Kalamazoo Valley's 2018-19 Visiting Writer series Begins on October 16 with Jamaal May


An impressive list of authors will speak at Kalamazoo Valley Community College this year during the annual Visiting Writer Series. Award winning poet Jamaal May visits on Tuesday, October 16. All Visiting Writer events are open to the public and take place in the Student Commons Theater, Room 4240, at the Texas Township Campus. Craft talks begin at 10 a.m. and readings are held at 2:15 p.m.

May is the author of Hum (Alice James Books, 2013) and The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books, 2016). His first collection received a Lannan Foundation Grant, American Library Association’s Notable Book Award, and was named a finalist for the Tufts Discovery Award and an NAACP Image Award. Other honors include a Spirit of Detroit Award, the Wood Prize from Poetry, an Indiana Review Prize, and fellowships from The Stadler Center, The Kenyon Review, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. May’s poetry explores the tension between opposites to render a sonically rich argument for the interconnectivity of people, worlds, and ideas.

On Tuesday, November 13, authors Thisbe Nissen and Jay Baron Nicorvo will visit campus. Nissen is an associate professor in the Department of English at Western Michigan University. Her husband, Nicorvo, is also an author and has taught at Eckerd College, Emerson College, and Western Michigan University.

Nissen has written two novels, The Good People of New York (Knopf, 2001) and Osprey Island (Knopf, 2004), and a story collection, Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night (University of Iowa Press, 1999, Winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award). She is also the co-author with Erin Ergenbright of The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook, a collection of stories, recipes and art collages. Her fiction has been published in The Iowa Review, The American Scholar, Story, Seventeen, The Virginia Quarterly Review, StoryQuarterly, Glimmer Train, NANO Fiction, and Quick Fiction, and anthologized in The Iowa Award: The Best Stories 1991-2000 and Best American Mystery Stories 2008. Her nonfiction has appeared in Vogue, Glamour, Preservation and The Believer, and is featured in several essay anthologies.

Nicorvo is the author of a novel, The Standard Grand (St. Martin's Press), picked for IndieBound's Indie Next List, Library Journal's Spring 2017 Debut Novels Great First Acts, and named a best book of the year by The Brooklyn Rail. He's published a poetry collection, Deadbeat (Four Way Books), and his nonfiction, twice named "Notable" in Best American Essays, can be found in Salon, The Baffler, The Iowa Review, and The Believer.

His writing has been featured on NPR and PBS NewsHour. He's served as an editor at PEN America, the literary magazine of the PEN American Center, and at Ploughshares. He spent years as membership director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses.

Poet, essay and nonfiction writer Aimee Nezhukumatathil visits on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. During the 2016-17 academic year, Nezhukumatathil was the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at The University of Mississippi. She is now professor of English and teaches environmental literature and poetry writing in the MFA program of the University of Mississippi.

Kalamazoo native Bonnie Jo Campbell is the last speaker in this year’s series. She’ll visit Kalamazoo Valley on Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 20 and students across campus will read Campbell’s book Once Upon a River.

Campbell is the author of the National Bestselling novel Once Upon a River (Norton, 2011), a river odyssey with an unforgettable16-year-old heroine, which the New York Times Book Review calls “an excellent American parable about the consequences of our favorite ideal, freedom.” Her first novel, Q Road, delves into the lives of a rural community where development pressures are bringing unwelcome change in the character of the land.

Campbell’s critically-acclaimed short fiction collection American Salvage (Wayne State University Press, 2009) was finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. The collection consists of 14 lush and rowdy stories of folks who are struggling to make sense of the twenty-first century.

Campbell’s collection Women and Other Animals, won the AWP prize for short fiction, and details the lives of extraordinary females in rural and small town Michigan. Her story “The Tattoo” is included in the anthology Shadow Snow, a tribute to Ray Bradbury. Her story “The Smallest Man in the World” was awarded a Pushcart Prize and her story “The Inventor, 1972” was awarded the 2009 Eudora Welty Prize from Southern Review. She is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. Her newest book of stories, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, was published by Norton in the fall of 2015.

Kalamazoo Valley’s Visiting Writer series is organized by instructor Julie Stotz-Ghosh and offers students the opportunity to talk with professional writers and listen to their work. For more information, contact Julie Stotz-Ghosh at jstotzghosh@kvcc.edu.

This article was posted on 10/10/2018.