Writers At Newark Reading Series

The Rutgers University - Newark MFA Creative Writing Program is interested in the real world experience our students bring to the classroom, as well as to creative exchange beyond the university campus. Our most visible bridge to the University and to Newark is The Writers at Newark Reading Series, which brings nationally prominent writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction to campus. The Reading Series provides the opportunity for a diverse audience of students, faculty, staff and the public to hear and interact with these writers in an intimate and dynamic setting. It is also the centerpiece for our community outreach programs, such as our Writers at Newark Mentors Program, where the Rutgers University - Newark Chancellor's Office and the MFA Program partners with local Newark high schools. For more information on our community outreach, please contact us at (973) 353-1107 or at rnmfa@newark.rutgers.edu

Click here for the 2015-2016 series poster.


FALL 2015

September 29, 2015 *(takes place in Robeson Dance Theater, 3rd Floor)
Suki Kim & Rachel Eliza Griffiths


Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai is an author of two award-winning novels, Hullbaloo in the Guava Orchard, which won the Betty Trask Award (UK Society of Authors, and The Inheritance of Loss, which won the 2006 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. She is the daughter of the noted author Anita Desai; Kiran Desai was born in New Delhi, India. She left India at fourteen for England, and then moved to the United States, where she studied creative writing at Bennington College, Hollins University, and Columbia University. She is the recipient of Guggenheim and Berlin Prize Fellowships.


Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet, visual artist and author of 4 books, Miracle Arrhythmia, The Requited Distance, Mule & Pear, and Lighting the Shadow.  She is the recipient of fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, Millay Colony, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Vermont Studio Center.  Her visual and literary work has appeared widely.  Griffiths is the creator and director of P.O.P (Poets on Poetry), a video series of contemporary poets featured by the Academy of American Poets.  Her third collection of poetry, Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose), was selected for the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.


October 13, 2015
Vijay Seshadri & Kiran Desai

Vijay Seshadri

Vijay Seshadri is the author of three collections of poetry, including Wild Kingdom: Poems, The Long Meadow, winner of the James Laughlin Award, and 3 Sections, which was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The Pulitzer Prize committee praised 3 Sections as: “a compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless.” His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in AGNI, the American Scholar, Antaeus, Bomb, Boulevard, Lumina, the Nation, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, Threepenny Review, Verse, Western Humanities Review, Yale Review, the Times Book Review, the Philadelphia Enquirer, Bomb, San Diego Reader, and TriQuarterly, and in many anthologies, including Under 35: The New Generation of American Poets, Contours of the Heart, Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times, and Best American Poetry.


Suki Kim

Suki Kim is the author of two critically acclaimed books, including the award-winning novel, The Interpreter, and an investigative nonfiction memoir, Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite. A New York Times bestseller in its 6th printing since publication, her memoir is about the author’s time living undercover in Pyongyang in 2011 during Kim Jong Il's final six months, teaching the future leaders of North Korea in a walled compound guarded by military. Thus far the book has received praise from New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Slate, Foreign Policy, Boston Globe and many others; interview coverage included features on NPR Morning Edition and discussions with Christiane Amanpour on CNN. Suki Kim is the recipient of Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Open Society Fellowships.


November 10, 2015
Ron Rash & Maurice Manning

Ron Rash

Ron Rash is the author of the many books, including New York Times bestselling novels, The Cove, and Serena (a finalist for the PEN/FaulknerAward) in addition to four other prizewinning novels, Above The Waterfall, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Something Rich and Strange, Nothing Gold Can Stay, Burning Bright, which won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. His Something Rich And Strange, Selected Stories, appeared in 2013. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches and holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University.


Maurice Manning

Maurice Manning was born and raised in Kentucky, and is author of 5 books. Maurice Manning’s first book of poems, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions (2001) was chosen by poet and judge W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His subsequent books include A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Lone Hunter, Back Woodsman, &c. (2004), Bucolics (2007), The Common Man (2010), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and The Gone and the Going Away (2013).  Manning has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has taught at DePauw University and Indiana University, and is on faculty in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College and the Sewanee Writing Conference.





February 2, 2016
Natalie Diaz & Saeed Jones

Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz, a member of the Mohave and Pima Indian tribes, was born in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, and attended Old Dominion University on a full athletic scholarship. She played professional basketball in Austria, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and Sweden before returning to ODU for her MFA. She is the author of the poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012). Her honors and awards include the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship.


Saeed Jones

Saeed Jones, a 2010 graduate of the Rutgers University-Newark MFA Program, is the editor of BuzzFeed LGBT and a Pushcart Prizewinning poet. His debut poetry collection, Prelude to Bruise, described by Publishers Weekly as “a dark night of the soul presented as the finest of evening gowns,” was a 2015 National Book Critic’s Circle Finalist in poetry and won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. NPR says his work is both “beautiful and unsparing.” His work has appeared in publications like Guernica, The Rumpus, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Blackbird among others. Saeed is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and Queer / Art / Mentors.



March 8, 2016
Nickole Brown & Elizabeth McCracken

Nickole Brown

Nickole Brown grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and Deerfield Beach, Florida. Her books include Fanny Says, a collection of poems forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2015; her debut, Sister, a novel-in-poems published by Red Hen Press in 2007; and an anthology, Air Fare, that she co-edited with Judith Taylor. She graduated from The Vermont College of Fine Arts, studied literature at Oxford University as an English Speaking Union Scholar, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council. She worked at the independent, literary press, Sarabande Books, for ten years, and she was the National Publicity Consultant for Arktoi Books and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. She has taught creative writing at the University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, and at the low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Murray State. Currently, she is the Editor for the Marie Alexander Series in Prose Poetry at White Pine Press and is on faculty every summer at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference. She is an Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock. nickolebrown.com


Elizabeth McCracken

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of five books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry (stories), two novels, The Giant’s House and Niagara Falls All Over Again, and the memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. Her most recent book, Thunderstruck & Other Stories, won The Story Prize in 2015.  She’s received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Liguria Study Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.  She has taught creative writing at Western Michigan University, the University of Oregon, the University of Houston, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  She holds the James A. Michener Chair in Fiction at the University of Texas, Austin.



April 14, 2016 (Thursday)
Claudia Rankine & Sarah Schulman

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; Plot; The End of the Alphabet, and Nothing in Nature is Private. Citizen: An American Lyric, the first book ever to be named a NBCC finalist in both the poetry and criticism categories, won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. In 2014 she was a National Book Award Finalist, and received Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize. Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a NY Times bestseller in the nonfiction category. Rankine co-edited the anthologies The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind and American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language. Her work is included in several anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry.


Sarah Schulman

Sarah Schulman, a novelist, historian, playwright, and gay rights activist, is the author of numerous novels, including The Sophie Horowitz Story, Girls, Visions and Everything, After Dolores (winner of the American Library Association Stonewall Book Award) People In Trouble, Empathy, Rat Bohemia, Shimmer, The Mere Future and The Child.  Her journalism includes My American History: Lesbian and Gay Life During the Reagan/Bush Years and Stagestruck: Theater, AIDS, and the Marketing of Gay America (winner of the Stonewall Award),The Gentrification of the Mind:Witness to a Lost Imagination, Israel/Palestine and the Queer International. Her new novel, The Cosmopolitans, set in Greenwich Village in 1958, is forthcoming from Feminist Press in 2016.  She is the recipient of Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, and ten Lambda literary nominations. Originator with Jim Hubbard of the ACT UP Oral History Project, she co-produced United In Anger: a History of ACT UP. Fifteen of her plays have been produced, including Carson McCullers, Made In Korea, and Manic Flight Reaction.  Schulman Is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at College of Staten Island and a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities.