The opportunity to hear from and talk with important contemporary writers has been a vital part of an OBU education for many years. Beginning in 2010, the English Department Reading Series brought writers to campus, focusing on writers living in the area. The Visiting Writer Seminars then began as a way to make the reading series more ambitious and to widen its appeal by seeking to elevate the experience for students and the campus community.
The University’s first visiting writer, Tania Runyan, came to campus in March 2016. She read from her poems, lectured on writing poetry and consulted with students about their writing. Scott Cairns joined the University for the 2017 Visiting Writer Seminar, giving a poetry reading and teaching a masterclass on writing memoir. Gina Ochsner held a reading and a fiction writing master class in the Fall of 2017. Mark Jarman attended OBU in September 2018 as the Visiting Writer and keynote speaker for the Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature. Ron Hansen talked about writing and creativity in October 2019.
The 2021-22 Visiting Writer Seminar is scheduled for October 6-8, 2021 and will feature Kirstin Valdez Quade. Quade is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and the 2013 Narrative Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Narrative, Guernica, The Southern Review, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. She earned her B.A. from Stanford University and her M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of Oregon. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in New Jersey and teaches at Princeton University.
Quade’s most recent book is the novel The Five Wounds (W.W. Norton & Co., 2021), which Kirkus Reviews called “a brilliant meditation on love and redemption.” She is the author of the prize-winning short story collection Night at the Fiestas (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015), winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize and a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation. It was a New York Times Notable Book and was named a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association.
- Fiction reading and book signing - Thursday, Oct. 7, at 7:00 p.m. in GC 219-220.
- Writing masterclass - Friday, Oct. 8, at 3:30 p.m. in Stavros 214.
Support the Visiting Writer Seminars
Funds are being raised through the Advancement office to bring excellent writers to OBU's campus.