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Upcoming Events

Poison Pen Reading Series featuring Justin Jannise, Mark Haber, francine j. harris
Thursday, August 29, 8:30 pm
(Poison Girl, 1641 Westheimer Rd)
Founded and currently organized by UH Creative Writing students and alumni, Poison Pen was voted Houston’s Best Reading Series in 2014 by the Houston Press. Poison Pen brings in three readers on the last Thursday of each month. Poison Pen’s readers are locally and nationally recognizable writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
 
Conor Bracken reads from Scorpionic Sun
Thursday, September 12, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
Conor will be in conversation with translation enthusiast and Brazos’ own Mark Haber. 
 
Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine was one of the most prodigious, ferocious Moroccan writers of his time—a time defined by political upheaval, repression, exile, and change. His first novel, Agadir, won the Enfants Terribles Prize founded by Jean Cocteau, and his poetry earned him comparisons to Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud, Aimé Césaire, and Édouard Glissant. However, his work has never appeared in English, let alone the U.S. (and even less so—blasphemously—in Texas).
 
Now, though, it does, in Conor Bracken’s translation of Khaïr-Eddine’s first collection of poems, Scorpionic Sun. Hailed by Johannes Goransson as “a return of a political surrealism when its convulsive bloom is most needed,” this collection of poems showcases Khaïr-Eddine’s vigorous, relentless, “linguistic guerrilla war.” The poems take aim at a wide variety of targets: King Hassan II, the French, pan-Arabism, colonialism, exile, prejudice, and more. Above all, though, his target is the French language itself, which he wields with exhilarating force and dexterity in order to decolonize it, using it to describe without prejudice the land and people of which he is a part.
 
Conor Bracken is the author of Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour (Bull City Press, 2017), winner of the fifth annual Frost Place Chapbook Competition, and translator of Mohammed Khair-Eddine’s Scorpionic Sun (CSU Poetry Center, September 2019). Recent poems and translations appear or are forthcoming in BOMB, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, Waxwing,and elsewhere. Former Moon Papas Island Poet-in-Residence and current assistant professor of English at the University of Findlay, he received his MFA from the University of Houston.
 
Sarah Adleman reads from The Lampblack Blue of Memory: My Mother Echoes
Friday, September 13, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
 
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Poetry. Hybrid Genre. “To call Sarah Adleman’s memoir profound and beautiful would be a grossly inadequate attempt to describe a brilliant, deeply moving yet unflinchingly unsentimental exploration of grief I could never in my life have begun to imagine, at least not until now: a blended-genre collage of historical, scientific, autobiographical and deeply spiritual nonfiction, poetry and prose poetry, including the poetry written by Adleman’s wise, remarkable mother. This memoir asks some of the most difficult questions anyone can ask: How is acceptance and forgiveness even possible in the face of unspeakable cruelty and violence? How is it possible even to describe, much less to find the right metaphors for, unspeakable pain and grief? Yet through her most profound struggles, Adleman finds a way, taking us on long journeys by train, across snowy landscapes, even to sweat lodges and Tibet, making a deep dive into such a complex array of extended metaphors that she can finally bring herself, and us, to a kind of understanding and acceptance. Before now, I could not have imagined a more courageous, life-changing memoir than this, yet here it is, a loving tribute to Adleman’s long-grieving father and lost mother.” —Lex Williford.
 
Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Colson Whitehead
Monday, September 16, 7:30 pm 
(Cullen Performance Hall, Univ of Houston, 4300 University Drive)

Colson Whitehead is, according to George Saunders, “a splendidly talented writer, with more range than any other American novelist currently working – he can be funny, lyrical, satirical, earnest – whatever is needed by the work.” He is the author of seven novels and two works of nonfiction, including his first novel, The Intuitionist, which John Updike in The New Yorker called “ambitious,” “scintillating,” and “strikingly original.” In 2016, Whitehead published the #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, about a young woman’s will to escape slavery and a literal “underground railroad” with engineers and conductors operating a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the South, for which he earned both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award – only the sixth writer ever to win both for the same book.
 
Named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book ReviewThe Washington PostThe Boston Globe, and others, The Underground Railroad is considered an “American masterpiece” (NPR). Whitehead returns to Houston with his new book The Nickel Boys, “a stunning novel of impeccable language and startling insight” (Publishers Weekly), based on true events from a boys’ reformatory in Jim Crow-era Florida, about two African American teens whose polarizing world views echo beyond the decades. Whitehead’s many honors include Guggenheim and MacArthur “genius” Fellowships and a Whiting Writers Award. He has taught at many universities, including the UH Creative Writing Program.
 
An Evening of Poetry with Joseph Campana & David Baker 
Thursday, September 19, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
 
The Book of Life by Joseph Campana
 
“These poems are a marvel the way life itself is a marvel.” —Natasha Trethewey
 
Taking inspiration from the iconic pages of Life magazine, The Book of Life immerses its reader in an ecstatic, ekphrastic experience of how life becomes history and how history comes back to life.
 
The Book of Life finds inspiration in the pages of LIFE Magazine, from its origin in the Great Depression to its demise amid the Apollo missions, with many milestones between: the Korean War and Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War and immolation of Thich Quang Duc, and the Kennedy and King assassinations. LIFE’s compendium of the American century stretches from its initial cover, Margaret Bourke-White’s photo of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana, to its final, year-in-review issue covering the lunar mission, with an image of the Earth that awakened a planetary consciousness.
Using the lens of poet, arts critic, and scholar of Renaissance literature, Joseph Campana locates an individual life in the churning wake of these great events; he is a poet who persists in the hope of reawakening the past, while simultaneously finding and providing a guide for this journey called life.
 
Swift by David Baker
A sweeping achievement from a poet whose “rhythms are as alive to the roll and tang of syllables on the tongue as they are to the circulation of blood and sap” -Rosanna Warren (Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize citation)
David Baker, acclaimed for his combination of “visionary scope” (Gettysburg Review) and “emotional intensity” (Georgia Review), is one of contemporary poetry’s most gifted lyric poets. In Swift, he gathers poems from eight collections, including his masterful latest, Scavenger Loop (2015); the prize-winning, intimate travelogues of Never-Ending Birds (2009); and the complications of history and home in Changeable Thunder (2001). Opening the volume are fifteen new poems that continue Baker’s growth in form and voice as he investigates the death of parents, the loss of homeland, and a widening natural history, not only of his beloved Midwest but of the tropical flora and fauna of a Caribbean island.
Together, these poems showcase the evolution of Baker’s distinct eco-poetic conscience, his mastery of forms both erotic and elegiac, and his keen eye for the shifting landscapes of passion, heartbreak, and renewal. With equal curiosity and candor, Baker explores the many worlds we all inhabit—from our most intimate relationships to the wider social worlds of neighborhoods, villages, and our complex national identity, to the environmental community we all share.
With his dazzling formal restlessness and lifelong devotion to landscapes both natural and human on full display, David Baker demonstrates why he has been called “the most expansive and moving poet to come out of the American Midwest since James Wright” (Marilyn Hacker).
 
Joseph Campana is a poet, arts critic, and scholar of Renaissance literature. He is the author of three collections of poetry, The Book of Faces (Graywolf, 2005), Natural Selections (Iowa, 2012), which received the Iowa Poetry Prize, and The Book of Life (Tupelo, 2019). His poetry appears in Slate, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Conjunctions, GuernicaMichigan Quarterly Review, and Colorado Review, while individual poems have won prizes from Prairie Schooner and the Southwest Review. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He reviews the arts, books, media and culture regularly for The Houston ChronicleCultureMapThe Kenyon Review, and other venues and is the author of dozens of scholarly essays on Renaissance literature and culture as well as a study of poetics The Pain of Reformation: Spenser, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Masculinity (Fordham, 2012). He teaches at Rice University where he is Alan Dugald McKillop Professor of English.
 
David Baker is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize winner Never-Ending Birds, and six books of prose. Among his awards are prizes and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Mellon Foundation, and Society of Midland Authors. He holds the Thomas B. Fordham Chair at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he lives, and is poetry editor of the Kenyon Review.
 
Gulf Coast Reading Series featuring Ilya Kaminsky 
Saturday, Sept. 21 7 pm
(Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main St.)
The Gulf Coast reading series presents the poetry and prose of UH graduate students, paired with prominent featured visiting writers, at Lawndale Art Center. Participating students come from the MFA and PhD programs in Creative Writing. Doors open for a cocktail reception at 6:30 pm, with the program starting at 7. 
 
Poison Pen Reading Series featuring
Thursday, September 26, 8:30 pm
(Poison Girl, 1641 Westheimer Rd)
Founded and currently organized by UH Creative Writing students and alumni, Poison Pen was voted Houston’s Best Reading Series in 2014 by the Houston Press. Poison Pen brings in three readers on the last Thursday of each month. Poison Pen’s readers are locally and nationally recognizable writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
 
(Home)Land: A Reading and Conversation with Angela So & Monica Sok
Saturday, September 28, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)

(Home)land: A Reading and Conversation with Angela So & Monica Sok will examine what it means to be the children of refugees, the (dis)connection of home and land, and the search for home. The reading will conclude with a conversation and Q&A.
 
In Dust, a novel-in-progress, Angela So weaves together a multigenerational tale of loss and survival as a Cambodian-American family in Houston navigates a shifting world in the midst of a second Dust Bowl.
 
In her debut collection, Monica Sok uses poetry to reshape a family’s memory about the Khmer Rouge regime―memory that is both real and imagined―according to a child of refugees. Driven by myth-making and fables, the poems examine the inheritance of the genocide and the profound struggles of searing grief and PTSD. Though the landscape of Cambodia is always present, it is the liminal space, the in-betweenness of diaspora, in which younger generations must reconcile their history and create new rituals. A Nail the Evening Hangs On seeks to reclaim the Cambodian narrative with tenderness and an imagination that moves towards wholeness and possibility.
 
This event is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
ANGELA SO is a Cambodian American writer with an MFA in fiction from The Ohio State University. Her prose has been published in Glimmer Train, Day One, Houston Chronicle, and The Pinch. She has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Vermont Studio Center. Currently, she is the Director of Strategic Communications at Writers in the Schools.
MONICA SOK is a Cambodian American poet and the daughter of former refugees. She is the author of A Nail the Evening Hangs On (forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, 2020). She has received fellowships from Poetry Society of America, Elizabeth George Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Kundiman. Sok is a 2018-2020 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and teaches poetry at Banteay Srei and the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants in Oakland. She is originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 
 
An Evening with Kristin Dykstra and Reina Maria Rodriguez 
Saturday, October 26, 6:30 pm
(Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, 6221 Main Street)
This event is presented off-site at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. Each ticket comes with a paper back copy of The Great Alone.
 
Kristin Hannah will be in conversation with Katherine Center. 
 
In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a desperate family seeks a new beginning in the near-isolated wilderness of Alaska only to find that their unpredictable environment is less threatening than the erratic behavior found in human nature.

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.
KRISTIN HANNAH is the New York Times bestselling author more than twenty novels. A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.
 
Leslie Jamison reads from Make it Scream, Make it Burn
Thursday, October 3, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
 
From the “astounding” (Entertainment Weekly), “spectacularly evocative” (The Atlantic), and “brilliant” (Los Angeles Times) author of the New York Times bestsellers The Recovering and The Empathy Exams comes a return to the essay form in this expansive new book.
 
With the virtuosic synthesis of memoir, criticism, and journalism for which she has become known, Leslie Jamison offers us fourteen new essays that are by turns ecstatic, searching, staggering, and wise. In its kaleidoscopic sweep, Mke it Scream, Make it Burn creates a profound exploration of the oceanic depths of longing and the reverberations of obsession.
 
Among Jamison’s subjects are 52 Blue, deemed “the loneliest whale in the world”; the eerie past-life memories of children; the devoted citizens of an online world called Second Life; the haunted landscape of the Sri Lankan Civil War; and an entire museum dedicated to the relics of broken relationships. Jamison follows these examinations to more personal reckonings — with elusive men and ruptured romances, with marriage and maternity — in essays about eloping in Las Vegas, becoming a stepmother, and giving birth.
 
Often compared to Joan Didion and Susan Sontag, and widely considered one of the defining voices of her generation, Jamison interrogates her own life with the same nuance and rigor she brings to her subjects. Indeed, this refusal to hide — this emotional and intellectual frankness — is precisely the quality that makes her questing and irrepressible voice impossible to resist.
 
Leslie Jamison is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Recovering and The Empathy Exams, and the novel The Gin Closet. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, and her work has appeared in publications including The AtlanticHarper’s, the New York Times Book Review, the Oxford American, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. She directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn with her family.
 
Mark Haber reads from Reinhardt’s Garden
Friday, October 4, 6:00 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
 
Join us in celebration of Brazos’ own Mark Haber and his debut novel Reinhardt’s Garden! The festivities will kick off with a Happy Hour at 6:00pm, complete with drinks, jams, and Brazos friends! The reading and discussion will follow at 6:30pm. Mark Haber will be in conversation with Daniel Pena. 
 
At the turn of the twentieth century, as he composes a treatise on melancholy, Jacov Reinhardt sets off from his small Croatian village in search of his hero and unwitting mentor, Emiliano Gomez Carrasquilla, who is rumored to have disappeared into the South American jungle—“not lost, mind you, but retired.” Jacov’s narcissistic preoccupation with melancholy consumes him, and as he desperately recounts the myth of his journey to his trusted but ailing scribe, hope for an encounter with the lost philosopher who holds the key to Jacov’s obsession seems increasingly unlikely.

From Croatia to Germany, Hungary to Russia, and finally to the Americas, Jacov and his companions grapple with the limits of art, colonialism, and escapism in this antic debut where dark satire and skewed history converge.
“Melancholy has never felt more euphoric.” - Hernán Diaz
Mark Haber’s 2008 collection of stories, Deathbed Conversions, was translated into Spanish in 2017. He has served as a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts translation grant as well as the Best Translated Book Award. He lives in Houston, Texas, where he is a bookseller and the operations manager of Brazos Bookstore.
 
Malcolm Gladwell reads from Talking to Strangers
Tuesday, October 8, 7:00 pm
(The Ballroom at Bayou Place, 500 Texas Ave)
This ticketed event will be off-site at The Ballroom at Bayou Place.
 
Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland—throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.
 
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: The Tipping PointBlinkOutliersWhat the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. He is the host of the podcast Revisionist History and is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine and one of the Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers. Previously, he was a reporter with the Washington Post, where he covered business and science, and then served as the newspaper’s New York City bureau chief. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He lives in New York.
 
An Evening with Diane Mehta & Kevin Prufer 
Friday, October 11, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
 
In her debut book of poems (Forest with Castanets), knit together with personal essays, Mehta explores her own cultural history— Indian Jainism and American Judaism— as well as her ideas about faith, feminism, and family. 
Kevin Prufer’s How He Loved Them sets love in a fraught, paradoxical world where bombs explode, fields burn, and armies advance. With clear, compassionate eyes, Prufer finds powerful intimacy between fathers and sons, soldiers and civilians, the living and the (sometimes un)dead. 
 
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, and raised in Bombay and New Jersey, Diane Mehta studied with Derek Walcott and Robert Pinsky in the nineties and has been an editor at PEN America’s Glossolalia, Guernica, and A Public Space. Her debut poetry collection Forest with Castanets was published by Four Way Books in 2019 and her book about writing poetry was published by Barnes & Noble books in 2005. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Kevin Prufer was born in Cleveland, OH, and attended Wesleyan University, The Hollins Writing Program, and Washington University. He is the author of seven poetry collections, including the Four Way Books titles How He Loved Them (2018), winner of the 2018 Julie Suk Award and a finalist for the UNT Rilke Prize, Churches (2014), named one of the ten best poetry books of the year by The New York Times Book ReviewIn a Beautiful Country (2011), a UNT Rilke Prize and Poets’ Prize finalist; and National Anthem (2008), named one of the five best poetry books of the year by Publishers Weekly and a finalist for the Poets’ Prize. Prufer is the recipient of many awards, including four Pushcart prizes, several awards from the Poetry Society of America, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation, and several Best American Poetry selections. He is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. 
 
Lara Prescott reads from The Secrets We Kept
Tuesday, October 15, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
 
A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice–inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.
 
At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world–using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.
 
The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story–the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago’s heroine, Lara–with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak’s country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature–told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.
 
Lara Prescott received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, Austin. She was previously an animal protection advocate and a political campaign operative. Her stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, Crazyhorse, Day One, and Tin House Flash Fridays. She won the 2016 Crazyhorse Fiction Prize for the first chapter of The Secrets We Kept. She lives in Austin, Texas.
 
Gulf Coast Reading Series featuring Corey van Landingham and Christopher Kempf
Friday, Oct. 18 7 pm
(Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main St.)
The Gulf Coast reading series presents the poetry and prose of UH graduate students, paired with prominent featured visiting writers, at Lawndale Art Center. Participating students come from the MFA and PhD programs in Creative Writing. Doors open for a cocktail reception at 6:30 pm, with the program starting at 7. 
 
Julia Guez reads from In an Invisible Glass Case Which is Also a Frame
Saturday, October 19, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
 
A close look at the rigors of our current cultural moment, In An Invisible Glass Case Which Is Also a Frame offers readers a way to navigate vital questions: what does it mean to be “secure”? How do we make art amid complexity? In Guez’s debut, readers will witness realities of income inequality, climate change, and the opioid epidemic alongside of a series of reliable antidotes: art, music, humor, and love. “Have we made it across the vast plain of night?” asks one poem. No, not quite. There is more night, but there is singing, too. Rich in its sophisticated engagement of a “still life” series, dilemmas large and small, political and personal, are treated with generosity, curiosity, and a precise investigation of the heart. 
 
Julia Guez’s poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and translations have appeared or will soon be forthcoming in POETRY, The Guardian, Boston Review, PEN Poetry Series, BOMB, The Seattle Review and Hyperallergic. Her debut collection, In An Invisible Glass Case Which Is Also A Frame, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in the fall of 2019.  Guez has been awarded the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship and The John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation.  She holds degrees from Rice and Columbia.  For the last decade, Guez has worked with Teach For America; she’s currently the managing director of programming.  She teaches creative writing at Rutgers and writes poetry reviews for Publishers Weekly. Guez lives in Brooklyn. 
 
Cameron Dezen Hammon reads from This is My Body
Tuesday, October 22, 6:00 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
Cameron will be in conversation with Lacy Johnson.
 
There will be a Happy Hour at 6pm. The book talk will begin at 6:30pm.
 
In this memoir of faith and faltering, musician Cameron Dezen Hammon, a Jew-ish New Yorker, finds herself searching for love, meaning―a sign. She’s led to Coney Island, where during a lightning storm, she is baptized in the murky waters of the Atlantic by a group of ragtag converts. After years of trying to make a name for herself as an artist, she follows her boyfriend and new God to Houston, Texas, the heart of American evangelical subculture. Her job at a suburban megachurch there has her performing on stage before crowds, awash in lights and smoke, yet grappling with outdated gender expectations―look pretty but not too pretty, young but not too young―and ultimately her identity as both a believer and feminist.
 
This Is My Body weaves her zealous conversion with the search for a more progressive and fluid theology, the endurance of marriage with an unexpected obsession that threatens to upend her carefully constructed life. From speaking in tongues to street preaching, from biblically sanctioned discrimination to sexual assault, she invites readers inside her tender and harrowing journey. Part inspiring spiritual memoir, part incisive cultural critique, her story of finding and losing faith is ultimately one of rebuilding a truer, braver self.
 
Musician Cameron Dezen Hammon’s writing appears in The Kiss anthology from W. W. Norton, Ecotone, the Literary Review, the Houston Chronicle, NYLON, and elsewhere; and her essay “Infirmary Music” was named a notable in The Best American Essays 2017. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University and is a writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools in Houston, where she lives with her family. This Is My Body is her debut book.
 
Fady Joudah & William Virgil Davis - Firsts
Tuesday, October 22, 7:00 pm
(Mongoose v. Cobra, 1011 McGowen Street)
 
Firsts serves as both a testament to the enduring power of poetic expression and exploration of the ways poetry has evolved over the past century. In addition to judiciously assembling this wide-ranging anthology, series judge Carl Phillips provides an introduction to the history and impact of Yale Younger Poets prize and its winners within the wider context of American poetry, including the roles of race, gender, and sexual orientation.
 
Fady Joudah was born in Austin, Texas to Palestinian refugee parents and grew up in Libya and Saudi Arabia. He studied at the University of Georgia, the Medical College of Georgia, and the University of Texas Health Sciences in Houston, where he is now a physician. Joudah’s other collections are Alight (2013), Textu (2014), and Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (2018). He has won a Guggenheim Fellowship and, for his translations of Darwish and Zaqtan, respectively, the PEN USA award and the Griffin International Poetry Prize.
 
William Virgil Davis was born in Canton, Ohio, and educated at Ohio University and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He has written six books of poetry, including Dismantlements of Silence: Poems Selected and New (2015), and half a dozen critical studies. Davis taught at several universities in the US, including Baylor University (where he retired) and at the Universities of Vienna, Copenhagen and Wales. Among his honors are the Yale Younger Poets Prize, New Criterion Poetry Prize, and the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Poetry. His poems have been widely published worldwide.
 
An Evening with Kristin Dykstra and Reina Maria Rodriguez 
Saturday, October 26, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)

Award-winning translator Kristin Dykstra will will be joined by poet Reina María Rodriguez, one of Cuba's most celebrated authors. Both writer and translator will read from The Winter Garden Photograph (Ugly Duckling Press, 2019) and other works.
 
Reina María Rodríguez (b. 1952) lives in Havana, Cuba. Among other career awards, she has won the 2002 Alejo Carpentier Medal for Achievement in Cuban literature, Cuba’s 2013 National Prize for Literature, and the 2014 Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Prize for Poetry. Titles by Rodríguez in English include Otras cartas a Milena (Other Letters to Milena, translated by Kristin Dykstra (University of Alabama Press, 2014).
 
Kristin Dykstra is the principal translator of Reina María Rodríguez. With Kent Johnson, she is co-editor of Amanda Berenguer’s Materia Prima (Ugly Duckling Press, 2018). She is the translator of Cubanology, a book of days by Omar Pérez (Station Hill Press, 2018) and of other Cuban authors including Juan Carlos Flores, Angel Escobar, and Marcelo Morales. The recipient of an NEA Literary Translation Fellowship, Dykstra won the inaugural Gulf Coast Prize for Literary Translation.
 
An evening of poetry with francine j. harris and Meg Day
Tuesday, October 29, 7:30pm
(Jung Center)
 
Meg Day is the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street, 2014), winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize and The Publishing Triangle's 2015 Audre Lorde Award,
 
francine j. harris is the author of allegiance (2012), a finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the PEN Open Book Award; and play dead (2016).
 
Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates
Tuesday, October 29, 7:30 pm 
(Cullen Performance Hall, Univ of Houston, 4300 University Drive)

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive” language has been hailed by the legendary Toni Morrison as “required reading,” and The New York Observer calls him “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States.” Coates’s groundbreaking book Between the World and Me—an essay in the form of a letter to his son—was a #1 New York Times bestseller, won the National Book Award and a NAACP Image Award, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, and was on several end of the year best books lists. The Boston Globe describes it as “echoing Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man” and “written in the tradition of James Baldwin.” A former national correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates has been praised for his journalism on cultural, political, and social issues and his recognized pieces include “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” “The Case for Reparations,” “Fear of a Black President,” and “This is How We Lost to the White Man.” In 2017, his essays were published in We Were Eight Years in Power, an “emotionally charged, deftly drafted, and urgently relevant” (Kirkus Reviews) collection examining the nation’s cultural and political landscape during the Obama administration.
 
Coates, a MacArthur fellow, is also the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle and the current author for Black Panther and Captain America comic series. He will read from his highly anticipated debut novel The Water Dancer. “In prose that sings and imagination that soars,” Publisher Weekly says with this novel, “Coates further cements himself as one of this generation’s most important writers, tackling one of America’s oldest and darkest periods with grace and inventiveness. This is bold, dazzling, and not to be missed.”
 
The Unsung Masters Series & Music & Literature--reading and celebration! With Meg Day, Niki Herd, Taylor Davis-Van Atta
October 30, 6:30pm
(Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main Street)
 
Drinks served!
 
The Unsung Masters Series seeks to bring great, out-of-print, little-known authors to the attention of new generations of readers. Each volume includes a large selection of original poetry or fiction as well as essays by various hands, interviews, photographs, and ephemera. This year's volume is on the work of poet and disability rights activist Laura Hershey, edited by Meg Day and Niki Herd.
 
Music & Literature is devoted to publishing and promoting the work of underrepresented artists from around the world. Each edition of Music & Literature assembles an international cast of writers and critics in celebration of featured artists whose work has yet to reach its deserved audience. The ninth edition (2019) features Swiss master of the short form Peter Bischel and Canadian poet Sylvia Legris.
 
Poison Pen Reading Series 
Thursday, October 31, 8:30 pm
(Poison Girl, 1641 Westheimer Rd)
Founded and currently organized by UH Creative Writing students and alumni, Poison Pen was voted Houston’s Best Reading Series in 2014 by the Houston Press. Poison Pen brings in three readers on the last Thursday of each month. Poison Pen’s readers are locally and nationally recognizable writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
 
Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Elizabeth Gilbert
Monday, November 11, 7:30 pm 
(Stude Concert Hall, Rice University, Entrance #18 & #20)

Elizabeth Gilbert’s “prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit, and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible” (The New York Times Book Review). Her work has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Gilbert is best known for her memoir Eat Pray Love – “a wonderful book, brilliant and personal, rich in spiritual insight” (Anne Lamott) – following a difficult divorce and travels through Italy, India, and Indonesia. Translated into more than 30 languages, the book was an international bestseller, with more than 12 million copies sold worldwide.
 
Her novel The Signature of All Things, “a masterly tale of overflowing sensual and scientific enthusiasms in the nineteenth century” (Time), was named a best book of 2013 by The New York TimesO: The Oprah MagazineThe Washington PostThe Chicago Tribune, and The New Yorker. She comes to Houston to read from City of Girls, her new novel set in the golden age of the theatre world in 1940s New York City that “embraces…the power of a woman breaking from a traditional path” and is “loaded with humor and insight” (Newsday). Gilbert wears many hats – “bestselling writer, matron saint of divorced women, modern symbol of follow-your-bliss wisdom” (Cosmopolitan) – and according to Jennifer Egan, “if a more likable writer than Gilbert is currently in print, I haven’t found him or her.”
 
Poison Pen Reading Series 
Thursday, November 21, 8:30 pm
(Poison Girl, 1641 Westheimer Rd)
Founded and currently organized by UH Creative Writing students and alumni, Poison Pen was voted Houston’s Best Reading Series in 2014 by the Houston Press. Poison Pen brings in three readers on the last Thursday of each month. Poison Pen’s readers are locally and nationally recognizable writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
 
Gulf Coast Reading Series featuring Debbie Urbanski
Friday, Nov. 22 7 pm
(Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main St.)
The Gulf Coast reading series presents the poetry and prose of UH graduate students, paired with prominent featured visiting writers, at Lawndale Art Center. Participating students come from the MFA and PhD programs in Creative Writing. Doors open for a cocktail reception at 6:30 pm, with the program starting at 7. 
 
Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Carolyn Forché & Carmen Maria Machado
Monday, January 27, 7:30 pm 
(Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue)
 
Carolyn Forché is the author of four poetry collections, including Blue HourThe Angel of HistoryGathering the Tribes, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and The Country Between Us, in which, according to Joyce Carol Oates, Forché “like Neruda, Philip Levine, Denise Levertov and others… addresses herself to the… world.” She is also editor of the groundbreaking anthology Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, and a noted translator of poets as varied as Claribel Alegría, Georg Trakl, and Mahmoud Darwish. Forché comes to Houston to share her memoir What You Have Heard Is True—”astonishing, powerful, so important at this time” (Margaret Atwood)—which “narrates her role as witness in an especially explosive and precarious period in El Salvador’s history. This incredible book… marries the attentive sensibility of a master poet with the unflinching eyes of a human rights activist.” (Claudia Rankine)
 
Carmen Maria Machado’s “writing is always lyrical, the narration refreshingly direct, and the sex abundant” (Booklist), but with “a furious grace” (Kirkus) all her own. Her debut story collection Her Body and Other Parties is the “kind of book that will leave you haunted, and thrilled, by the possibilities of contemporary fiction” (Dallas Morning News) and “is full of repressed physical energy and the raw juice of annihilating female fury” (Louise Erdrich). Among its many honors, the book was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. Machado will read from her new memoir about domestic abuse, In the Dream House, a dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that turns our ideas of what a memoir can do and be upside down.
 
Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Louise Erdrich
Monday, March 9, 7:30 pm 
(Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue)
 
Louise Erdrich is one of the most revered novelists of our time. Influenced by a community of storytellers and rooted in Ojibwe myths and legends, Erdrich – author of 15 novels, plus volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood – has “remained true to her Native ancestors’ mythic and artistic visions while writing fiction that candidly explores the cultural issues facing modern-day Native Americans and mixed heritage Americans” (The Poetry Foundation). Her book The Round House, winner of the National Book Award for fiction, is a “powerful novel” that showcases Erdrich’s “extraordinary ability to delineate the ties of love, resentment, need, duty, and sympathy that bind families together” (The New York Times), with “stunning language that recalls shades of Faulkner, García Márquez, and Toni Morrison” (USA Today). Her novel The Plague of Doves received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and both her novel LaRose – which The New York Times called “incandescent” – and her debut Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. She also was awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Erdrich comes to Houston to share her forthcoming novel The Night Watchman, based on the extraordinary life of Erdrich’s grandfather, who as a working man carried on the fight against Native dispossession. She lives in Minnesota and is owner of the independent bookstore Birchbark Books.
 
Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Reginald Dwayne Betts & Natalie Diaz
Monday, March 23, 7:30 pm 
(Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue)
 
Reginals Dwayne Betts comes to Houston to share his new poetry collection Felon, “bracing, revelatory work” (Mitchell S. Jackson) that animates what it means to be a “felon,” while confronting the smear of post-incarceration and prison as a force that enacts a lifetime of pressure. He is the author of two other poetry collections – Bastards of the Reagan Era and Shahid Reads His Own Palm – and A Question of Freedom, his NAACP Image Award-winning memoir, a searing, uplifting story that follows a nine-year prison sentence (starting when he was 16) and his resoluteness against being reduced to the 30 seconds he held a gun in his hand. With more than “just a powerful story to tell,” Jericho Brown calls Betts “a true poet who can write a ghazal that sings, howls, rhymes, and resonates in memory.” He is a graduate of Yale Law School and received an MFA from Warren Wilson College.
 
Natlaie Diaz, born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village, is an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her debut collection When My Brother Was an Aztec, which won an American Book Award, draws upon reservation folklore, pop culture, fractured gospels, and her brother’s addiction to methamphetamine in a delicate balance of stark intimacy and gorgeous lyricism. Among her other honors, Diaz has received a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, as well as the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the Native Arts Council Foundation. She comes to Houston to read from her new collection Postcolonial Love Poem, which, according to Adrian Matejka, “elegantly negotiates experience, tradition, and myth” and demonstrates that she is “a poet who understands tradition but is not beholden to it.” Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program.
 
Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Emily St. John Mandel & Colum McCann
Monday, March 23, 7:30 pm 
(Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue)
 
Emily St. John Mandel is author of the bestselling novel Station Eleven, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award, and named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Buzzfeed, Time, and more. Translated into 32 languages, The New York Times called it “spine tingling [and] ingenious,” Ann Patchett described it as “so compelling, so fearlessly imagined, that I wouldn’t have put it down for anything,” and George R.R. Martin praised it for being “beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac…. A book that I will long remember and return to.” Emma Straub calls Mandel’s work “astonishing.” Her earlier novels include The Lola QuartetThe Singer’s Gun, and Last Night in Montreal. Mandel comes to Houston with her new novel The Glass Hotel, a story of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise.
 
Colum McCann’s gift is “finding grace in grief” and “magic in the mundane” (San Francisco Chronicle). Dave Eggers called McCann’s international bestseller Let the Great World Spin, winner of the National Book Award, “a gorgeous book, multilayered and deeply felt, and … fun to read, too. Leave it to an Irishman to write one of the greatest-ever novels about New York.” The Seattle Times praised it as “dizzyingly satisfying.” McCann is also the author of the novels DancerSongdogsThis Side of BrightnessZoli, and TransAtlantic, longlisted for the Booker Prize, plus two story collections, including the acclaimed Thirteen Ways of Looking. He is also co-founder of Narrative 4, the nonprofit global story exchange organization. McCann comes to Houston with his new novel Apeirogon, set in Jerusalem, which tells an epic story rooted in the real-life friendship between two men – one Palestinian, one Israeli – who are united by loss.