Creative Writing & Literature

Contemporary Writers Series 2013-14 « Return to Creative Writing & Literature Resources


Uzodinma Iweala

Uzodinma Iweala
September 10, 2013 | 5:30 pm

An award winning writer and medical doctor who works on public health issues in Nigeria, Uzodinma Iweala’s first novel Beasts of No Nation is a harrowing story about the life of a child soldier. It was selected as a New York Times notable book and won numerous awards, including American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize, and the Los Angeles Times First Book Award. His second book, Our Kind of People, is a non-fiction account of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Nigeria. He has published numerous short stories and essays and is the author of the article "Stop Trying to Save Africa,” which has been syndicated in many newspapers and textbooks around the world.


LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs
October 1, 2013 | 5:30 pm

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs works with words, sound, and video. Joyelle McSweeney writes of her recent poetry collection TwERK, “It’s like an almanac-zodiac-aphrodesiac-cum-emetic: it’s going to make the language come out of you, and the knowledge, too.” Diggs’ writing has been published widely, and her performance work has been featured at The Kitchen, Exit Art, The Whitney, and MoMa. As a curator and artistic director, Diggs has staged events at El Museo del Barrio, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Dixon Place, and BAM Café.  She is the recipient of many awards including those from Cave Canem, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Millay Colony. Along with Greg Tate, she edits yoYO/SO4 Magazine.

Robert Arellano, Layli Long Soldier, Emma Ruby-Sachs, and Orlando White
October 22 and 23, 2013

The English Department is excited to welcome four talented writers for a two-day symposium of free public talks, readings, and workshops, with the goal of building intellectual community across genre and discipline.

Talks/Panel Discussion
October 22, 2013 | 2:30–5:00 pm | Bender Room
Readings | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

October 23, 2013 | 2:30–5:00 pm and 6:45–9:00 | Bender Room


Robert Arellano is the author of six novels including the web's first interactive novel, Sunshine '69, and the Edgar Award finalist Havana Lunar: A Cuban Noir. He is a professor of creative writing and the director of the Center for Emerging Media and Digital Arts at Southern Oregon University.


Layli Long Soldier's poetry has recently appeared in The Kenyon Review Online, The American Poet, American Indian Journal of Culture and Research, and a 2010 chapbook from Q Ave Press, Chromosomory. Her installations include “Whereas We Respond”, which takes the text of President Obama's 2009 apology to Native peoples of the United States as its departure point. Long Soldier resides in Tsaile, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, is an adjunct faculty member at Diné College, and has served as a contributing editor to Drunken Boat.

Emma Ruby-Sachs' first novel, The Water Man's Daughter, a literary mystery set in post-apartheid South Africa, was released in June 2012. She has also written for The Huffington Post, the Guardian, and the Nation. A lawyer as well as writer, she is currently a campaign director at, a global advocacy organization, and lives in Chicago.


Orlando White is the author of Bone Light. Originally from Tółikan, Arizona, he is Diné of the Naaneesht’ézhi Tábaahí and born for the Naakai Diné’e. His work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of a Lannan Foundation Residency and the 2012 Bread Loaf John Ciardi Fellowship. He teaches at Diné College and lives in Tsaile, Arizona.

For additional information, email Stephanie Young at


Cruel Work: A Symposium on Feminism and Work
With talks and readings from Lauren Berlant, Jasper Bernes and Maya Gonzalez, Dawn Lundy Martin, Wendy Trevino, Jacki Wang, and Kathi Weeks

Reading Group
January 30, 2014 | The Public School, 2141 Broadway
In advance of the symposium, a free public reading group will be held at the Public School to discuss Cruel Optimism by Lauren Berlant and The Problem With Work by Kathi Weeks.

Panel Discussions
February 8, 2014 | Mills Hall 133
12:00–1:30, Jasper Bernes and Maya Gonzalez, Wendy Trevino, Kathi Weeks
2:30–4:00, Lauren Berlant, Dawn Lundy Martin, Jackie Wang

Poetry Reading
February 8, 2014 | The Public School, 2141 Broadway
7:30, Jasper Bernes and Mara Gonzalez, Dawn Lundy Martin, Wendy Trevino, Jackie Wang


Lauren Berlant

Lauren Berlant teaches English at the University of Chicago. Her national sentimentality trilogy—The Anatomy of National Fantasy, The Queen of America Goes to Washington City, and The Female Complaint—has morphed into a quartet, with Cruel Optimism addressing precarious publics and the aesthetics of affective adjustment in the contemporary US and Europe. Her interest in affect, aesthetics, and politics is also expressed in the edited volumes Intimacy, Compassion, and On the Case. Her most recent book is Desire/Love.


Jasper Bernes

Jasper Bernes is a lecturer in the English Department at UC Berkeley. He is currently completing a book manuscript, The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization, about the role literature and art play in the postindustrial restructuring of labor. His books of poetry include Starsdown and two chapbooks, Desequencer and We Are Nothing and So Can You. Recent poems have appeared in The Capilano Review, The American Reader and Everyday Genius. He has published on contemporary politics and social movements in The New Inquiry, Los Angeles Review of Books and the anthology Communization and its Discontents.


Maya Andrea Gonzalez

Maya Andrea Gonzalez is a communist and revolutionary feminist living in the Bay Area. She is a graduate student in the Department of History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz. She is also a member of Endnotes.


Dawn Lundy Martin

Dawn Lundy Martin’s books include A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering, winner of the Cave Canem Prize, and DISCIPLINE, selected by Fanny Howe for the Nightbook Books Poetry Prize. Life in a Box is a Pretty Life is forthcoming in 2014. Martin is a member the experimental black poetry and performance group, the Black Took Collective, and co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation in New York, a national young feminist organization. She teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, and works as a research consultant for foundations and organizations on gender and other social justice issues.


Wendy Trevino

Wendy Trevino lives in Oakland and works in San Francisco. Her chapbook 128–131 was released by Perfect Lovers Press in 2013. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Abraham Lincoln, the American Reader, Armed Cell, The Capilano Review, Hi Zero, LIES and Mrs. Maybe.


Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is a writer currently based out of planet Earth. She is the author of the zines On Being Hard Femme, Memoirs of a Queer Hapa, The Adventures of Loneberry, and the Phallic Titty Manifesto. In her critical essays she writes about queer sexuality, race, gender, the politics of writing, mixed-race identity, prisons and police, the politics of safety and innocence, and revolutionary struggles. She is currently working on a book about revolutionary loneliness for the Semiotext(e) Intervention Series.


Kathi Weeks teaches in the Women's Studies Program at Duke University. Her primary interests are in the fields of political theory, feminist theory, Marxist thought, the critical study of work, and utopian studies. She is the author of Constituting Feminist Subjects and The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries, and a co-editor of The Jameson Reader.

For additional information, email Stephanie Young at

Mike Davis

Rachel Blau duPlessis

Rachel Blau DuPlessis
March 4, 2014 | 5:30 pm

Rachel Blau DuPlessis is the author of the long poem Drafts, begun in 1986. Her newest book is Surge: Drafts 96–114, the provocative, open-ended ending to Drafts. Her recent critical book Purple Passages: Pound, Eliot, Zukofsky, Olson, Creeley and the Ends of Patriarchal Poetry is part of a trilogy of works about gender and poetics that includes The Pink Guitar: Writing as Feminist Practice and Blue Studios: Poetry and its Cultural Work. DuPlessis is Professor Emerita of English at Temple University.

Kelsey St. Press 40th Anniversary Readings, Talks, and Celebration
April 8, 2014 | 5:30 pm | Heller Rare Book Room

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The literary events at Mills College are funded in part by the English Department and The Place for Writers. Poets & Writers, Inc. also supports the events through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.

For additional information, email Stephanie Young at