Living Writers Winter '16

Living Writers, Speculations in Color, is an event that is free to students and the public, and happens every Thursday night from 6-7:45pm in the Humanities Lecture Hall, room 206. This series will be focusing on fiction writers as well as film makers. It's going to be an exciting series and we hope to see you there!  For more details, please email us at

Schedule of Authors:

January 14th: Alex Rivera 

January 21st: Vikram Chandra 

January 28th: Stephen Graham Jones & Christopher Rosales 

February 4th: Charles Yu

February 11th: Branwen Okpako

February 18th: Nnedi Okorafor

February 25th: Chang-rae Lee

March 3rd: Jeremy Love

March 10th: Samuel Delany

March 17th: Student Reading

With Major funding by:

Sigfried B. & Elisabeth Mignon Puknat Literary Studies Endowment, the Humanities Division, and the UC Presidential Chair For Feminist and Critical Race &Ethnic Studies

Thanks to:

AAPIRC Asian American Pacific Islander Resource center, African American Resource Center, American Indian Resource Center, Arts Division, Bay Tree Bookstore, Center for Labor Studies, CLRC Chicano(a) Latino(a) REsource Center, College Eight, El Centro, Film & Digital Media Department & Social Documentation, IHR Institute for Humanities Research, LALS Latin American Latino(a) Studies Department, Laurie Sain Endowment, Lionel Cantú Queer Center, Literature Department & Creative Writing Program, Oakes College, Politics Department, Porter College George Hitchcock Poetry Endowment, South Asia Studies Intiative 

    Alex Rivera

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    Alex Rivera is a filmmaker who, for the past fifteen years, has been telling new, urgent, and visually adventurous Latino stories.  
    His first feature film, Sleep Dealer, a science-fiction feature set on the U.S./Mexico border, won awards at the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, was screened at the Museum of Modern Art, and had a commercial release in the U.S, France, Japan, and other countries.
    Alex is a Sundance Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, was The Rothschild Lecturer at Harvard University, and was named one of Variety Magazine’s “10 Directors to Watch.”
    In 2015 Alex was awarded major support from the Surdna Foundation and the Ford Foundation for his film-in-progress, ‘The Infiltrators,’ and he received an Art & Technology Lab Grant from LACMA for an upcoming project in virtual reality.

  • Vikram Chandra

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    Vikram Chandra’s latest book is Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty. He has also written the novels Sacred Games and Red Earth and Pouring Rain and the short story collection Love and Longing in Bombay. His honours include a Guggenheim fellowship, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia), the Crossword Prize, and the Salon Book Award. He teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been translated into nineteen languages. 

  • Stephen Graham Jones

  • No alternative textStephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels and six story collections. Next up is the werewolf novel Mongrels, from William Morrow. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado, and teaches in the MFA program there and at UCR-Palm Desert.

  • Christopher Rosales

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    Christopher David Rosales is from Paramount, CA. His first novel, Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper, won him the McNamara Creative Arts Grant. His stories have appeared in journals in the U.S. and abroad, and he is a regular contributor to LitReactor. Rosales currently lives in Denver, where he is the fiction editor for SpringGun Press and a PhD candidate at DU. His second novel, Gods on the Lam, is forthcoming Summer 2016. 

  • Charles Yu

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    Charles Yu is an Asian American writer of three well received works of speculative fiction, How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe, Third Class Superhero, and Sorry Please Thank You. Born 1976 in Los Angeles, Yu graduated from University of California at Berkeley and Columbia Law School. He lives with his wife and children in Santa Monica, California. He has been widely published in such places as Oxford American, The Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Mississippi Review, and Alaska Quarterly Review and has been cited for special mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology XXVIII. He won the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award for his story "Class Three Superhero." He was selected by the National Book Foundation as one of its 5 Under 35 program, which highlights the work of the next generation of fiction writers. It is determined by previous National Book Award winners and finalists selecting one fiction writer under the age of 35 whose work they find promising or interesting. Richard Powers, winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction, selected Yu for the honor.

    His novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe was ranked the year's second best science fiction novel by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas, and a runner up for the John W Campbell Memorial Award. The novel has been optioned for a film. The novel focuses on a father-son relationship and the narrator's search for a father. It includes themes of how we live, time, memory, and creation of the self, and features a narrator who shares the author's name and who lives in a time machine with his non-existent dog. His fiction deals with loneliness, isolation, time, memory, speculative technology, and is touched with a great deal of humor.

  • Branwen Okpako

  • Image via Daye Lee

    Image via Daye Lee

    Branwen Okpako was born in Lagos/Nigeria. She attended the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, where she received the International Baccalaureate (IB). In 1991 she received her BSC in Politics from Bristol University, England, and in 1999 her MFA equivalent Diploma in Film Directing from the prestigious German Film and Television Academy, Berlin (dffb). 
    Since the early 1990’s Okpako has been producing videos, mixed media installations, and films. Her work has screened in galleries and at film festivals in Europe, Great Britain, Africa, North America, and the Middle East.
    Her works include the short films Probe ( 1992), Frida Film (1993), Vorspiel (1994), Landing (1995), Market Forces (1996), Searching for Taid (1997) and Love Love Liebe (1998) as well as the two-screen installation Christa-Christopher (2013), a fictitious dialogue on two monitors between author Christa Wolf and poet Christopher Okigbo. Both of them were intellectually and politically active in their respective contexts – in the GDR, and in Nigeria during the Biafra war – until they were denounced as dissidents. They encounter each other in Branwen Okpako’s installation.
    For her graduation film, the feature documentary Dreckfresser  (2000), Okpako received, among others, the German Next-Generation-First-Steps Award for Best Documentary Film, the Bavarian documentary film prize The Young Lion and First Prize at the Dubrovnik International Documentary Film Festival in 2001. In 2002 Okpako was invited to create an installation for the Werkleitz Biennale. For that three-screen installation, Sehe ich was du nicht siehst? (Do I see what you do not see?), she received the D-motion special prize from the city of Halle, Germany.
     Okpako's first fiction feature Valley of the Innocent (Tal der Ahnungslosen, 2004), a coproduction between TEamworx Berlin and ZDF, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film festival in 2003 and went on to screen in the feature film competition at Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) 2005.
    For her film The Education of Auma Obama Branwen Okpako received the 2012 African Movie Academy Award for Best Diaspora Documentary, the Festival Founders Award for Best Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles (both in 2012), and the Viewers Choice Award at the Africa International Film Festival (2011). Her most recent project, The Curse of Medea (Fluch der Medea), a docudrama about the life of the late German writer Christa Wolf, was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014.
     In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Okpako also works in theater, writing and directing plays, most notably at the Ballhaus Naunynstr. in Berlin where she directed the highly popular Schwarztragen (Wearing Black) in 2013 and Die Konferenz von Ill (2014). 

    Gender and African-Diasporic identity in Germany are recurring themes in Okpako’s work and in recent years she has begun to lecture at universities and film schools around the world, most recently as visiting Associate Professor of Film at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

  • Nnedi Okorafor

  • Nnedi Image Nnedi Okorafor is an international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Nnedi Okorafor’s books include Lagoon (a British Science Fiction Association Award finalist for Best Novel),Who Fears Death (a World Fantasy Award winner for Best Novel), Kabu Kabu (A Publisher's Weekly Best Book for Fall 2013),Akata Witch (an Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (a CBS Parallax Award winner). Her latest works include her novel The Book of Phoenix and her novella Binti. Nnedi is an associate professor at the University at Buffalo, New York (SUNY)Learn more at

  • Chang-rae Lee

  • Photo Credit: David Burnett

    Photo Credit: David Burnett

    Chang-rae Lee is the author of the novels Native Speaker (1995),  A Gesture Life (1999), Aloft (2004), The Surrendered (2010), which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and On Such A Full Sea (2014), which won the 2015 Heartland Prize for Fiction  and was a Finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction.
    His other awards and citations include the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the American Book Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, ALA Notable Book of the Year Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Literary Award, the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, and the NAIBA Book Award for Fiction. He has also has also written stories and articles for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, and many other publications.  In 2000 he was named by The New Yorker as one of the 20 Writers for the 21st Century.
    He has been awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and The American Academy in Rome.
    Chang-rae Lee was born in Seoul, Korea and emigrated to the United States when he was three. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Yale, and the University of Oregon. He is Professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University as well as a Shinhan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Yonsei University.

  • Jeremy Love

  • No alternative textJeremy Love is an award-winning writer, illustrator, and animator. His critically acclaimed, Eisner Nominated, serialized graphic novel Bayou has been used as curriculum at various high schools and colleges including the University of South Carolina and Dartmouth college. It was also selected by the American Library Association as a Great Graphic Novel for teens. Other projects include Blackest Nightmare for DC Comics, Fierce and Shadow Rock for Dark Horse Comics as a writer and GI JoeFraggle Rockfor Archaia and Midnight Mover for Oni as an artist.  Love is currently hard at work completing Bayou as well as a new Mini-Series from Dark Horse Comics, The Black Lotus.

  • Samuel Delany

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    After twenty-nine years as a professor at Temple University, SUNY Buffalo, and U. Mass, Amherst, Samuel R. Delany retired to live with his family and his life-partner Dennis Rickett in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Born in New York City’s Harlem in 1942, Delany was the first African American writer to achieve note through commercial American science fiction. His SF novels include Nova (1968), Dhalgren (1975), and Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders (2012). Edited by Kenneth James, a volume of his journals will appear in 2016. Omnibus editions of his early SF—A, B, C: Three Short Novels and The Fall of the Towers—are available from Vintage Books, as are his collected science fiction and fantasy tales, Aye, and Gomorrah.

    In four volumes Wesleyan University Press publishes eleven fantasy tales and novels, Delany’s Return to Neveryon, as well as a collection of three novellas Atlantis: Three Tales. Dover Books will shortly return to print Delany’s Stonewall Book Award-winning novel Dark Reflections (2007). His non-fiction includes The American Shore, Time Square Red / Times Square Blue, Shorter Views, and About Writing. Books available in e-versions include Open Road Media’s The Mad Man: Or The Mysteries of Manhattan, an autobiography The Motion of Light in Water, and, from Wesleyan University Press, Phallos. In 2013 Samuel R. Delany was named the 31st Grandmaster of Science Fiction.