2022 Writers Conference FREE Literary Readings
Joseph Wheeler Theater, Fort Worden State Park
July 17 – 7:00 p.m.: Free Readings (Wheeler Theater)
July 18 – 7:00 p.m.: Free Readings (Wheeler Theater)
July 19 – 7:00 p.m.: Free Readings (Wheeler Theater)
July 20 – 7:00 p.m.: Free Readings (Wheeler Theater)
July 21 – 7:00 p.m.: Free Readings (Wheeler Theater)
July 22 – 7:00 p.m.: Free Readings (Wheeler Theater)
Public Readings during the PTWC
Mikhail Iossel and Paisley Rekdal
Mikhail Iossel is the Leningrad-born author of the books of prose Love Like Water, Love Like Fire (Bellevue Literary Press, 2021), Notes From Cyberground: Trumpland And My Old Soviet Feeling (New Europe Books, 2018), and Every Hunter Wants to Know (W. W. Norton, 1991), as well as co-editor of the anthologies Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States (Dalkey Archive, 2004) and Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia (Tin House, 2010), is a professor of English/Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal and the founding director of the Summer Literary Seminars international program. Back in the former Soviet Union, he belonged to the organization of samizdat writers, Club-81 and worled as an electromagnetic engineer and a security guard at an amusement park. Among his awards are the Guggenheim, NEA, and Stegner Fellowships. His stories and other prose, in English and in translation to several languages, have appeared in NewYorker.com, Guernica, Literarian, AGNI, North American Review Threepenny Review, Interia, Boulevard, Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere.
Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; the hybrid-genre photo-text memoir Intimate, and The Broken Country: On Trauma, A Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. She is also the author of six books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, Animal Eye, Imaginary Vessels and Nightingale, and most recently, Appropriate: A Provocation, which examines cultural appropriation, released from W.W. Norton in Feb. 2021. A two-time finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Prize, her work has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes, and inclusion in multiple editions of the Best American Poetry series. Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, and on National Public Radio among others. She teaches at the University of Utah and is Utah’s poet laureate.
Steve Almond, Diana Abu-Jaber and Melissa Kwasny
Steve Almond is the author of eleven books of fiction and non-fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His work has appeared in the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart, and the New York Times Magazine.
After parents asked her to recommend books about Arab-American families, Diana Abu-Jaber wrote Silverworld, a fantasy with an Arab-American girl at its heart: published this year (Crown Books / Random House.) Diana often writes about the intersection of food, family, and cultural identity. Her memoir, Life Without A Recipe, was described by Ruth Reichl as “bold and luscious.” The Language of Baklava, her first memoir has been published in many languages and won the Northwest Bookseller’s Award. Her latest novel, Birds Of Paradise, won the Arab-American National Book Award. Her other novels include, Origin; Arabian Jazz; and Crescent, which won the Before Columbus American Book Award and the PEN Center Award for Literary Fiction. Fencing With the King, a novel of Middle Eastern intrigue, will be published in 2022 (W.W. Norton.) Diana is a professor in the English Department at Portland State University.
Melissa Kwasny is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Where Outside the Body is the Soul Today (University of Washington Press Pacific Northwest Poetry Series) and Pictograph (Milkweed Editions), as well as a prose collection, Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision (Lynx House Press). She is the editor of Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800–1950 (Wesleyan University Press) and co-editor, with M.L. Smoker, of the anthology I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poets in Defense of Global Human Rights (Lost Horse Press). The recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Cecil Hemley Award and Alice Fay di Castognola Award for a work in progress, the Montana Art Council’s Artist’s Innovation Award, and residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hedgebrook, Ucross, and the Headlands Center for the Arts, Kwasny is Montana’s current Poet Laureate, a position she shares with M.L. Smoker.
Jenny Boully, Jourdan Imani Keith and Maya Jewell Zeller
Jenny Boully is the author of Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life. Her previous books include not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them, The Book of Beginnings and Endings: Essays, [one love affair]*, of the mismatched teacups, of the single-serving spoon: a book of failures, and The Body: An Essay. A ลูกครึ่ง (half-child), she was born in Thailand and grew up on the southwest side of San Antonio, Texas. She attended Hollins University, where she double majored in English and Philosophy and then went on to earn an MA in English Criticism and Writing. Her other degrees include an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
The City of Seattle’s 2019 -2021 Civic Poet, Jourdan Imani Keith is a storyteller, essayist, playwright, naturalist and activist. Her TEDx Talk, “Your Body of Water”, the theme for King County’s 2016-2018 Poetry on Buses program won an Americans for the Arts award. Keith’s Orion Magazine essays, “Desegregating Wilderness” and ” At Risk” were selected for the 2015 Best American Science and Nature Writing Anthology (Houghton Mifflin). She has been awarded fellowships from Hedgebrook, Wildbranch, Santa Fe Science Writing workshop, VONA, and Jack Straw. Her poetry appears in Cosmonauts Avenue, Seattle Review of Books and many anthologies. Her memoir in essays, Tugging at the Web is forthcoming from University of Washington Press.
Maya Jewell Zeller is the author of the interdisciplinary collaboration (with visual artist Carrie DeBacker) Alchemy For Cells & Other Beasts (Entre Rios Books, 2017), the chapbook Yesterday, the Bees (Floating Bridge Press, 2015), and the poetry collection Rust Fish (Lost Horse Press, 2011). Her prose appears widely, in such places as Booth Journal, Bellingham Review, and the anthology This is the Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press, 2017). Recipient of a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation as well as a Residency in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Maya teaches for Central Washington University and edits poetry for Scablands Books. She is currently at work on a memoir titled “The Privilege Button.”
Kim Addonizio, Sam Ligon and Gary Copeland Lilley
Kim Addonizio’s latest books are a memoir, Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life (Penguin), and a poetry collection, Mortal Trash (W.W. Norton), winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. Her other publications include two novels, two guides to writing poetry (The Poet’s Companion, with Dorianne Laux, and Ordinary Genius), two short story collections, and several other books of poetry. Addonizio is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and two Pushcart Prizes, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her work has been translated into several languages including Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Hungarian, Italian, and Spanish. She teaches privately in Oakland, CA and online, as well as at conferences and retreats all over.
Samuel Ligon’s serial novel—Miller Cane: A True & Exact History—appeared for a year in Spokane’s weekly newspaper, The Inlander, as well as on Spokane Public Radio. The author of four previous books of fiction, including Wonderland and Safe in Heaven Dead, Ligon is also co-editor, with Kate Lebo, of Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter & Booze.He teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, serves as EWU’s Faculty Legislative Liaison in Olympia, and is Artistic Director of the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference.
Gary Copeland Lilley is the author of eight books of poetry, the most recent being The Bushman’s Medicine Show, from Lost Horse Press (2017), and a chapbook, The Hog Killing, from Blue Horse Press (2018). He is originally from North Carolina and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has received the Washington DC Commission on the Arts Fellowship for Poetry. He is published in numerous anthologies and journals, including Best American Poetry 2014, Willow Springs, The Swamp, Waxwing, the Taos International Journal of Poetry, and the African American Review. He is a Cave Canem Fellow.
Robert Lopez, Rebecca Brown and Shawn Vestal
Robert Lopez is the author of three novels, Part of the World, Kamby Bolongo Mean River —named one of 25 important books of the decade by HTML Giant, All Back Full, and two story collections, Asunder and Good People. A new book, A Better Class Of People, will be published by Four Way Books in 2021. He teaches at The New School, Pratt Institute, and Columbia University.He was a fellow in fiction for the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2010
Rebecca Brown is the author of 13 books published in the US and abroad, most recently NOT HEAVEN, SOMEWHERE ELSE (Tarpaulin Sky, 2018). Her other books (novels, short stories, essays, prose poems) include AMERICAN ROMANCES, THE HAUNTED HOUSE, THE DOGS:A MODERN BESTIARY, THE TERRIBLE GIRLS (all with City Lights) and THE GIFTS OF THE BODY (HarperCollins). She has also written a play, the libretto for a dance opera and popular arts and book criticism. Her work has been translated into Japanese, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Italian, etc. She is currently putting together a book of essays for the Fellow Travelers Series. She lives in Seattle.
Shawn Vestal is the author of the novel Daredevils, which won the Washington Book Award, and the short story collection Godforsaken Idaho, which won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize in 2014. He has also published essays and journalism in many publications, as well as the memoir A.K.A. Charles Abbott, released as a Kindle Single in October 2013. His stories have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Ecotone, The Southern Review, Cutbank, Sou’wester, Florida Review and other journals. He writes a column for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane,Wash., and teaches in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University.
Claudia Castro Luna, CMarie Furhman and Kristen Millares Young
Claudia Castro Luna served as Seattle’s first Civic Poet from 2015-2017 and is the author of This City (Floating Bridge Press). She is a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and a Jack Straw Fellow. Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. She has an MFA in poetry, an MA in Urban Planning and a K-12 teaching certificate. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, La Bloga, City Arts, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, among others. Her non-fiction work can be read in the anthologies, The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the US, (Northwestern University Press); Vanishing Points: Contemporary Salvadoran Narrative, (Kalina Eds) and forthcoming in This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press). Living in English and Spanish, Claudia writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children.
CMarie Fuhrman is the author of Camped Beneath the Dam: Poems (Floodgate 2020) and co-editor of Native Voices (Tupelo 2019). She has published poetry and nonfiction in multiple journals including High Desert Journal, Yellow Medicine Review, Cutthroat a Journal of the Arts, Whitefish Review, Broadsided Press, Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, as well as several anthologies. She is the 2019 recipient of the Grace Paley Fellowship at Under the Volcano in Tepotzlán, Mexico, a 2019 graduate of the University of Idaho’s MFA program, regular columnist for the Inlander, and an editorial team member for Broadsided Press and Transmotion. CMarie resides in the mountains of West Central Idaho.
Kristen Millares Young is the author of the novel Subduction (Red Hen Press). A prize-winning investigative journalist, book critic and essayist, Kristen serves as Prose Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House in Seattle. Her writing appears in the Washington Post, the Guardian, and Poetry Northwest, as well as the anthologies Pie & Whiskey, a 2017 New York Times New & Notable Book, Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity, and Advanced Creative Nonfiction (Bloomsbury). Kristen was the researcher for the New York Times team that produced “Snow Fall,” which won a Pulitzer and a Peabody.