Texas Tech University

Reading Series

2019-20 TTU Creative Writing Program Reading Series

All readings in English Auditorium 001 at 7:30pm unless otherwise noted

Fall 2019 Semester Reading Series

September 5

Marcus Burke

Marcus Burke Photopgrah

Marcus Burke grew up in Milton, Massachusetts. Burke graduated from Susquehanna University where he played four years of Varsity basketball. Burke went on to receive his MFA at the Iowa Writer's Workshop where he was awarded a Maytag Fellowship, an Iowa Arts Fellowship, and upon graduation, a competitive grant in honor of James Alan McPherson from the University of Iowa MacArthur Foundation Fund. Burke's debut novel, TEAM SEVEN, was published in 2014 by Doubleday Books. TEAM SEVEN received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, was long-listed for the 2015 PEN Open Book Award, and was one of the "10 Titles to Pick Up Now," in O, The Oprah Magazine. Burke was featured in The NY Times as part of a cohort of thirty two, "Black Make Authors of our Time." Burke is an assistant professor at Texas Tech University and is also on faculty at the Mountainview low-res MFA program. Burke is currently at work on his next novel.

Sara Ryan
Sara Ryan Headshot

Sara Ryan is the author of the chapbooks Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned (Porkbelly Press) and Excellent Evidence of Human Activity (The Cupboard Pamphlet). She was the winner of the 2018 Grist Pro Forma Contest and the Cutbank Big Sky, Small Prose Contest. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Booth, Prairie Schooner, Thrush Poetry Journal and others. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Texas Tech University.

Jennifer Buentello
Jennifer Buentello Headshot

Jennifer Buentello is a writer and doctoral student at Texas Tech University, where she currently pursues a PhD in English and serves as managing editor of Iron Horse Literary Review. Her stories, essays, and translations have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Newfound, Los Angeles Review, Texas Review, and elsewhere.

September 19

Nick White

Nick White Headshot

Fiction writer Nick White will be on campus on September 19th. ​Originally from Mississippi, Nick White is the author of the novel How to Survive a Summer (Blue Rider/Penguin, 2017) and the story collection Sweet and Low. He is an Assistant Professor of English at The Ohio State University's MFA Program in Creative Writing. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in a variety of places, including The Kenyon Review, Guernica, Catapult, The Hopkins Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. He is currently at work on a new novel.

October 3

francine j. harris
francine j. harris photo

francine j. harris is the author of play dead, winner of the Lambda Literary and Audre Lorde Awards and finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her third collection, Here is the Sweet Hand, is forthcoming on Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2020. Originally from Detroit, she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cave Canem, and MacDowell Colony. She was the 2018/2019 Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library and has joined the faculty at University of Houston as Associate Professor of English.

October 7 (this event will be in ENGL 201 at 7:30 pm)

Rebecca Gayle Howell

Rebecca Gayle Howell Headshot

Rebecca Gayle Howell is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow. Her most recent book is American Purgatory, selected by Don Share for Great Britain's 2016 Sexton Prize and named a must-read collection by Poetry London, The Millions, and the Courier-Journal. She is also the author of Render / An Apocalypse, which received wide acclaim, most notably by David L. Ulin for the Los Angeles Times who called it "remarkable." Howell's debut was as the translator of Amal al-Jubouri's Hagar Before the Occupation / Hagar After the Occupation, shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award and selected by Library Journal as a best book of 2011. Among her other honors are fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a Pushcart Prize. From 2017-2019 she served as the James Still Writer-in-Residence at Hindman Settlement School, where she founded Fireside Industries, an imprint of University Press of Kentucky charged with advancing Appalachian literature. Howell lives in Lexington where she is on faculty at the University of Kentucky's Lewis Honors College. Since 2014, she has served as Poetry Editor for Oxford American.


October 24

Jaquira Díaz

Jaquira Diaz photo

Jaquira Díaz is the author of ORDINARY GIRLS: A memoir (a Summer/Fall 2019 Indies Introduce Selection), forthcoming from Algonquin Books. She's the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, and fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Kenyon Review, and The MacDowell Colony. Her work appears in The Best American Essays, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The FADER, Longreads, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and others. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's MFA Program in Creative Writing and is a Consulting Editor at the Kenyon Review.

October 30 (SUB Allen Theater at 7pm)

David Sedaris (photo not available)

November 14 (Lanier Auditorium, TTU School of Law at 7:30pm)

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of four books: his first two collections of poetry, Bastards of the Reagan Era and Shahid Reads His Own Palm; the 2010 NAACP Image Award-winning memoir, A Question of Freedom; and his latest collection of poetry, Felon. Betts earned a J.D. from the Yale Law School, an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College, and a B.A. from the University of Maryland. His recent awards include a 2018 PEN America Fellowship for Social Justice Writing, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2019 NEA in Poetry.

November 21

Curtis Bauer

Curtis Bauer Photo

Curtis Bauer is the author of three poetry collections, most recently American Selfie (Barrow Street Press, 2019). He is also a translator of poetry and prose from the Spanish; his publications include the full-length poetry collections Image of Absence, by Jeannette L. Clariond (The Word Works Press, 2018), From Behind What Landscape, by Luis Muñoz (Vaso Roto Editions, 2015) and Eros Is More, by Juan Antonio González Iglesias (Alice James Books, 2014). He is the publisher and editor of QAvenue Press Chapbooks and the Translations Editor for The Common. He is the Director of the Creative Writing Program and teaches Comparative Literature at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Spring 2020 Semester Reading Series

February 12 (Lanier Auditorium, TTU School of Law at 7:30pm)

David R. Dow

David R. Dow

David R. Dow is the Cullen Professor at the University of Houston Law Center and the Rorschach Visiting Professor of History at Rice University. A graduate of Rice and Yale, Dow's areas of expertise include constitutional law and theory, contract law, and death penalty law. Working with students in his death penalty clinic, Dow has represented more than one hundred death-row inmates during their state and federal appeals. He is also the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network. The author of seven books and numerous scholarly articles, Dow's work also regularly appears in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, and The Daily Beast. Dow's critically acclaimed memoir, The Autobiography of an Execution, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award and the winner of the 2010 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for nonfiction. His second memoir, Things I've Learned From Dying, was named by NPR as one of the best books of 2014. His most recent book, a novel entitled Confessions of an Innocent Man, was published by Dutton in 2019.

February 20th

Creative Writing Faculty and Graduate Student Reading

William Wenthe, Jacob Hall, Meghan Giles, and Katie Cortese

Dr. William Wenthe

Dr. William Wenthe headshot

William Wenthe's fourth book of poems, God's Foolishness, was published by LSU Press in April 2016.  He has received poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Texas Institute of Letters, and two Pushcart Prizes.  His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, TriQuarterly, Ninth Letter, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Open City, Tin House; and other journals and anthologies.  Critical essays on the craft of poetry have appeared in The Yale Review, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review. He teaches at Texas Tech University.

Jacob Hall

Jacob Hall headshot

Jacob M. Hall is a PhD student at Texas Tech University, where he studies creative writing. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Forge Literary Magazine, After the Pause, Columbia College Literary Review, and elsewhere. He lives in West Texas, though he calls Decatur, IL home.

Meghan Giles

Meghan Giles headshot

Meghan E. Giles is pursuing a PhD at Texas Tech University, where she serves as a Managing Editor for Iron Horse Literary Review. Her poetry has appeared in Cimarron Review, Hayden's Ferry Review Online, South Dakota Review, Measure, and elsewhere.

Dr. Katie Cortese

Dr. Katie Cortese headshot

Katie Cortese is the author of Girl Power and Other Short-Short Stories (ELJ Editions, 2015) and Make Way for Her and Other Stories (University Press of Kentucky, 2018). Her work has earned prizes from Narrative Magazine, River Styx, Silk Road, and elsewhere, and has recently appeared in journals such as Gargoyle, GRAVEL, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, and Blackbird. She serves as both the faculty advisor for Harbinger Journal and as Fiction Editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.

March 26th

Aron Aji

Aron Aji headshot

Aron Aji is the Director of MFA in Literary Translation, at the University of Iowa. A native of Turkey, he has translated works by Bilge Karasu, Murathan Mungan, Elif Shafak, LatifeTekin, and other Turkish writers, including three book-length works by Karasu: Death in Troy; The Garden of Departed Cats, (2004 National Translation Award); and A Long Day's Evening, (NEA Literature Fellowship, and short-listed for the 2013 PEN Translation Prize). At Iowa, Aji leads the Translation Workshop, his areas of interest include: retranslation, poetics of  translation, and contemporary Turkish literature. Current president of The American Literary Translators Association, Aji has given workshops and talks nationally and internationally on such topics as translation pedagogy, translation and global humanities.  He was the co-planner of the Coe College Conference on Teaching Translation: Engaged Learning through Translation in World Languages, Humanities, Global and Interdisciplinary Studies. In Summer 2019, Aji was faculty/facilitator at ATISA's Summer School for Faculty on Translation Pedagogy. Aji's current projects include collaboration with David Gramling on translating a volume of Murathan Mungan's poetry, My Heart's East, for which they received an NEA Fellowship.

April 2nd (Human Sciences, Auditorium 169 at 7:30pm)

Alisa Roth

Alisa Roth

Alisa Roth is a print & radio reporter. Her book about mental illness & and the criminal justice system, Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness, is out now from Basic Books. Her work has been broadcast on Marketplace, NPR, and The World; her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and Gastronomica, among other publications. As a 2014-2015 Soros Justice Fellow, Alisa spent a year investigating the growing role of jails and prisons as our de facto mental healthcare system. She has visited the country's three largest psychiatric care providers, Rikers Island in New York City, the Cook County Jail in Chicago, and the Los Angeles County Jail in LA, and her research has included dozens of interviews with prisoners and their families, psychiatrists, lawyers, wardens, corrections officers and others. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Berlin, and her reporting has been funded by grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Reporting Project, and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

April 9th

Nickolas Butler

 Tom Sleigh

 Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. His first novel was the internationally best-selling and prize-winning Shotgun Lovesongs, which has been optioned for film development and has been translated into ten languages. Beneath the Bonfire, a collection of short stories, followed a year later. In 2017, he published The Hearts of Men which was short-listed for two of France's most prestigious literary prizes even before its American publishing. In 2019, his fourth book, Little Faith was published, and he is already at work on another novel, this one set in the mountains of the American West. Butler is the recipient of many literary prizes and commendations and has published articles, reviews, short stories, and poetry in publications such as: Ploughshares, Narrative, and The New York Times Book Review, to name a few. Prior to publishing Shotgun Lovesongs, Butler worked a long list of jobs including: coffee roaster, liquor store clerk, office manager, hot-dog vendor, author escort, meat-packer, bed-and-breakfast manager, telemarketer, and Burger King maintenance man. He is married and lives with his wife and two children on sixteen acres of land adjacent to a buffalo farm in rural Wisconsin.

April 16th

Tomás Morin

Tomas Morin


Tomás Q. Morín's is the author of Patient Zero. His poetry collection A Larger Country was the winner of the APR/Honickman Prize and runner-up for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award.  He is co-editor with Mari L'Esperance of Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine, and translator of Pablo Neruda's The Heights of Macchu Picchu. His poems have appeared in Slate, Threepenny Review, Boulevard, Poetry, New England Review, and Narrative. He has a memoir forthcoming.

April 22nd

Tom Sleigh

 Tom Sleigh

Tom Sleigh is an American poet, dramatist, essayist and academic who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is Distinguished Professor in the MFA Program at Hunter College. During this last decade, he has worked as a journalist in Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Kenya, Iraq, and Libya. Among Sleigh's numerous awards are the Shelley Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the Anna-Maria Kellen Prize and Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin, a Guggenheim Grant, two National Endowment for the Arts Grants, and the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He has published nine books of poetry, one full-length translation of Euripides' "Herakles," and two books of essays. At least five of his plays have been produced. Tom Sleigh's most recent books are House of Fact, House of Ruin (poems) and The Land Between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees (essays). Widely published and anthologized, his poetry and prose appear in Poetry, The New Yorker, Yale Review, American Poetry Review, The Best of the Best American Poetry, Best American Travel Writing, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Recent events include Seeking Humanity in Unknown Worlds, a Reading with Dahlia Rosenfeld at the Virginia Festival of the Book (March 2018), and Personal Reflections of War: In Words and Music, an event with The American String Quartet and Phil Klay at the Norton Center for the Arts in Danville, Kentucky (February 2018).