News Details

June 02, 2016

Master of Fine Arts Program Hosts Visiting Writers Series

West Virginia Wesleyan College's Master in Fine Arts (MFA) will host a Visiting Writers Series during the program's Summer 2016 Residency. These award-winning visiting writers will be reading from their original work, and copies of their books will be available for sale. All readings will be held on Wesleyan's campus in the Virginia Thomas Law Center for Performing Arts (PAC) or the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library.

On July 2, Nikky Finney, author of four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011, winner of the National Book Award); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985), will speak at 7 p.m. in the PAC. The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets.

Pinckney Benedict will read on July 3, at 7 p.m. in the PAC. A West Virginia native, he has published four volumes of fiction, the most recent of which is Miracle Boy and Other Stories. His work has been published in Esquire, the O. Henry Award series, the Pushcart Prize series, the Best New Stories from the South series, and The Oxford Book of the American Short Story.

Vincent Trimboli, a native of Elkins, WV, & Mesha Maren, author of a new novel Sugar Run debuting from Algonquin Books in 2017, will present their readings on July 5, 3:15 p.m., in the Upshur Reading Room (Library). Trimboli is a 2007 alumnus and earned his MFA in 2013 from Wesleyan. His poetry chapbook Condominium Morte was released with Ghost City Press in April 2016. Trimboli teaches Writing and Literature at Davis & Elkins College and is the Appalachian Arts Editor for HeartWood Literary Magazine

Maren's short stories and essays appear in Tin House, Oxford American, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, and Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. 

On July 6, Sarah Einstein and Mary Carroll-Hackett will be the featured speakers in the Upshur Reading Room in the library at 7 p.m. Einstein is the author of Mot: A Memoir and numerous essays and short stories. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Carroll-Hackett is the author of six titles: The Real Politics of Lipstick (Slipstream Press 2010), Animal Soul (Kattywompus Press 2013), If We Could Know Our Bones (A-Minor Press 2014), The Night I Heard Everything (FutureCycle Press 2015), Trailer Park Oracle (Kelsey Books 2016), and most recently, A Little Blood, A Little Rain (FutureCycle Press 2016). She teaches Creative Writing at Longwood University in Virginia.  

On July 7 at 7 p.m., Jacinda Townsend and Kim Dana Kupperman will read in the Upshur Reading Room. Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey (Norton 2014), which is set in 1950s Eastern Kentucky and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction, and was the 2015 Honor Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She teaches in the Creative Writing program at University of California, Davis.

Kupperman is the author of The Last of Her (forthcoming 2016) and I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence (2010). She is the lead editor of You: An Anthology of Essays Devoted to the Second Person (2013) and publisher of Essaying the Essay (2014). She is the founder of Welcome Table Press.

These events are free and open to the public. This series is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council and is co-sponsored by the West Virginia Governor's School for the Arts. 


For more information about the readings or about Wesleyan's creative writing program, visit the MFA website at or contact MFA Director Jessie van Eerden at or 304-473-8329.

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