU Institute, Ragdale, and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University and serves on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

Tomás Q. Morín

Tomás Q. Morín is the author of Patient Zero and A Larger Country, winner of the APR/Honickman Prize and runner-up for the PEN Osterweil Award. He translated Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Macchu Picchu and the opera Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance. With Mari L’Esperance, he co-edited Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine. He is at work on a memoir about fathers. In 2020 he will be a Civitella Fellow in Italy. He teaches at Drew University and in the low residency MFA program of Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Sarah Sentilles

Sarah Sentilles is a writer, teacher, critical theorist, scholar of religion, and author of many books, including Breaking Up with God: A Love Story. Her most recent book, Draw Your Weapons, was published by Random House in 2017. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, Ms., Religion Dispatches, Oregon Arts Watch, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She earned a bachelor's degree at Yale and master's and doctoral degrees at Harvard. She is the co-founder of the Immigration Alliance of Idaho. At the core of her scholarship, writing, and activism is a commitment to investigating the roles language, images, and practices play in oppression, violence, social transformation, and justice movements. She has taught at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland State University, California State University Channel Islands, and Willamette University, where she was the Mark and Melody Teppola Presidential Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, named an Indie Next Pick; one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by Buzzfeed, BookRiot, and the Huffington Post; a must-read for May by Goodreads,, Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple and People; long-listed for the Gordon Burn Prize and a finalist for a New England Book Award; and one of the 10 best books of the year so far by Entertainment Weekly,, and BookRiot. It was published May 16th in the US and May 18th in the UK, to be followed by the Netherlands, Turkey, Korea, Taiwan, Spain, Greece, and France. The recipient of fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, and Yaddo, and a Rona Jaffe Award, Marzano-Lesnevich lives in Boston, where she teaches at Grub Street and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Anis Mojgani

Anis Mojgani is the author of four poetry collections, all published by Write Bloody Publishing: The Pocketknife Bible (2015), Songs From Under The River (2013), The Feather Room (2011), and Over the Anvil We Stretch (2008). He is a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. A TEDx Speaker and former resident of the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program, Mojgani has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in such journals as Rattle, Paper Darts, Forklift Ohio, and Used Furniture Review.

Pulling inspiration from his Black and Iranian heritage, his childhood memories, his worldview, love, and existence, Anis takes seemingly commonplace subject matter and sculpts inspiration from them. Weaving dream-like tales that dip into imaginative imagery, Anis’s poems make the ordinary almost surreal and, through jolts of wide-eyed writing and striking honesty, make that which is fantastical remarkably relatable. Both innocent and heartbreaking, introspective and curious, the humanity his work carries causes listeners to remember and experience a childhood that is not their own but feels like it was.

Chang-rae Lee

Chang-rae Lee is the author of the novels Native Speaker (1995), A Gesture Life (1999), Aloft (2004), and The Surrendered (2010), which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His latest novel is On Such A Full Sea (2014), which won the Heartland Fiction Prize and was selected as a Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction.
His other awards and citations include the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the American Book Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, ALA Notable Book of the Year Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Literary Award, the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, and the NAIBA Book Award for Fiction. He has also has also written stories and articles for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, and many other publications.  In 2000 he was named by The New Yorker as one of the 20 Writers for the 21st Century.  He has been awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and The American Academy in Rome.
Chang-rae Lee was born in Seoul, Korea and emigrated to the United States when he was three. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Yale, and the University of Oregon. From 2002 to 2016, he was Professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. In 2016 he joined the English department at Stanford, where he holds the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professorship. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughters.

Shawn Wen

Shawn Wen is a writer, radio producer, and multimedia artist. Her writing has appeared in The New Inquiry, Seneca Review, Iowa Review, White Review, and the anthology City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis (Faber and Faber, 2015). Her radio work has broadcast on This American Life, Freakonomics Radio, and Marketplace, and she is currently a producer at Youth Radio. Her video work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Camden International Film Festival, and the Carpenter Center at Harvard University. She holds a BA from Brown University and is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Professional Journalism Training Fellowship and the Royce Fellowship. Wen was born in Beijing, raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, and currently resides in San Francisco.

Sarah Manguso

Sarah Manguso is the author of the nonfiction books 300 Arguments, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay; the story collection Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape; and the poetry collections Siste Viator and The Captain Lands in Paradise. Her essays have appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, the Paris Review, the New York Review of Books, and the New York Times Magazine. Her poems have won a Pushcart Prize and appeared in several editions of the Best American Poetry series. Her books have been translated into five languages, and her work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize. She served previously as the Mary Routt Chair of Creative Writing at Scripps College and currently teaches at CalArts. She has spoken at the Bay Area Book Festival, the Brooklyn Book Festival, the Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and many colleges and universities. She lives in Los Angeles.

Jaclyn Watterson and Michael Shou-Yung Shum

Jaclyn Watterson is left-handed, vegetarian, and of choleric temperament. She gardens in fair weather on a small balcony and makes her home with the novelist Michael Shou-Yung Shum and several feline companions. Originally from Connecticut, she holds an MFA from Oregon State University and a PhD from the University of Utah. Ventriloquisms, her first book, is the winner of the 2016 Spokane Prize in Short Fiction hosted by Willow Springs Books and judged by Alexis Smith. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in New Delta Review, The Spectacle, Puerto del Sol, North Dakota Quarterly, Birkensnake, and many other journals.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Michael Shou-Yung Shum eventually found himself dealing poker in a dead-end casino in Lake Stevens, Washington. Two doctorates bookend this strange turn of events: the first in Psychology from Northwestern, and the second in English from the University of Tennessee. Along the way, Michael spent a dozen years in Chicago, touring the country as a rave DJ, and three years in Corvallis, Oregon, where he received his MFA in Fiction Writing. He currently resides in Queens, New York, with Jaclyn Watterson and three cats. Queen of Spades is his first novel.

Karen Russell

Karen Russell is the author of two collections of short stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and two novels:  Swamplandia! and Sleep Donation. Swamplandia! was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Russell's short stories have been featured in The New Yorker, Conjunctions, Granta, Zoetrope, and The Best American Short Stories. She received her MFA from Columbia University, and was named one of the “5 under 35” young writers by the National Book Foundation.  In 2013 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Russell was a fellow at the Cullman Center and at the American Academy of Berlin, and she has taught writing and literature at Columbia University, Williams College, Bard College, Bryn Mawr College, and the University of Rutgers.

Ellen Bass

Ellen Bass’s most recent book of poetry, Like a Beggar, was published in April 2014 by Copper Canyon Press. Her previous poetry books include The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press), named a Notable Book by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mules of Love (BOA Editions), which won the Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday).

Her poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and The Sun. She was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Elliston Book Award for Poetry from the University of Cincinnati, Nimrod/Hardman’s Pablo Neruda Prize, The Missouri Review’s Larry Levis Award, the Greensboro Poetry Prize, the New Letters Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Poetry Prize, a Fellowship from the California Arts Council, and two Pushcart Prizes.

Her non-fiction books include Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth (HarperCollins), I Never Told Anyone: Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (HarperCollins), and The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (Harper Collins), which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into ten languages.  She currently teaches in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University.

Prior to her visit to OSU, Ellen Bass will be writer-in-residence for the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest hosted by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word.

The Spring Creek Project is also a co-sponsor for this reading.

Ross Gay

Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, which won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude is currently a nominee for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award.  Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Balcones Poetry Prize, and it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.

Eileen Pollack

Eileen Pollack is the author most recently of The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still A Boys’ Club and the novel A Perfect Life.  Other books include the novels Breaking and Entering (a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection) and Paradise, New York, as well as two collections of short fiction, an award-winning book of nonfiction, and two creative-nonfiction textbooks. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays and Best American Short Stories. She is a professor on the faculty of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. She divides her time between Manhattan and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Co-sponsored by OSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women; The College of Liberal Arts; The School of Writing, Literature, and Film; OSU Libraries and Press; Oregon State ADVANCE; Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele; and Grass Roots Books and Music.

T. Geronimo Johnson

T. Geronimo Johnson was born in New Orleans. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, Johnson has taught writing at UC Berkeley, Stanford, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, The Prague Summer Program, San Quentin, and elsewhere. His first novel, Hold it ‘til it Hurts, was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award. Welcome to Braggsville, his second novel, follows four UC Berkeley students who stage a protest during a Civil War reenactment in the heart of Georgia. As of summer 2015, Welcome to Braggsville has been longlisted for the National Book Award, longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, named one of the ten books all Georgians should read by the Georgia Center for the Book, and recommended by UC Berkeley as summer reading for incoming undergraduates. Visit his website at

Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson (Ph.D. in English Literature, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York) is the author of five books of nonfiction and four books of poetry. Her most recent book is The Argonauts, a work of "autotheory" about gender, sexuality, sodomitical maternity, queer family, and the limitations and possibilities of language (Graywolf Press, May 2015). Her 2011 book of art and cultural criticism, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (W. W. Norton), was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and Editors’ Choice. Her other nonfiction books include the cult hit Bluets; a critical study of poetry and painting titled Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions, and an autobiographical book about sexual violence and media spectacle titled The Red Parts: A Memoir. Her poetry books include Something Bright, Then Holes; Jane: A Murder; The Latest Winter; and Shiner.  Her poetry has been widely anthologized, including in the Best American Poetry series.

Elizabeth Rush

Elizabeth Rush is the author of many books including the recently released Still Lifes from a Vanishing City: Essays and Photographs from Yangon, Myanmar Her work chronicles communities being irrevocably changed by late capitalist industrialization, and has appeared or is forthcoming in Granta, Orion, The New Republic, Le Monde Diplomatique, Al Jazeera, Witness, the Huffington Post, Frieze, Nowhere, Asian Geographic, The Dark Mountain Project and others. She is the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at Bates College (2015-2017) and the Metcalf Institute Climate Change Adaptation Fellowship. She received her BA in English from Reed College and her MFA in Nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University. Her current book project, When the Seas Rise, is an on-the-ground investigation of five North American coastal communities adapting to climate change. Instead of predicting the negative effects of climate change When the Seas Rise focuses on the lived experience, both past and present, of those already dealing with the results of a warming planet.

Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn has received fellowships and awards from, among other organizations, The Guggenheim Foundation, PEN, and The Library of Congress. Some of the venues his poems, essays and non-fiction have appeared in include The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and National Public Radio’s This American Life. He is currently a professor on the creative writing faculty at the University of Houston, where he is in residence each spring. In 2015 he published his ninth book, My Feelings (Graywolf), a collection of poems. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.

Major Jackson

Major Jackson is an American poet, professor and the author of three collections of poetry: Holding Company (W.W. Norton, 2010) and HOOPS (W.W. Norton, 2006), both finalists for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. He is also a recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.

Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He served as a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts-Lowell and currently serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.