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2023-24 Kellogg Writers Series at UIndy Announced

Written by Troi Watts

The Kellogg Writers Series at the University of Indianapolis announced the 2023-24 season, which features local writers, including a member of UIndy’s faculty, and readings from a variety of genres, such as poetry, fiction, literary horror, and more. 

“For the 2023-2024 Kellogg Writers Series season, we have a stunning mix of new voices and rising voices placed alongside one of the best living storytellers at work today,” said Barney Haney, series chair and associate professor of English. 

“Brian Evenson’s fiction is wired to the moon! His literary horror, sci-fi, detective, and weird stories are gravity-defying marvels that make your insides lurch and keep you up all night, flipping pages. Lives will be forever irrevocably changed by this event, make no mistake!

“Our rising voices are two cultural lodestars: José Olivarez and Sarah Layden. Both authors had their second books published this past year. Olivarez’s bilingual poetry collection, Promises of Gold is, in his own words, ‘what happens when you try to write a book of love poems for the homies amid a global pandemic that has laid bare all other pandemics that we’ve been living through our whole lives.’ In other words: it’s so stinking good and genuine that your heart’s going to leap out of your chest. And the characters of brilliant writer and Indianapolis native, Sarah Layden’s short story collection, Imagine Your Life Like This, are the absolute essence of Indiana. Fun facts: Layden was a volleyball star at Lawrence North who went on to play for Syracuse University. She’s also pee-your-pants funny.   

“Then we have our new voices whose books are deeply enriched in our relationships with each other and place. Queer-identifying poet Maggie Graber’s debut collection, Swan Hammer: An Instructor’s Guide to Mirrors, is a force of reflection. And UIndy’s own, the blazingly talented, Rebecca McKanna’s debut crime thriller, Don’t Forget the Girl, is a deeply moving testament to friendship and social justice. How excited are we to celebrate her extraordinary novel? You just come out and see!

“It’s another banner year for the Kellogg Writers Series! I can’t wait to see you all there.” 

This year’s series will feature readings from the following writers and works:

Brian Evenson

Brian Evenson

September 21, 2023 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (ET) in UIndy Hall A in Schwitzer Student Center

Brian Evenson is the author of over a dozen works of fiction. He has received three O. Henry Prizes for his fiction. His most recent book, Song for the Unraveling of the World, won a World Fantasy Award and a Shirley Jackson Award and was a finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction and the Balcones Fiction Prize. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches at CalArts.

photo credit: Kristen Tracy

Sarah Layden

Sarah Layden

October 11, 2023 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (ET) in UIndy Hall A in Schwitzer Student Center

Sarah Layden is the author of Imagine Your Life Like This (University of Wisconsin Press, 2023), The Story I Tell Myself About Myself, winner of the 2017 Sonder Press Chapbook Competition, and Trip Through Your Wires (Engine Books, 2015), a novel. She is co-author with Bryan Furuness of The Invisible Art of Literary Editing. Her short fiction can be found in Boston Review, Stone Canoe, Blackbird, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the anthologies Best Microfiction 2020, Welcome to the Neighborhood, and Sudden Flash Youth, and elsewhere. Her recent nonfiction work has appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek, Poets & Writers, Salon, River Teeth, The Millions, The Humanist, and Indianapolis Monthly. She earned a B.S. in journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and an MFA in fiction writing from Purdue University. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

photo credit: Eric Learned

Rebecca McKanna

Rebecca McKanna

November 15, 2023 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (ET) in UIndy Hall A in Schwitzer Student Center

Rebecca McKanna was born and raised in Iowa. Her debut novel, Don’t Forget the Girl, will be published by Sourcebooks Landmark in June 2023. The book’s TV/film rights have been optioned by HeyDay Films. Her short stories have been anthologized in The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 and recognized as distinguished in The Best American Short Stories 2019. She has been published in Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Third Coast, Joyland, and as one of Narrative’s Stories of the Week, among other publications. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Indianapolis. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and a mini-schnauzer named Hans Gruber.

photo credit: Josh Saltsman

Maggie Graber

Maggie Graber

February 22, 2024 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (ET) in UIndy Hall A in Schwitzer Student Center

Maggie Graber is a queer millennial poet from the Great Lakes. She is a Luminarts Cultural Foundation Fellow, a graduate of the MFA in creative writing program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and formerly a certified Wilderness First Responder. Her work has appeared in BOAAT, the Louisville Review, the Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She currently serves as poetry editor for Yalobusha Review and lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where she is a PhD student at the University of Mississippi.

photo credit: Maggie Graber

Jose Olivarez

José Olivarez

March 26, 2024 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (ET) in UIndy Hall A in Schwitzer Student Center

José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, was a finalist for the PEN/ Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by The Adroit Journal, NPR, and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he co-edited the poetry anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. He is the co-host of the poetry podcast, The Poetry Gods. In 2018, he was awarded the first annual Author and Artist in Justice Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association and named a Debut Poet of 2018 by Poets & Writers. In 2019, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. 

photo credit: Mercedes Zapata

Registration is not required for any of the above readings, which are free and open to the public. All readings are L/P credit eligible for UIndy students who attend.