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Writers Week Features Award-Winning Poets and Novelists

Writers Week Features Award-Winning Poets and Novelists

The 35th annual celebration of writers and writing returns to UC Riverside Feb. 7-10, 2012.

(November 15, 2011)

Diane WakoskiEnlarge

Diane Wakoski

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside will celebrate a host of prize-winning poets and novelists – among them distinguished UCR creative writing faculty and alumni – when the 35th annual Writers Week Conference begins on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.

Participating writers will read selections from their works, answer audience questions and sign books after their presentations. Award-winning poet Diane Wakoski will close the four-day event as the keynote reader on Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m.

All events will be held on the UC Riverside campus in Interdisciplinary Building Room 1128 and will begin at 1 p.m. each day. All sessions are free and open to the public. Parking costs $6 per day.

Two poetry workshops on Feb. 10 will enable undergraduate and graduate students to submit their work for critique. The public may attend if seating is available, but interested participants must contact Writers Week organizer Christopher Buckley by Jan. 11 at

Writers Week is the longest-running, free literary event in California and regularly attracts seasoned authors and those just beginning their careers.

“While there are different political and artistic factions in poetry, as in all human endeavors, all poets this year will be found to be very accessible to the audience,” said Buckley, professor of creative writing. “They examine the immediate condition of their lives in realistic and human terms. These are not poets of abstraction or language theory. They are genuinely friendly people who are happy to respond to questions from the audience.”

While the emphasis this year is on poetry, the first day of the program features fiction and nonfiction faculty from the UCR Department of Creative Writing, among them award-winning novelist Susan Straight.

Writers Week benefits not only the arts community in the Inland region, but also humanities studies on campus by putting UCR students in contact with nationally known writers from across the country, Buckley said.

UC Riverside has the only undergraduate creative writing program in the University of California and offers a master of fine arts in creative writing and writing for the performing arts.

The Writers Week schedule is:

Tuesday, Feb. 7 – Novelist Charmaine Craig, author of “The Good Men” and visiting assistant professor; novelist Ben Ehreneich, author of “Ether” and “The Suitors,” and winner of the 2011 National Magazine Award for feature writing; Michael Jaime-Beccera, associate professor of creative writing at UCR and author of “Every Night is Ladies’ Night” and “This Time Tomorrow,” whose work has won the International Latino Book Award and California Book Award; and novelist Susan Straight (Stephen Minot Memorial Reading), distinguished professor of creative writing at UCR and winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Story, finalist for the 2001 National Book Award, and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her most recent novel, “Take One Candle Light a Room,” was named one of the best novels of 2010 by the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Kirkus.

Wednesday, Feb. 8 – Author of the Maisie Dobbs mystery series Jacqueline Winspear, winner of the Agatha Award for Best Novel, the Sue Feder Award for Best Historical Mystery and the Bruce Alexander Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery; Pushcart Prize winner B.H. Fairchild, author of “The Art of the Lathe” and “Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest,” whose work also has won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bobbitt Award from the Library of Congress for the most distinguished book of poems published in the previous two years; poet Bonnie Bolling (Distinguished Alumni Reading), author of “In the Kingdom of the Sons,” winner of the 2011 Liam Rector Poetry Prize; and Pushcart Prize winner Frank Gaspar, author of “Leaving Pico” and “Stealing Fatima,” and winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature, a California Arts Council Fellowship in poetry, and the California Book Award for First Fiction.

Thursday, Feb. 9 – Poet Christine Kitano (Distinguished Alumni Reading), author of “Birds of Paradise”; poet Derek McKown, author of “Arrows in Hand”; poet Mark Jarman, author of “Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems,” “The Secret of Poetry” and “Body and Soul: Essays on Poetry,” and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Poets’ Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry; and poet Garrett Hongo, author of three books of poetry, three anthologies and “Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai’i.” Hongo has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA grants and the Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Friday, Feb. 10 – Poetry workshops by Christine Kitano and Gary Young. Readings by poet Alexander Long, a seven-time nominee for a Pushcart Prize and author of “Still Life,” which won the White Pine Press Poetry Prize for 2011, and the chapbook “Still Life,” which won the 2010 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition; poet Polly Bee, author of “Scattershot”; poet and artist Gary Young, the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and author of several collections of poetry, among them James D. Phelan Award-winner “The Dream of a Moral Life”; and Diane Wakoski, whose poetry has appeared in more than 20 collections and many slim volumes of poetry. Her selected poems, “Emerald Ice,” won the William Carlos Williams Prize from the Poetry Society of America in 1989.

Writers Week is sponsored by the UC Riverside Department of Creative Writing and Dean’s Office of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, with support from Poets & Writers Inc. through a grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

For more information, contact Writers Week director Christopher Buckley at or Benicia Jacob at (951) 827-5424; or go online to

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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