Visiting Writer Seminars to Welcome Acclaimed Author Gina Ochsner Sept. 18-19

September 5, 2017

The Visiting Writer Seminars at OBU will welcome accomplished author Gina Ochsner to campus Sept. 18-19.

Ochsner will give a public reading Monday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Tulsa Royalties Auditorium in Bailey Business Center. Her reading will come from her latest novel, “The Hidden Letters of Velta B.,” and will be livestreamed on the OBU Creative Writing Facebook page.

She will also lead a fiction-writing master class Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. in Stavros Hall room 214. No registration is required and all are welcome and encouraged to attend both events.
Ochsner is the author of two collections of short stories, “People I Wanted to Be” and “The Necessary Grace to Fall,” both of which won the Oregon Book Award, and a novel, “The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight,” which received the Grub Street Book Prize in 2011 and was long listed for the Orange Prize in 2010. Her latest novel, “The Hidden Letters of Velta B.,” was released in 2016, with the paperback edition releasing in July 2017.

She serves as Corban University's Writer in Residence, and also directs the Between 2 Worlds Young Adult Creative Writing Conference. She also serves on the faculty in the Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing program at Seattle Pacific University. She lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband, three children and two canine children.

The opportunity to hear from and talk with important contemporary writers is a vital part of an OBU education. 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 in order to elevate the experience for students and the campus community by bringing in nationally accomplished authors.

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.

Dr. Brent Newsom, assistant professor of English, and Dr. Benjamin Myers, Crouch-Mathis Professor of Literature, coordinate the Visiting Writer Seminars.

“The Visiting Writer Seminars bring nationally recognized writers to the OBU campus to interact with students, faculty and the broader community,” Newsom said. “One benefit of this program is the opportunity to experience literature as a living, dynamic art. Gina Ochsner is the first fiction writer to come as part of the VWS, and we are truly blessed to have her on campus. She first made her reputation as a writer of exquisite short stories, and in recent years she has published two acclaimed novels. Her work is driven by quirky, complicated characters and is inflected with magical realism. I think these qualities derive largely from her Christian understanding of humans and of the world as a place saturated with the mystery of God's presence.”

Money is being raised for the VWS through the University advancement office to continue bringing excellent writers to OBU's campus. Through the gift of generous alumni donors, a matching gift up to $5,000 per year has been pledged through 2019. 

For more information about Ochsner or to give a gift toward future seminars, visit the Writer Seminars web page.