Spring 2014 Living Writers Series

March 31, 2014

Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids, and I, the DivineThe Hakawati, the story collection, The Perv, and most recently, An Unnecessary Woman. He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut.

Meena Alexander is an award winning author and scholar. Her new book of poetry Birthplace with Buried Stones (TriQuarterly Books/ Northwestern University Press) is forthcoming in Fall 2013. Her volumes of poetry include Illiterate Heart (winner of the PEN Open Book Award), Raw Silkand Quickly Changing River. Her poetry has been translated into several languages and set to music. She has written the acclaimed autobiography, Fault Lines as well as two novels. She is author of the academic study Women in Romanticism and the book of essays Poetics of Dislocation. She is Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York and  teaches at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Mark Axelrod is a graduate of both Indiana University (BA and MA) and the University of Minnesota (PhD). He is the Director of the John Fowles Center for Creative Writing, and has received numerous writing awards including two United Kingdom Leverhulme Fellowships for Creative Writing as well as awards from the Sundance Institute. He has published four novels, Capital Castles (Pacific Writers Press, 2000), Cloud Castles(Pacific Writers Press, 1998), Cardboard Castles (Pacific Writers Press, 1996), Bombay California (Pacific Writers Press, 1994), and has recently completed a novel in three books titled, The Posthumous Memoirs of Blase Kubash. He has also written several collections of short stories, including Dante's Foil & Other Sporting TalesThe Apotheosis of Aaron, and Borges' Travel, Hemingway's Garage, the last recently published by the Fiction Collective 2 and a prequel to Balzac Coffee, Leonardo's Suites. He has published two books on screenwriting, Aspects of the Screenplay(Heinemann) and Character & Conflict: Cornerstones of Screenwriting (Heinemann), and has recently completed a book on adaptation titled, I Read It At The Movies. He recently assumed the position of co-editor of the literary journal The New Novel Review, and is a regular reviewer for The Review of Contemporary Fiction. He has been published in numerous journals in the United States and Europe, including the Iowa Review and the New York Quarterly.

Annie Boutelle, who was born and raised in Scotland, is a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Literature at Smith College, and founder of the Smith College Poetry Center.  She is the Grace Hazard Conkling Poet in Residence at Smith from  2009-12.  She was a finalist for the 1999 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, the 2000 Katheryn Morton Award, and the 2002 Philip Levine Prize. Her poems have appeared in a number of journals and magazines, includingPoetryThe Hudson ReviewThe Georgia Review, and The Green Mountains Review. She is the author of Thistle and Rose: A Study of Hugh MacDiarmid’s Poetry, as well as 2 poetry collections, Becoming Bone and Nest of Thistles. Annie has published poems on the web, in AgniPainted Bride, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. In 2007 she was awarded a fellowship at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. She has given radio interviews on the West Coast (KUSP/NPR, Santa Cruz CA), and in Massachusetts (WMUA, WFCR/NPR, and The River). Annie lives in Florence, Massachusetts.

Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. Her seven books of poetry, which includes such well-known titles as How We Became Human- New and Selected Poems, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and She Had Some Horses have garnered many awards.  These include the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. For A Girl Becoming, a young adult/coming of age book, was released in 2009 and is Harjo’s most recent publication.

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was born in 1929 in Berkeley, and lives in Portland, Oregon. As of 2013, she has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many honors and awards including Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud. Her most recent publications are Finding My Elegy (New and Selected Poems, 1960-2010) and The Unreal and the Real (Selected Short Stories), 2012.


Roshni Rustomji-Kerns (Ph.D., U of California-Berkeley), Professor Emerita at Sonoma State University, is currently Visiting Scholar at the Center for Latin American Studies, Stanford University (1996-1998). Born in India and educated in India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Mexico, and the United States, she is the coeditor ofBlood into Ink: South Asian and Middle Eastern Women Write War(Westview, 1994) and the editor ofLiving in America: Fiction and Poetry by South Asian American Writers(Westview, 1995), as well as the editor of the forthcoming anthology, The Geography of Encounters: People of Asian Descent in the Americas(Rowman & Littlefield, 1999). Her essays have appeared in many journals and in The Heath Anthology of American Literature and The Oxford Companion to Women Writing in the United States. Rustomji-Kerns's short stories have been included in the anthologies Our Feet Walk the Sky: Women of the South Asian Diaspora(Aunt Lute Press, 1993), Her Mother's Ashes and Other Stories (Vol. I and II), and Contours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America (1996).

Ngugi wa Thiong'o, currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, was born in Kenya, in 1938 into a large peasant family. He was educated at Kamandura, Manguu and Kinyogori primary schools; Alliance High School, all in Kenya; Makerere University College (then a campus of London University), Kampala, Uganda; and the University of Leeds, Britain. He is recipient of seven Honorary Doctorates viz D Litt (Albright); PhD (Roskilde); D Litt (Leeds); D Litt &Ph D (Walter Sisulu University); PhD (Carlstate); D Litt (Dillard) and D Litt (Auckland University). He is also Honorary Member of American Academy of Letters. A many-sided intellectual, he is novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist.