Department of English
A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series
Writers Series
A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series events are sponsored by the Department of English, the College of Liberal Arts, and the West Virginia Humanities Council. Each event is free and open to the public.



Writers Series Archive

February 28, 2023

November 10, 2022

OCTOBER 12, 2022

SEPTEMBER 29, 2022

NOVEMBER 11, 2021

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

JANUARY 30, 2020VWS January 30 2020

The A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series is proud to announce an Appalachian Authors Reading with John Sealy and Mesha Maren. This event is free and open to all and will be held in the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse on Thursday, January 30th at 7 pm.

Jon Sealy is the author of The Whiskey Baron (Hub City Press, 2014) and The Edge of America (Haywire Books, 2019). An upstate South Carolina native, he has a degree in English from the College of Charleston and an MFA in fiction writing from Purdue University. His short fiction has appeared in The Normal School, PANK, and The Sun, among other venues, and his nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, The Millions, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He currently is a freelance writer and the publisher of Haywire Books. He lives with his family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.

Mesha Maren is the author of Sugar Run (Algonquin Books, 2019). Her short stories and essays can be read in Tin House, The Oxford American, The Guardian, Crazyhorse, Triquarterly, The Southern Review, Ecotone, Sou’wester, Hobart, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She was the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Duke University and also serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing Fellow at the federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia.

This event is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, the Honors College, the College of Liberal Arts, University Libraries, Sexuality Studies, and the Department of English.

DECEMBER 5, 2019VWS December 5 2019

The event will feature creative writing by faculty members Charles Lloyd, Daniel O’Malley, Joel Peckham, Greta Rensenbrink, Rachel Rinehart, Anna Rollins and Kristin Steele.  It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served, and books by faculty will be available for purchase.

The event is sponsored by the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts.


OCTOBER 22, 2019VWS October 22 2019

Marshall University’s A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series will host a Native American Heritage Month reading featuring Ojibwe author David Treuer at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22nd, in Corbly Hall 105.
David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. The author of seven books, including Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life (2012), Prudence (2015) and The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present (2019), Treuer has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Slate, and The Washington Post. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology and teaches Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee has been named a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in Nonfiction. The Washington Post notes in its review of the book, “Treuer is an easy companion: thoughtful, provocative and challenging. He tells a disturbing yet heroic story that may very well be seen as a definition of ‘American exceptionalism.’” 
This reading is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council, the John Deaver Drinko Academy, the Office of the President, the College of Liberal Arts, the Honors College, the President’s Commission on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Department of History, the Department of English, University Libraries, and the Marshall University Native American Student Organization.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019VWS Sept 26 2019

The A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series at Marshall University will host a reading to support Facing Hunger Foodbank at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in Room 154 of Smith Hall.

It will feature readings, a Q&A session, and book signing with Marshall alumni Jordan Farmer and Rajia Hassib. This event is free and open to the public.

Jordan Farmer is the author of The Pallbearer (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018) and the forthcoming The Poison Flood (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020).  A West Virginia native, he earned his master’s degree from Marshall University and his Ph.D. at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In the words of Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July CreekThe Pallbearer is a “feat of sustained tension and deep humanity. With trenchant insight into the way young men are primed to make disastrous choices, Farmer’s moving debut gripped me from the first page and did not let go or disappoint. Get acquainted with Farmer’s work now – you’re going to be hearing about him for a long time.”

Rajia Hassib was born and raised in Egypt and moved to the United States when she was 23. Her first novel, In the Language of Miracles (Penguin Random House, 2015)was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and received an honorable mention from the Arab American Book Award. Her second novel, A Pure Heart (Penguin Random House)was released in August 2019. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Marshall University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker online, and Literary Hub. She lives in Charleston with her husband and two children.

Laila Lalami, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Moor’s Account found A Pure Heart, “A captivating novel about family, love, and home. Hassib masterfully excavates the secret loyalties that drive women to make fateful choices and, in so doing, explores important themes of guilt and responsibility, shame and forgiveness.”

The event is sponsored by the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts.


APRIL 18, 2019VWS April 18 2019

The A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series at Marshall University will present a panel discussion on “Disability and Creative” and a public reading on “Disability Awareness” featuring authors Meg Day and David Wanczyk on Thursday, April 18.

The panel discussion will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 104 of Corbly Hall, and the reading will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Shawkey Room of the Memorial Student Center.

Wanczyk is the author of Beep: Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind (Swallow Press). His essays, poems and criticism have appeared in Slate, Boston Globe Magazine, Texas Monthly, Brevity, Pank and Woolf Studies Annual. He is the editor of the literary journal New Ohio Review and an instructor at Ohio University.

Meg Day is a recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowship in Poetry, and is the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street), winner of the Barrow Street Poetry Prize and the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award. She is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Both events will be fully accessible and an American Sign Language interpreter will be present. They are free and open to the public with sponsorship from the West Virginia Humanities Council, the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of English.

APRIL 11 2019VWS April 11 2019

The A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series at Marshall University will present authors Elizabeth Ellen and Juliet Escoria on Thursday, April 11 at 7:00 pm in Smith
Hall 154 on the Huntington campus.
This reading, Q&A, and book signing event is free and open to the public.
Elizabeth Ellen is the author of the novel Person/a, the story collections Fast Machine and Saul Stories, and the poetry book Elizabeth Ellen. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for her story “Teen Culture,” originally published in American Short Fiction. She is deputy editor of the literary journal Hobart and the founder of Short Flight/Long Drive books.
Juliet Escoria is the author of the novel Juliet the Maniac, forthcoming from Melville House in May 2019. She also wrote the poetry collection Witch Hunt (Lazy Fascist Press 2016) and the story collection Black Cloud (CCM/Emily Books 2014), which were both listed in various best of the year roundups. Her writing can be found in places like Lenny, Catapult, VICE, The Fader, Dazed, and Hobart, and has been translated into many languages. She was born in Australia, raised in San Diego, and currently lives in Beckley, West Virginia with her husband, the writer Scott McClanahan.
This event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of English.

FEBRUARY 25, 2019

VWS Feb 25 2019

JANUARY 31, 2019VWS Jan 31 2019

The A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series will kick off  the spring semester by hosting a reading with Appalachian novelist Robert Gipe (left)  and poet Savannah Sipple at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, in the Shawkey Room of the Memorial Student Center.

The event will include readings, a Q&A with the authors and a book-signing opportunity. It is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Gipe’s fiction has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Still: The Journal, and Southern Cultures. His debut novel, Trampoline (Ohio University Press, 2015), is the winner of the Weatherford Award in fictionIts sequel, Weedeater (Ohio University Press), was released in 2018. From 1997 to 2018, he was the Appalachian program director at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Harlan County, Kentucky.

Sipple is the author of WWJD and Other Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). Her poems have appeared in Appalachian HeritageWaxwingTalking RiverThe Offing, and The Louisville Review. She is the recipient of grants from the Money for Women/ Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

The event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of English.

2017 – 2018

In honor of National Poetry month, we invite you to join us for a special reading with West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman and 2016 Philip Levine Prize winner, and MU English faculty member, Rachel Rinehart! Q&A and book signing to follow. Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Shawkey Room, Memorial Student Center.


Thursday, 8 February 2018

In a celebration of Black History month, in conjunction with the Marshall University Birke Fine Arts Symposium, we present authors Bernard Grant and DaMaris Hill for a reading of their work. Join us this Thursday, at 7 p.m. in the Shawkey Room, Memorial Student Center.



Thursday, 25 January 2018

Celebrating Appalachian Identities
Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South
Featuring Julia Watts, Larry Smith and Okey Napier

The A.E Stringer Visiting Writers Series is focusing the spring 2018 semester on exhibiting writers from diverse backgrounds. Our first event, last Thursday January 25th, was a Queer Appalachian reading showcasing the work of Appalachian native writers Julia Watts, Jeff Mann and Okey Napier. Watts is an editor of the anthology Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South and Napier and Mann both have personal essays included in it. The reading brought about 80 attendees which included students, faculty, and community members.

 The first reader was Julia Watts. Julia Watts is the author of over a dozen novels and a Lambda Literary Award winner. We had a special opportunity to hear her read from an upcoming, currently untitled LGBTQ Appalachian anthology of fiction and poetry that both she and Jeff Mann are collaborating on. She selected to read the short story “Handling Dynamite” from the anthology. “Handling Dynamite” centered around an LGBTQ character living in secrecy in rural Appalachia while working in the coalmines. The story stayed true to the “down home” and familiar Appalachian fashion while shedding light on the experience of handling both queer and southern identities.

Our second reader of the night was Okey Napier. Napier is the author of two pending novels and teaches sociology at Marshall University, Ohio University and Mountwest Community and Technical College. He read from his creative non-fiction essay “Dave” set in Huntington, West Virginia, about Napier’s experiences befriending a drag queen named Dave who suffered from HIV. It’s tear-jerking and at times humorous reflections reveal the unique struggles and personalities within the Appalachian LGBTQ community.

To close off the reading, Lambda Literary Award winner Jeff Mann took the podium to read his essay “Big Queer Convocations,” also featured in the Unbroken Circle anthology. The essay swells with pride in his roots while honestly confronting the dissonance of being both gay and Appalachian. In spite of the many political and cultural differences that shroud the gap between both communities, Mann’s essay imparts the message that one can embrace both identities and create their own safe haven in their southern homelands.

A productive and thought-provoking Q&A finished off the reading for the night. Politics, advice on family and reflections on the degree of exposure that the internet has allowed the queer community were all topics of conversation. Many members of the audience stayed after for further discussion and book signing with the authors. By the end of the night the table that contained for-sale copies of Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South was empty.

This event was the product of collaboration between many individuals and organizations. We would like to thank the authors for their time and graciousness and The West Virginia Humanities Council for their sponsorship.






Thursday, 2 November 2017

Join us for a special reading, Q&A and book signing with some of our very own emeritus faculty authors and poets: Edwina Pendarvis, Mary B. Moore and the founder of our Visiting Writers Series, A.E. Stringer.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 2, in the Don Morris Room at the Marshall University Memorial Student Center.


4-5 October 2017

Join us for Hispanic Heritage month. At 7 p.m., 4 October, at the MU Visual Arts Center, we welcome Award winning authors Carmen Giménez Smith and Dan Vera for a cultural panel discussion, Building Comunidad through Activism & the Arts.

Then, on 5 October, at 7:30 p.m., the authors will read from their work, preceding a Q&A and book signing.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series welcomes Laura Treacy Bentley and Joel Peckham for for the annual Writers Harvest food drive and reading and Q&A.

2016 – 2017

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series welcomes poets Gary Dop and Jill Khoury for a reading, Q&A, and book signing.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series welcomes poet and filmmaker Michele Poulous and poet Gregory Donovan for a special screening of Poulous’s feature-length documentary on poet Larry Levis: A Late Style of Fire.



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Visiting writers Alison Umminger and Margaret Mitchell.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016 & Thursday, 13 October 2016

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series welcomes authors Joe Jiménez and Emmy Pérez to Marshall for two events on Wednesday, 12 October and Thursday, 13 October 2016. On Wednesday, join these authors in a panel discussion on “Living & Writing Latin@” at 7:00pm. On Thursday, both will give a reading of original creative works. Both events will be held in the Drinko Library Atrium Auditorium.


Thursday, 15 September 2016

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series welcomes poet, author, and storyteller Cat Pleska and poet and scholar Mary Moore to Marshall on Thursday, 15 September 2016. The reading will be held in the J. Churchill Hodges Atrium in the new Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex.

This reading also supports the Facing Hunger Food Bank, and a suggested donation of 2-3 nonperishable food items would be appreciated for admission.


2015 – 2016

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series welcomes poet and fiction writer Jeff Mann to Marshall on Tuesday, 12 April 2016. The reading will be held in the MSC Shawkey Room.

Jeff Mann has published five books of poetry, Bones Washed with Wine, On the Tongue, Ash: Poems from Norse Mythology, A Romantic Mann, and Rebels; two collections of personal essays, Edge: Travels of an Appalachian Leather Bear and Binding the God: Ursine Essays from the Mountain South; a book of poetry and memoir, Loving Mountains, Loving Men; four novels, Fog, Purgatory, Cub, and Salvation; and two volumes of short fiction, Desire and Devour: Stories of Blood and Sweat and A History of Barbed Wire.  The winner of two Lambda Literary Awards and three NLA-International awards, he teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.



Thursday, 31 March 2016

The The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series welcomes poets Heather Christle and Christopher DeWeese to Marshall on Thursday, 31 March 2016. The reading will be in the Drinko Library Atrium (3rd floor). Heather Christle is the author of What is AmazingThe Difficult Farm, and Heliopause. Christopher DeWeese is the author of The Father of the Arrow is the Thought and The Black Forest. Please join us!


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series welcomes fiction writer Tom Noyes to the Marshall campus on Tuesday, 16 February at 8:00 p.m. The reading will be held at the Marshall Student Center in BE4.

Tom Noyes is the author of Come Here: A Novella and Stories, as well as Spooky Action at a Distance and Other Stories, and Behold Faith and Other Stories.

Dan Chaon says that Noyes’s work is “wonderfully wry and compassionate, and, yes, spooky,” and the New York Times Book Review says that his stories are “dominated by macabre wit and startling confessions of frailty and delusion.”


Monday, 9 November 2015

The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series will bring Kristen Iversen to the Marshall campus on Monday, 9 November at 8:00 p.m. The reading will be held at the Marshall Student Center in the Shawkey Room.

Kristen Iversen is the author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flates.

From Iversen’s author site:

“Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman, Kristen Iversen, growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated “the most contaminated site in America.” It’s the story of a childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and—unknown to those who lived there—tainted with invisible yet deadly particles of plutonium.

It’s also a book about the destructive power of secrets—both family and government. Her father’s hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what was made at Rocky Flats (cleaning supplies, her mother guessed)—best not to inquire too deeply into any of it.”


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Please join us for our first Visiting Writers Series event of the 2015-2016 academic year.

The Visiting Writers Series Writers Harvest, featuring authors Rajia Hassib and Rachael Peckham, is Wednesday, 16 September at 8:00 p.m. in the Marshall University Foundation Hall (located at 519 John Marshall Drive, just off of 5th Avenue in Huntington).

This literary reading will support the Facing Hunger Food Bank, and we ask those attending to bring at least 2-3 nonperishable food items for donation. September is national Hunger Action Month.


Contact the Writers Series