Visiting Authors, Fall 2016

All readings are free and open to the public


Thursday, September 29

Joshua Mehigan

UConn Bookstore, Storrs Center, 6:00 pm

Co-sponsored with the UConn Bookstore and the English Speaker’s Fund


Joshua Mehigan was born and raised in Upstate New York. He earned a BA from Purchase College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. He is the author of a chapbook Confusing Weather (1998) and two books of poetry The Optimist (2004) which was one of five finalists for the 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Accepting the Disaster (2014). His poems have been featured in Poetry Magazine, The New Yorker, and Ploughshares. His awards include the Dogwood Poetry Prize, the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, the Pushcart Prize, the Levinson Prize from Poetry Magazine and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mehigan has worked as a communications professional, editor and teacher. He lives in Brooklyn, New York City.



Tuesday, October 11

Frank Ormsby

UConn Bookstore, Storrs Center, 6:00 pm

Co-sponsored with Irish Studies, the English Speakers Fund, and the UConn Bookstore


Frank Ormsby hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland and is a lifelong advocate for Northern Irish poets. He has edited several anthologies and is the author of five collections of poetry A Store of Candles (1977), A Northern Spring (1986), The Ghost Train (1995), Fireflies (2009), and Goat’s Milk (2015). He was the editor of The Honest Ulsterman for 20 years, which was known for providing a platform for emerging Northern Irish poets and creating a safe harbor for writers during the height of the Troubles. In 2002, he was awarded O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the University of St. Thomas at St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1976 until his retirement in 2010, he was the Head of English at Royal Belfast Academical Institution.



Thursday, October 13

Kiese Laymon

Benton Museum, 4:30 pm

Co-sponsored with the Africana Studies Institute, American Studies, the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, the Associate Dean’s Fund, the Creative Writing Program, the English Department, the Hartford Campus, the History Department, and the UConn Humanities Institute


Kiese Laymon was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. He earned his MFA from Indiana University. He is the author of a novel Long Division (2013) and a book of essays How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America (2013). He has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, LitHub, The Guardian, The Best American Series, Ebony and Guernica. He is currently Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi.



Thursday, October 20

Amber Dermont/Aetna Writer-in-Residence

UConn Bookstore, Storrs Center, 6:00 pm

Co-sponsored with the Aetna Chair of Writing and the UConn Bookstore


Amber Dermont is the author of the novel, The Starboard Sea (2012), and the short story collection, Damage Control (2014). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Dermont received her PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. Her short fiction has appeared in TriQuarterly, Tin House, Zoetrope: All-Story, and in the anthologies Best New American Voices, Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Worst Years of Your Life, and Home of the Brave. A recipient of fellowships from InPrint, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently serves as an Associate Professor of English and creative writing at Rice University in Houston, Texas.



Wednesday, November 2

Heather Webb/Creative Sustenance

UConn Bookstore, Storrs Center, 6:00 pm

***This event is a benefit for the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic. Audience members are invited to make a donation after the reading.***

Co-sponsored with the UConn Bookstore


Heather Webb is the author of two historical fiction novels Becoming Josephine (2013) and Rodin’s Lover (2015).  As a former military brat, she naturally grew up obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before channeling these passions into fiction. When not writing, she flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.



Tuesday, November 29

Long River Reading Series

UConn Bookstore, Storrs Center, 6:00 pm

Co-sponsored with the UConn Bookstore


Come on down for our ever-popular reading series showcasing an open mic and featured readers! Bring a poem, short prose piece, or music to share at the open mic; enjoy coffee, tea, and snacks with other members of the UConn Creative Writing community. Everyone is welcome.

Featured Readers:

Peter Constantine is a literary translator and editor, and the director of the Literary Translation Program at the University of Connecticut. His recent translations, published by Random House (Modern Library), include The Essential Writings of Rousseau, The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, and works by Tolstoy, Gogol, and Voltaire.  His translation of the complete works of Isaac Babel received the Koret Jewish Literature Award and a National Jewish Book Award citation.  He co-edited A Century of Greek Poetry: 1900-2000, and the anthology The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present, which W.W. Norton published in 2010.  A Guggenheim Fellow, he was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann, and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov. Peter Constantine has been a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library and a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Brian Sneeden’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, Ninth Letter, Quarterly West, Southern Humanities Review, TriQuarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. Translations of his poems have appeared in international magazines in both Greek and Serbian. He received his MFA from the University of Virginia, where he held a Poe/Faulkner Fellowship in creative writing and served as poetry editor of Meridian.

Jordan Holmes got their start with a Seattle-based theatre program called Queer Teen Ensemble Theatre in which they collaborated with other LGBT youth to write, produce, and act in four original plays over a period of years. They are now a senior at UConn, where they are studying English with a concentration in creative writing. They have yet to be published, though they are currently working on an urban fantasy novel and often perform spoken word at poetry slams and open mics held by the student organization Poetic Release.