Creative Writing & Literature

Contemporary Writers Series 2016-17 « Return to Creative Writing & Literature Resources


LeAnne Howe and Marc Anthony Richardson
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

LeAnne Howe

Choctalking on Other Realities is the most recent book by novelist, poet, playwright and scholar LeAnne Howe (Choctaw). Her novels include Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story and Shell Shaker, which won the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award. She is currently at work on a documentary film with Ojibwe filmmaker James M. Fortier about the life of Sequoyah, a Cherokee leader and creator of the first written indigenous language in Native North American. Howe is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Georgia and was awarded the inaugural 2014 MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures.


Marc Anthony Richardson

In her advance praise of Marc Anthony Richardson’s award-winning debut novel, Year of the Rat, Cristina García writes, “…you must stop everything you're doing right now and make time for it. Gorgeous, unsparing, heartbreaking, the book is a prose poem of a testament to motherhood, to manhood, to lost generations, to hope itself. " Richardson is an artist and writer from Philadelphia and alum of the MFA program at Mills College. His awards include those from the Vermont Studio Center and Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation.

Optional Information Session about our Graduate English Programs from 5:00–5:30pm. Register here.


Amy Sara Carroll
Thursday, October 13, 2016 | 6:00 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

Amy Sara Carroll

Amy Sara Carroll is the author of two collections of poetry SECESSION and FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography, chosen by Claudia Rankine for the 2012 Poets Out Loud Prize, and one critical monograph REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era (forthcoming). Since 2008, she has been a member of the collective Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab, coproducing the Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT), which was included in the 2010 California Biennial and Political Equator 3. In 2015, Carroll served as the University of Mississippi Summer Poet in Residence. 

Optional Information Session about our Graduate English Programs from 5:00–5:30pm. Register here.

Helen Klonaris and Amir Rabiyah
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

A reading to celebrate the new anthology Writing Down the Walls: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices, edited by Klonaris and Rabiyah, co-sponsored by Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Helen Klonaris

Helen Klonaris is a queer Greek Bahamian writer living in the Bay Area where she teaches creative writing and mythology. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including The Caribbean Writer, SX Salon, Tongues of the Ocean, HLFQ, Poui, ProudFlesh, and Calyx, and several anthologies, including Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writings from the Antilles, and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Her debut short story collection, The Lovers, is forthcoming with Peepal Tree Press.


Amir Rabiyah

Amir Rabiyah is a mixed-race, queer, trans, and disabled poet, performer and community educator. Amir’s work has been published in Mizna, Sukoon, The Cream City Review, Enizagam, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation and more. They live in San Diego with their partner.

Optional Information Session about our Graduate English Programs from 5:00–5:30pm. Register here.


Aichlee Bushnell and Solmaz Sharif
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

Aichlee Bushnell

Aichlee Bushnell’s remarkable debut, Objects of Attention, won the 2014 Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry and works with the writings of Thomas Jefferson tell the story of Sally Hemings with great care, as Juliana Spahr writes: “Care with how to represent her, her body. Care to not appropriate. Care to complicate. Care to tell it as expansive, as international.” An alum of the MFA program at Mills College, Bushnell is a Cave Canem fellow. She currently lives in Oakland with her family.


Solmaz Sharif

One of the most anticipated books of 2016, Solmaz Sharif’s Look uses language from the Department of Defense to investigate the violence and loss of war, and how these things are embedded in daily language. Sharif’s poetry has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Boston Review, and others. The former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has been recognized with many awards including NEA and Stegner Fellowships. She is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.

Optional Information Session about our Graduate English Programs from 5:00–5:30pm. Register here.


Spring 2017


Natalie Baszile
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

Natalie Baszile

Natalie Baszile's widely acclaimed novel Queen Sugar, about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana, is being adapted for television by writer/director Avu DuVernay of Selma fame, and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey for OWN, Winfrey's television network. Queen Sugar was named one of the San Francisco Chronicles’ Best Books of 2014, was long-listed for the Crooks Corner Southern Book Prize, and nominated for an NAACP Image Award.  Her non-fiction work has appeared in The, Buzzfeed, LennyLetter, The Best Women’s Travel Writing Volume 9,  O, The Oprah Magazine and elsewhere.  She lives in San Francisco.


MARCH 2017

Kirill Medvedev
Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room


Kirill Medvedev is one of the most exciting, unpredictable voices on the Russian literary scene today. Widely published and acclaimed as a poet, Medvedev is also an activist for labor and a member of the Russian Socialist movement "Vepered" [Forward]. His small press, The Free Marxist Publishing House [SMI] has recently released his translations of Pasolini, Eagleton, and Goddard, as well as numerous books at the intersection of literature, art and politics. It's No Good, Medvedev's first collection of work in English translation, was released in spring 2016 by Ugly Duckling Presse.


Farid Matuk
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

Farid Matuk

Farid Matuk's books of poetry include My Daughter La Chola and This Isa Nice Neighborhood, recipient of an honorable mention in the 2011 Arab American Book Award, finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award, and chosen by Geoffrey G. O'Brien for recognition in the Poetry Society of America's New American Poets series. His essays can be found in The Force of What's Possible: Writers on Accessibility and the Avant-Garde, The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind, and others. His translations from Spanish have appeared widely, and he serves as a poetry editor for FENCE. The recipient of Ford and Fulbright fellowships, Matuk is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona.


APRIL 2017

MFA Alumni Reading featuring Christine Hyung-Oak Lee and Samantha Giles
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 | 6:00 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
Reception at 5:15 for newly admitted graduate students, followed by readings

Christine Hyung Oak-Lee

Christine Hyung-Oak Lee's Tell Me Everything You Don't Remember, a memoir of reinvention after a stroke at 33, is forthcoming in spring 2017 from Ecco / Harper Collins. Ecco will also publish her first novel Golem of Seoul in 2018. Hyung Oak-Lee's short fiction and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, The New York Times, Hyphen Magazine, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. 

Samantha Giles

As CA Conrad writes, “Few poets get us there, hand us over to ourselves like Samantha Giles.” Her collections include hurdis addo and most recently, Deadfalls and Snares, an investigation of state violence, spectatorship, and complicity. While at Mills, Giles was managing editor of 580 Split; since 2009 she has been the Director of Small Press Traffic and is a 2017 Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts.