Ashland University MFA in Creative Writing Program Sets Summer Reading Series

Ashland University MFA in Creative Writing Program Sets Summer Reading Series

7/15/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program will hold its Summer Reading Series July 18-31 that will feature afternoon craft talks and evening readings that are free and open to the public on the AU campus.

Award-winning visiting writers and faculty will read from their books each evening, while writers and faculty also will host afternoon craft talks with topics in fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. All events will be held in Room 138 of the Schar College of Education.

In addition, the MFA Program recently added the fiction genre to its degree track and will host its first class of students during the summer residency. Ashland University’s fiction faculty is made up of William Haywood Henderson, author of “Augusa Locke” ((finalist for the Spur Award, Mountains & Plains Booksellers’ Regional Book Award and the Willa Award); Celeste Ng, author of “Everything I Never Told You” (New York Times bestseller, Amazon's #1 Best Book of 2014 and a New York Times Notable Book);  and E.J. Levy, author of “Love, In Theory” (2012 Flannery O’Connor Award 2014 Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award).

The series kicks off with fiction writer, Patricia Henley, presenting a reading on Sunday, July 19, at 7 p.m. She also will present a craft talk titled “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been: Writing with Place in Mind” on Monday, July 20, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Henley, the visiting writer in fiction, is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, four short story collections, three novels, a stage play and numerous essays. Her first book of stories, “Friday Night at Silver Star,” (Graywolf, 1986) was the winner of the Montana First Book Award. Her first novel, “Hummingbird House,” (MacMurray & Beck, 1999) was a finalist for the National Book Award and The New Yorker Fiction Prize. Pantheon published her second novel, “In the River Sweet,” and it was widely praised in newspapers and magazines. Engine Books published her fourth collection of stories – “Other Heartbreaks” – in 2011. Together with Elizabeth Stuckey-French, she published a young adult novel, “Where Wicked Starts,” (Lacewing Books) in October 2014. For 27 years, she taught in the MFA program at Purdue University.

Patricia Smith, the visiting writer in poetry, will present a reading on Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m. and will give a craft talk on Thursday, July 23, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Smith is the author of six critically-acknowledged volumes of poetry, including “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah,” winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy American Poets and finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; “Blood Dazzler,” a National Book Award finalist; “Teahouse of the Almighty,” a National Poetry Series winner (all from Coffee House Press); “Close to Death” and “Big Towns, Big Talk” (both from Zoland Books) and “Life According to Motown” (Tia Chucha Press). Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, Granta, Tin House, TriQuarterly, Gulf Coast and in dozens of groundbreaking anthologies including Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, Villanelles, The Incredibly Sestina Anthology and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African-American Poetry. She received Pushcart Prizes, for her poems “The Way Pilots Walk” and “Laugh Your Troubles Away!” She is a Cave Canem faculty member, a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island and a faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program.

Lee Martin, the visiting writer in creative nonfiction, will present a reading on Monday, July 27, at 7 p.m. as well as a craft talk on Tuesday, July 28, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Martin is the author of the novels, “The Bright Forever,” a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction; “River of Heaven”; “Quakertown”; and “Break the Skin.” He also has published three memoirs, “From Our House,” “Turning Bones” and “Such a Life.” His first book was the short story collection, “The Least You Need to Know.” He is the co-editor of “Passing the Word: Writers on Their Mentors.” His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such places as Harper's, Ms., Creative Nonfiction, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner and Glimmer Train. He is the winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. He teaches in the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, where he is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of English and a past winner of the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

For a complete list of readings and craft talks, please visit

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

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