WSU Vancouver announces lineup for virtual 2021 Creative Writers Series

VANCOUVER, Wash.— The 2021 Creative Writers Speakers Series hosted by WSU Vancouver will present virtual talks by seven award-winning writer-scholars representing poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. The events will take place Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evenings between Jan. 27 and April 12 and are free and open to the public.

All talks will be on the YouTube Live channel and can be accessed by visiting No registration is needed to join the talks. The schedule follows:

6 p.m. Jan. 27


Two-time Lambda Award finalist and winner of several poetry awards, Aoki is a composer, teacher and the author of “Seasonal Velocities” (2012), “He Mele a Hilo (A Hilo Song)” (2014), “Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul” (2015), “The Great Space Adventure” (2019) and the forthcoming novel “Light From Uncommon Stars” (2021). She was honored by the California State Senate for “extraordinary commitment to the visibility and well-being of transgender people.” She was also the inaugural performer for the first-ever Transgender Stage at San Francisco Pride and has performed all over the world. Aoki’s talk will be an open-forum discussion about writing across and in between genres, as well as the publication process.

7 p.m. Feb. 10


Chigozie Obioma is the author of the novel “The Fishermen” (2015), which was a finalist for the Man Booker prize and a winner of four other awards, including an NAACP Image Award. The novel is being translated into 26 languages and is being adapted into a stage play. Foreign Policy magazine named Obioma one of its 100 Global Thinkers of 2015. His second novel, “An Orchestra of Minorities” (2019), was also a finalist for the Booker Prize. (He is one of only two writers to be so honored.) Obioma is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and runs various projects in Nigeria.

7 p.m. March 1


Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, including “The Absurd Man” (2020). His first book,Leaving Saturn” (2002), won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and others, and several awards, including a Pushcart Prize. His poems and essays appear in such publications as The New Yorker, Paris Review, Tin House and multiple volumes of “Best American Poetry.” Jackson lives in South Burlington, Vt., where he teaches at the University of Vermont. He also serves as the poetry editor of The Harvard Review.

6 p.m. March 16


Bacote is a nonfiction writer and assistant professor of English at St. John’s University in New York City. Her work draws on personal story and social history. She is currently investigating the consequences of economic oppression and residential segregation and writing a book chronicling the lasting impact of the illegal drug trade on her family and community. Her essays have been widely published in such journals as Ploughshares and Tri-Quarterly and included in the anthologyThis Is The Place: Women Writing About Home” (2017). Bacote has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Ragdale Foundation and many others. Her talk is titled “Against Erasure: Reclaiming Our Stories.”

7 p.m. March 23


Giscombe’s many books include the forthcoming “Similarly,” four poetry volumes and a selection of new poems. His “Ohio Railroads” (2014) is a long poem in the form of an essay, including maps, and the essays collected in “Border Towns” (2016) have to do with poetry. His poetry and prose have been reprinted in “Best American Poetry,” “Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry,” “Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry” and elsewhere, and his several awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fund for Poetry. He has taught at several universities and is currently a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

6 p.m. April 7


Browne is a writer, organizer and educator. She is the interim executive director of Urban Word NYC and poetry coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research and Rauschenberg. She is the author of “Chlorine Sky” (2021), “Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice” (2020), “Black Girl Magic” (2020), “Woke Baby” (2018) and “Kissing Caskets” (2017). Browne is also the founder of Woke Baby Book Fair (a nationwide diversity literature campaign); and as an Arts for Justice grantee, is completing her first book of essays on mass incarceration, investigating its impact on women and children. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

6 p.m. April 12


Earling is a novelist and short story writer and professor of English at the University of Montana, Missoula. She is a Native American and a member of the Salish and Kootenai tribes of the Flathead Reservation. She is the author of “Perma Red” (2002), a novel, and “The Lost Journals of Sacajewea” (2012), a collaboration with photographer Peter Rutledge Koch. “Perma Red” won the Western Writers Association Spur Award, WWA’s Medicine Pipe Bearer Award for Best First Novel, a WILLA Literary Award and the American Book Award. Her talk is titled “Cabinets of Curiosities and the Fictional Dream.”

For more information, contact the series’ coordinator, Chelsea Ratzlaff, at

About WSU Vancouver

As one of six campuses of the WSU system, WSU Vancouver offers big-school resources in a small-school environment. The university provides affordable, high-quality baccalaureate- and graduate-level education to benefit the people and communities it serves. As the only four-year research university in Southwest Washington, WSU Vancouver helps drive economic growth through relationships with local businesses and industries, schools and nonprofit organizations. 

# # #


Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communication, 360-546-9601,

Share the news: