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Diverse Group of Writers at UCR for 25th Annual Writers Week

Diverse Group of Writers at UCR for 25th Annual Writers Week

(January 30, 2002)

Robert Pinsky, the nation's Poet Laureate for three years, will be the featured speaker at the 25th Annual Writers Week at the University of California, Riverside from Tuesday, Feb. 5 through Saturday, Feb. 9.

He is one of a select group of 15 writers, including India's Amitav Ghosh and Texan Dagoberto Gilb, who will read their work to students and to the public at California's longest-running free literary event.

New this year is the 'Chicano Writers Symposium' starting at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 in Humanities 1500. Poets Rigoberto Gonzalez, Marisela Norte and novelist Yxta Maya Murray will read from their works followed by a reception. At 7 p.m. UCR Distinguished Professor Gary Soto will moderate a panel discussion with the guest writers. At 8 p.m., Gilb, the recipient of a PEN/Hemingway Award, will read from his work.

Other writers featured during the week include poets Joy Manesiotis, Peggy Shumaker and Robin Becker; fiction author FX Toole; journalist and author Denise Hamilton; science fiction author Howard Hendrix; novelists Mark Salzman and Karen Tei Yamashita; and poet and novelist Bino A. Realuyo.

All events are free and open to the public. Most events are on the UCR campus, although on Saturday, Feb. 9, there will be an afternoon of readings at the Riverside Public Library.

'This is a rare opportunity to talk with a very diverse group of authors,' said Susan Straight, an award-winning novelist and Professor of Creative Writing who along with Professor Maurya Simon is organizing this year's event. 'Nowhere else are you going to find 15 writers of this caliber and everything is completely free.'

She said her creative writing students have made some great connections at Writers Week, as has she. 'When I first graduated from the University of Massachusetts. I was teaching full time and trying to write and I didn't know any writers. I came to every Writers Week event here at UCR. I met Joyce Carol Oates at Writers Week and she became a great mentor.'

Writers Week is funded by the Department of Creative Writing at UCR, the California Arts Council, Riverside Arts Foundation, Poets and Writers, Inc., the Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at UCR as well as the departments of English, Ethnic Studies and the Center for Ideas and Society

Past visitors include: Allen Ginsberg, N. Scott Momaday, Joyce Carol Oates, Frank Chin, Ken Kesey, Robert Coover, Robert Stone, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cornelius Eady, George Garrett and Carol Muske.

Maps and directions to Writers Week events on campus are available at UCR information kiosks, or on the campus web site Campus parking costs $6 per day or $3 after 4 p.m.

Recorded information is available at (909) 782-2919, while the schedule for Writers Week is posted on the web at ttp://

Schedule of Writers Week Events


2 p.m. JOY MANESIOTIS is the author of They Sing to Her Bones, a collection of poems, which won the New Issues Poetry Prize in 1999. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including The American Poetry Review, Threepenny Review, The Antioch Review, and Colorado Review. She has been awarded a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts and has been honored with an award from Prairie Schooner magazine. Manesiotis is an Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at the University of Redlands.

3 p.m. PEGGY SHUMAKER has published four volumes of poetry: Wings Moist from the Other World, Braided River, The Circle of Totems, and Esperanza's Hair, and her essays have appeared in several anthologies. Her fifth volume, Underground Rivers, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Shumaker is the recipient of a NEA poetry fellowship, and has served as President of the Associated Writing Programs. She has done extensive community work with prison inmates, gifted students, gang members, the elderly, hearing impaired adults, Native American communities, teachers, and librarians. Shumaker is a Professor Emeriti in the MFA Program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

8 p.m. AMITAV GHOSH is one of the most widely known Indians writing in English oday. His books include: The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In an Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, and most recently, The Glass Palace. His essays appear regularly in The New Yorker magazine, and he has received numerous awards including France's Prix Medici Estranger and India's Sahitya Akademi Award. Ghosh presently serves as Distinguished Professor in Comparative Literature at Queens College.


2 p.m. FX TOOLE has spent a life in performance as an actor, bullfighter, and boxer, as well as a trainer and licensed cut man in the world of professional boxing. His debut collection of stories, Rope Burns, was chosen as a notable book of the year both by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and was praised by James Ellroy as 'the best boxing short fiction ever written.' Toole lives in southern California.

3:30 p.m. DENISE HAMILTON is an award-winning reporter and novelist whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and Der Spiegel. During ten years on staff at the Los Angeles Times, she covered the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the rise of Asian communities in LA suburbs. This last topic led to her best selling first novel, The Jasmine Trade, which explores Asian families in the San Gabriel Valley. Hamilton lives in a Los Angeles suburb and is at work on a sequel.

5 p.m. HOWARD HENDRIX is the author of four novels - Lightpaths, Standing Wave, Better Angels, and Empty Cities of the Full Moon - as well as a short fiction collection, Mobius Highway, and two non-fiction works. Hendrix received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from UCR, and he currently teaches in the English Department at California State University, Fresno.

8:15 p.m. MARK SALZMAN is the author of two memoirs, Iron & Silk, an account of his two years living and teaching in China, and Lost in Place. His three novels include The Laughing Sutra, The Soloist, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and most recently, Lying Awake, a novel which has earned universal praise from critics. Salzman lives in Los Angeles with his daughter and wife, filmmaker Jessica Yu.


Chicano Writers Symposium

2 p.m. RIGOBERTO GONZÁLEZ is a graduate of UCR and the son and grandson of migrant farm workers from Michoacan, Mexico. His first collection of poems, So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water until it Breaks, was published as a National Poetry Series Award Winner, and his second collection, Other Fugitives and Other Strangers, was a finalist for the 1999 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. His novel, Crossing Vines, is forthcoming, as are an essay collection, Butterfly Boy, and a children's book, Soledad Sigh-Sighs. Gonzalez is the recipient of a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship.

3:30 p.m. MARISELA NORTE is one of southern California's most celebrated Latina poets, and an exciting performer whose words are everywhere from Metro Art, a public art project in Los Angeles, to albums and radio performances, from plays and theaters to numerous anthologies, including The Geography of Home: California's Poetry of Place. Norte recently read at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and lives in Los Angeles.

5 p.m. YXTA MAYA MURRAY is the author of two widely-acclaimed novels set in East Los Angeles and Echo Park: Locas, Grove Press, and What It Takes to Get to Vegas, Grove Press. Murray is a Professor of Law at Loyola University and lives in southern California.



8 p.m. DAGOBERTO GILB is the author of two story collections, Woodcuts of Women and The Magic of Blood, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, as well as a novel, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuna. Gilb spent sixteen years as a construction worker and high-rise carpenter. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, DoubleTake, and The Nation, among other prominent magazines. Gilb lives in Austin, Texas.


2 p.m. BINO A. REALUYO was born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and studied International Relations in the U.S. and South America. His acclaimed debut novel, The Umbrella Country, was included in Booklist Magazine's Top Ten First Novels of 1999. He is the recipient of the 1998 Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and has published his poetry in The Kenyon Review, The Nation, New Letters, and Manoa. Realuyo works in the field of adult literacy and lives in Manhattan.

3:30 p.m. ROBIN BECKER is the author of five volumes of poetry, including All-American Girl, which won the 1996 Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian poetry, and her most recent collection, The Horse Fair. She has earned numerous awards, including the 1997 Virginia Faulkner Prize for Excellence in Writing from Prairie Schooner magazine, and she has received fellowships from The Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Becker is an Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, and she serves as Poetry Editor for the Women's Review of Books.

8 p.m. ROBERT PINSKY (University Lecture Hall, Surge Bldg.) served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-2000. He is the author of six collections of poetry: Sadness and Happiness, An Explanation of America, History of My Heart, The Want Bone, The Figured Wheel, and Jersey Rain. He has also published four books of criticism and essays on poetry, as well as two distinguished works of translation. Pinsky's numerous honors and awards include the Saxifrage Prize, the William Carlos Williams Prize and the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Lenore Marshall Award, Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, and the Ambassador Award of the English Speaking Union. Pinsky teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Boston University


(Riverside Public Library: 3581 Mission Avenue, Riverside)



KAREN TEI YAMASHITA is an American Book Award winning novelist who has published four nationally-acclaimed books: Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic of Orange, and her most recent, Circle K Cycles. Reviewers have said that Yamashita, who writes of Japanese emigrants in Brazil and southern California teens in the future, 'is so tuned into now she can see tomorrow.' Yamashita is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


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