Authors and scholars to visit English Department conferences

Several distinguished authors (pictured) will visit Fresno State English Department conferences this spring

~ By Jefferson Beavers, communications specialist, Department of English

Six distinguished authors will headline three scholarly and creative conferences presented by Fresno State’s Department of English this spring.

The eighth annual WordFest event will take place Feb. 10, featuring craft talks and readings from poet Laurie Ann Guerrero, novelist and memoirist Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, and graphic novelist Julia Wertz. The ninth annual Undergraduate Conference on Multiethnic Literatures of the Americas will take place March 16 and 17, featuring keynote addresses from novelist and memoirist Reyna Grande and Columbia University scholar Gary Y. Okihiro. And the 38th annual Young Writers’ Conference will take place March 21, featuring a keynote address from poet Mai Der Vang.


A writer-in-residence at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Guerrero is the author of the poetry collection “A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying,” which won the 2012 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, and “A Crown for Gumecindo,” a collaboration with visual artist Maceo Montoya.

Author of the novel “The Golem of Seoul,” forthcoming from HarperCollins, Lee is also the author of the memoir “Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember” and she serves as a features editor at The Rumpus literary magazine.

A professional cartoonist and illustrator, Wertz’s graphic novels include “Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City,” “The Infinite Wait & Other Stories” and “Drinking at the Movies.”

WordFest craft talk workshops will be held Saturday, Feb. 10, in the Peters Business Building, Room 132. Guerrero will present at 9 a.m., Wertz at 11 a.m. and Lee at 2 p.m. Parking is free in suggested Lots P5 and P6.

The WordFest reading and book signing will be held at 7 p.m. in the Alice Peters Auditorium (Peters Business building, Room 191) in the University Business Center. Parking is free in suggested Lots P5 and P6.

All WordFest sessions are free and open to the public. WordFest is presented by the San Joaquin Literary Association student organization, and it is co-sponsored by The Normal School literary magazine. For information, contact Matt Kenerly at or 559.278.1569.

UCMLA conference

Reyna Grande
Reyna Grande

Grande, whose latest book, “The Distance Between Us,” tells her life story before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States, will deliver her keynote address for the Undergraduate Conference on Multiethnic Literatures of the Americas at 7 p.m. Friday, March 16, in the Kremen Education Building, Room 170.

Grande has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award and the International Latino Book Award.

Gary Y. Okihiro
Gary Y. Okihiro

Okihiro, the founding director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, will deliver his keynote for the conference at 2 p.m. Friday, March 16 in the Alice Peters Auditorium (PB 191) inside the University Business Center.

Okihiro is the author of 11 books, including his latest, “American History Unbound: Asians and Pacific Islanders.”

Both keynotes are free and open to the public. Parking costs $3 in suggested Lots P5 and P6. For information, contact Samina Najmi at or 559.278.1569.

Young Writers’ Conference

Mai Der Vang
Mai Der Vang

Vang will deliver her keynote address at the Young Writers’ Conference at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, March 21, in the Satellite Student Union.

A Fresno native, Vang serves as a visiting writer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in their Master of Fine Arts program. She is the author of the poetry collection “Afterland,” which won the 2016 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and was longlisted for the National Book Award in Poetry.

The keynote address is free and open to the public. Parking costs $3 in suggested Lots P6 and P15. For information, contact Tanya Nichols at or 559.278.1569.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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