MFA In Writing Program Presents Summer Readings Series

Kwame Dawes, Pacific MFA Faculty MemberFOREST GROVE, Ore. — Pacific University welcomes award-winning authors and future authors to Forest Grove this month as part of its Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program summer residency. Community members are invited to a series of public readings by faculty during the 10-day event.

The series of public readings, celebrating the art and the beauty of writing, features 20 Pacific MFA faculty members presenting across the genres of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Readings start nightly, June 21 through June 27, at 7:30 p.m. in McCready Hall in the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center on Pacific’s Forest Grove Campus.

Pacific writing faculty members have been the recipients of a number of illustrious writing awards such as the Guggenheim Award, PEN American Center Literary Awards and Pushcart Prizes. Some will read from their acclaimed publications, while others will bring new and experimental works and works in progress to the readings.

“The readings are a celebration of the art that our faculty writes,” said Scott Korb, director of the Pacific MFA program. “The readings are a special opportunity to recognize our instructors as artists. The audience can expect experimentation, risk-taking and real beauty. They will find that their art reflects on the shared world and the times that we are living in.”

Kwame Dawes (pictured), a longtime Pacific MFA poetry faculty member who was recently named the poet laureate of Jamaica, will present on Saturday, June 22, in a collaborative reading with fellow poet Mahtem Shiferraw, a 2018 recipient of the Imani Award for Artistic Excellence from Harvard University.

The series will also feature several local faculty writers. Cecily Wong, a 2023 recipient of an Oregon Literary Fellowship, will read on Wednesday, June 26. Journalist and novelist Omar El Akkad, a two-time winner of the Oregon Book Award, whose novel, What Strange Paradise, won the 2021 Giller Prize for Excellence in Canadian fiction, will be among the readers on Friday, June 21.

Faculty and students in Pacific’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program meet twice a year — each summer in Forest Grove and each winter in Seaside. In addition to the public readings, the residency includes opportunities for students to share their work with peers and MFA alumni, and attend writing workshops, craft talks and thesis presentations.

This year’s summer residency culminates with a special 20th anniversary celebration and the graduation of the MFA Class of 2024.

For more information on the Summer Residency and the program, visit the Pacific MFA website.

All readings take place at 7:30 p.m. in McCready Hall, Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center on Pacific University’s Forest Grove Campus
Friday, June 21: Adrienne Christian, Omar El Akkad, Pete Fromm
Saturday, June 22: Kwame Dawes, Mahtem Shiferraw
Sunday, June 23: Valerie Laken, Joseph Millar, Mary Helen Stefaniak
Monday, June 24: Frank X. Gaspar, Apricot Irving, Laura Warrell
Tuesday, June 25: Ellen Bass, Molly Gloss, Kellie Wells
Wednesday, June 26: Chris Abani, Cate Kennedy, Cecily Wong
Thursday, June 27: Claire Davis, W. Ralph Eubanks, Mike Magnuson

Friday, June 7, 2024