Living Writers Series Fall 2016
Living Writers Fall Schedule 2016
9/22 No reading
9/29 Chanan Tigay
10/6 Jennifer Chang
10/13 Michelle Tea
10/20 Alfredo Vea
10/27 Elizabeth Willis
11/3 No reading
11/10 Peter Orner
11/17 No reading
12/1 Student Reading
Author of the forthcoming Unholy Scriptures: Fraud, Suicide, Scandal—and the Bible that Rocked the Holy City (Ecco/HarperCollins), and two long works of nonfiction, The Special Populations Unit: Arab Soldiers in Israel’s Army (McSweeney’s) and Nuclear Meltdown, released on the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan (Rodale Press). Tigay was awarded the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s 2011-2012 Investigative Reporting Fellowship, where he worked on a documentary film about Israel’s opposition to the Iranian nuclear program for PBS “Frontline.” His journalism has appeared in publications including Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Jerusalem Post. Tigay has taught courses in Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program on novel writing, the “writing life,” creative non-fiction, magazine and feature writing; and was a writing instructor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He has received residency fellowships at Yaddo, the Blue Mountain Center and the Mesa Refuge. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Jerusalem and raised in Philadelphia, Tigay is an assistant professor at San Francisco State.
Poet and scholar Jennifer Chang was born in New Jersey. She is a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia, where she is a PhD candidate. Chang’s lyrical poems often explore the shifting boundaries between the outer world and the self. Chang’s debut poetry collection, The History of Anonymity (2008), was selected for the Virginia Quarterly Review’s Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Shenandoah/ Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers. Speaking to the “emotional landscapes” of myths and fairy tales that surface occasionally in her poems, Chang stated in a 2008 interview on Critical Mass (the blog of the National Book Critics Circle board of directors): “As a scholar, I don’t trust autobiography, and as a lyric poet, I don’t trust narrative: both enforce a coherence that reveals more about the writer’s motives at the moment rather than the life or story being told. What I do trust is mystery; I trust confusion.”Chang co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and promotion of Asian American poetry. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Michelle Tea is the author of the memoirs The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America,The Chelsea Whistle, the illustrated Rent Girl and Valencia, winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction. Valencia has been made into a collaborative feature-length film with 21 different directors, and toured film festivals globally after a sold-out premiere at San Francisco’s Castro Theater. Valencia the book has been translated into Slovenian, Japanese, and German. Michelle’s self-published poetry chapbooks, produced in the 90s, are compiled in the poetry collection The Beautiful. She is the author of the novel Rose of No Man’s Land (translated into Italian), and has edited anthologies on first person narratives (Pills, Thrills, Chills and Heartache), the female experience of growing up working class (Without A Net), feminist fashion (It’s So You) and up and coming queer female writing (Baby, Remember My Name). Her latest book is Black Wave, a memoir-fiction hybrid, published by Feminist Press, where she curates the Amethyst Editions series.
Alfredo Véa was born in the desert outside of Phoenix, but not in America. His grandfather was a Yaqui Indian, his grandmother was a Spanish-Mexican curandera who had played piano in silent movie theaters. Their grass covered adobe house stood at the epicenter of hundreds of tarpaper shacks built by Okies and Arkies. There were Apaches, Tarahumara, Navajo, Hindus and black folk everywhere, waiting for trucks to take them to the cotton fields. While his mother barely endured life in this impoverished Babel, her son lived in a wonderland. He luxuriated in the sound of Uto-aztecan, Athabascan, Dravidian and drawl—and the sounds of bible thumping and jive. After ten years or so he was dragged away to work on the migratory labor circuit in California, the land of stucco houses and aluminum window frames. All of it was drudgery until he began working in vineyards. Then he was ripped away from the vines to become a soldier, enslaved in Vietnam. Today, he is an attorney in San Francisco. If you ask him who he is he will never say “lawyer” or “writer.” Touch him and you will find that his skin is adobe. In his dreams, there are goats scuffling about on the roof and he and his grandfather are asleep on a cot under the stars.
Elizabeth Willis's most recent book, Alive: New and Selected Poems (New York Review Books, 2015), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Other books include Address (Wesleyan, 2011), recipient of the PEN New England prize for poetry; Meteoric Flowers (Wesleyan, 2006); Turneresque (Burning Deck, 2003); and The Human Abstract (Penguin, 1995). Her poems have appeared in recent issues of A Public Space, Hambone, Harpers, The New Yorker, and Poetry. Willis has received support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the California Arts Council, and the Howard Foundation. She recently joined the faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Peter Orner is the author of two story collections, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge and Esther Stories, and two novels, Love and Shame and Love and The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo. He has received the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two Pushcart Prizes, and was a finalist for both the PEN/Hemingway Award. and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review, the Atlantic, and Best American Stories. Orner has received Guggenheim and Lannan Foundation Fellowships, as well as a Fulbright to Namibia. A faculty member at San Francisco State University and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, he has taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of Montana, and Northwestern University. He lives in San Francisco and Bolinas, California.