Notable wordsmiths visit campus

Audra Gamble

For years, Grand Valley State University has welcomed skilled writers to campus to present their works
to students. The long-running Grand Valley Writers Series will make its return Oct. 1 and continue
periodically throughout the year. The series allows accomplished writers to explain their creative
processes, the challenges they face and how to get published. Often, the guests will read an excerpt
from their work and stay after to sign copies.

The first writer of the year is Roxane Gay, who will discuss issues of diversity, gender studies and
other subjects in print and news media. Other guests scheduled this year include a playwright from
Chicago, a Haitian-American writer, a poet and songwriter, and Nepal’s first English language fiction
writer. GVSU professors of writing Amorak Huey and Caitlin Horrocks will also be presenting Jan. 28.

“We choose writers from different genres and from different backgrounds,” said series coordinator
and professor Oindrila Mukherjee. “I am trying to invite people whose work will be useful to other
disciplines besides just writing and am also very interested in bringing to campus first-generation
Americans and immigrant writers.”

Some of the presenters will visit writing classes throughout the day of their visit, and many of their
events are approved for both LIB 100 and LIB 201. Playwright Jenni Lamb will speak about improv,
which may be of interest to theater majors or anyone interested in performance.

“There’s a lot of interdisciplinary interest,” Mukherjee said.

While these events are geared toward writing students, some of the guests will also be presenting
about other fields of expertise. Notable speakers from previous years include Sharon Olds, David
Shields, Junot Diaz, Rita Dove, C.K. Williams, Charles Baxter, Billy Collins and many others.

For a full list of events in the series, visit
All events are free and locations vary.

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