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Creative Writers’ Series

Each year the NDNU English Department invites a number of well-known creative writers to read from their work and discuss the art of writing. Below are some of the writers who have visited the university in the past:

Ellen Bass has published numerous volumes of poetry and non-fiction, including her recent poetry collection Mules for Love (BOA Editions, winner of the 2002 Lambda Literary Award for Poetry), her groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women, and her non-fiction The Courage to Heal, which has sold over one million copies. She is the recipient of many literary awards, including the Pushcart Prize and the Pablo Neruda Prize.

Catherine Brady’s stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, The Greensboro Review, and Redbook, and in the anthologies I Know Some Things: Stories about Children by Contemporary Writers, The Next Parish Over: A Collection of Irish American Writing, and in the forthcoming American Fiction (vol. 8).

Robert Burton is a UCSF neurologist who has published three highly successful science fiction novels in the 1990’s: Doc-in-a-Box, Final Therapy, and Cellmates.

Viola Canales has recently published a book of short stories, Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales (Arte Público Press, 2001), which is a coming of age collection about a Texan border town community and its people who are connected by shared stories and memories and strengthened by the healing power of imagination. Canales’ first novel, Angels with Mexican Faces, is forthcoming.

Lesley Dauer, who teaches at College of Notre Dame, has published poetry in numerous prestigious journals and anthologies; her first book of poems, The Fragile City, won the Bluestem Award and was published in 1996.

W. S. Di Piero’s poetry has been described as “calm, grave, firm, sensuous and as deeply refreshing as a cup of well water.” He has published several volumes of poetry and three collections of essays on literature, art, and personal experience; he has also published works of translation from the Italian.

Tom Evans, whose pen name is Soul Evans, is an important spoken word artist, the Grand Slam Champion 2002 of Chicago’s Wicker Park Team and the winner of numerous slams in Berkeley, Oakland, and elsewhere. His performances have great range, covering politics, humor, love, call and response. He has produced a CD/book/video entitled To Tell the Truth as well as a book of poetry, Soul, and a book of photography, For Jade.

Ron Hansen is a nationally acclaimed writer who has published numerous novels, a collection of short stories, and most recently a book of non-fiction. His recent novel Mariette in Ecstasy (1991) won the fiction prize from the Bay Area Book Reviews Association and the Gold Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. He is now Gerald Manley Hopkins, S. J. Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Santa Clara University.

Juan Felipe Herrera’s publications include thirteen collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and picture books for children. For his work he has received much acclaim, including the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Smithsonian Children’s Book of the year award, and two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards. Herrera is also an actor with appearances on film and stage, and he has founded a number of university and community-based theatre ensembles.

Margarita Luna Robles Herrera is the author of Triptych: Dreams, Lusts and Other Performances and co-author with Juan Felipe of A Night in Tunisia.

James Houston has authored seven novels, including the trilogy Continental Drift, Love Life, and The Last Paradise, which received an American Book Award in 1999. He has recently published Snow Mountain Passage, drawing upon the history of the Donner Party.

Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston is co-author of Farewell to Manzanar (now in a 65th printing from Bantam, a standard work in schools and colleges across the country) and the Legend of Firehorse Woman (2003);

Jessica Inclán is a poet, novelist, and short story writer who has recently completed her first novel, Her Daughter’s Eyes (New American Library, 2001). She has published poems and short stories in The West Wind Review, The Prairie Star, and many other journals and newspapers. She teaches creative writing and women’s literature at Diablo Valley College.

Tom Jenks (April 10, 1997) is a novelist and short story writer who has worked as fiction editor for Esquire, GQ and as senior editor at Scribners. His stories and articles have appeared in Ploughshares, Story, Vanity Fair, and Esquire, and he has written a novel, Our Happiness.

Francisco Jimenez, who immigrated to California from Mexico, has published an autobiographical collection of short stories, The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (Houghton Mifflin, 1999) that has received much critical acclaim. Jimenez has also published children’s books (La Miaposa and The Christmas Gift/El Regalo de Navidad), and a sequel to The Circuit, entitled Breaking Through, has just been published by Houghton Mifflin. Jimenez if the Fay Boyle Professor at Santa Clara University.

George Keithley is the author of the award-winning epic poem The Donner Party, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection that has been adapted as a play and an opera. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, The American Poetry Review, The Sewanee Review, and The Kenyon Review, and he has received numerous awards, including The Pushcart Prize and the Raymond Carver Short Story Award.

Elizabeth Kim is the author of Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Extraordinary Journey of a Korean War Orphan (Doubleday, 2000), the powerful, moving story of a girl who witnesses the “honor killing” of her mother in Korea and who struggles to survive in Korea and in this country. Kim ultimately succeeds as an award-winning journalist living in Northern California with her daughter.

Genny Lim (November 7, 1996) is a native San Franciscan poet, performer, and playwright. A recipient of a Goldie from the S.F. Bay Guardian and an Improvis Asians! Award from San Francisco Asian Improv Arts for her contribution to contemporary spoken word, Lim’s work spans the full spectrum of performance poetry. She is the co-author of the American Book Award winning Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940 and a collection of poems, Winter Place.

Ruth Lum McGunn, of Chinese and Scottish descent, has published numerous books, including Thousand Pieces of Gold, which was turned into an American Playhouse motion picture. She has won numerous awards, including the Best Fiction, J. F. McDonnell Award, in 1997, for Wooden Fish Songs, Women's Heritage Museum Her work has been translated into nine languages and published in sixteen countries.

Diane Middlebrook, who shares CND’s Sr. Catharine Julie Cunningham Chair with her husband, Carl Djerassi, is a professor of English at Stanford University. She is a renowned poet, biographer, and literary critic whose most recent works include Anne Sexton: A Biography (Houghton Mifflin, 1992) and Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton (Houghton Mifflin, 1998).

Majid Naficy, an Iranian refugee who now lives in Southern California, has published several volumes of poetry as well as literary criticism, children’s fiction, and political essays–all written in Persian; he has recently published his first volume of English poems, Muddy Shoes.

Peter Najarian is a painter, poet, and fiction writer who has published widely. He has written four novels, the most recent being The Great American Loneliness (Blue Crane, 1999). He has published short fiction, memoirs, and poetry in numerous anthologies and journals. Much of his writing eloquently addresses the plight of the immigrant in American culture.

Steven Okazaki is an Academy Award-winning film  director who is participating in College of Notre Dame’s Sister Catharine Julie Cunningham Chair Program. His various filmography includes children’s films, documentaries, and independent features. Among his many films are Survivors (PBS, 1982), Unfinished Business (PBS, 1985), and Days of Waiting (1991, for which he won the Academy Award).

Gene Paré recently published Falling into Blue is an extraordinary collection of poetry and prose; his play Waiting for Godiva won the Mara Steffey Award. He has also won the Marjorie M. Follendorf, Anne Lillis, and Phelan Awards for poetry and prose. He will appear with a group of talented creative writers known as the Saturday Poets.

Doren Robbins has also published numerous collections of poetry, one of which, Driving Face Down, won the 2001 Blue Lynx Award. He has received several awards for his work from the Passaic Poetry Center, The Loft Foundation, and other foundations. He directs Foothill College’s annual Creative Writers’ Conference.

Gary Short’s poetry is both simple and profound, direct and moving. He has published four collections of his poetry, one of which (Flying Over Sonny Liston) was the winner of the Western States Book Award for Poetry. He is the recipient of numerous other awards, including a Wallace Stegner Fellow and a Djerassi/Middlebrook Award.

Joyce Thomas has written numerous books of poetry and fiction for children and teens, and she has recently published her debut novel for adults, House of Light. Her books have earned major literary awards, including the National Book Award, two Coretta Scott King honor awards, and the American Book Award. Thomas has taught creative writing at San Jose State University, U.C., Santa Cruz, Purdue University, and the University of Tennessee.

Marianne Villanueva is the author of the short story collection Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila, and her stories have been anthologized in Charlie Chan Is Dead and Into the Fire: Asian American Prose. She teachers women’s literature and ethnic American literature at NDNU.

Ken Waldman: Alaska’s Fiddling Poet since 1994, Ken Waldman produces poems, stories, and fiddle tunes that combine into a performance uniquely his own. A former college professor, he has published two collections of poetry (Nome Poems, 2000, and To Live on this Earth.

Kim Wolterbeek, who co-directs Foothill College’s annual Writers’ Conference, has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her short stories; her first collection, The Glass Museum, was recently published by Bellowing Ark Press.