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Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series

Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series Celebrates 30th Anniversary of MFA in Creative Writing!!

Come join the celebration!!  SDSU’s MFA in Creative Writing is now 30 years old, and the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series will be celebrating throughout the fall semester with a number of old friends.  The readings will feature professors, alumni, and others with a special connection to the program.  All events are on Wednesday evenings at 7PM in Love Library 430 (Leon Williams Room).  We hope to see you there!!


September 25th – MFA Faculty Showcase

This event will feature several current and visiting faculty from the MFA Program.  Readers already confirmed include MFA program founder Sandra Alcosser, Stephen-Paul Martin, and April Wilder; more to follow!!  Come hear for yourself why this program has become so successful!!

photo of Sandra Alcosser
Sandra Alcosser
photo of Stephen-Paul Martin
Stephen-Paul Martin
photo of April Wilder
April Wilder

October 9th – Karla Cordero and Jennifer Minniti-Shippey

photo of Karla Cordero
Karla Cordero

Karla Cordero is the founder of both SpitJournal (spitjournal.com) and Voice 4 Change: A Spoken Word Showcase (one of which was held here in the library back in 2014!).  As an MFA student at SDSU, she won the 2015 SDSU Global Diversity Award for her dedication to social change and political awareness.  Her publications include the chapbook Grasshoppers Before Gods (2016) and the full-length collection How to Pull Apart the Earth (2018). 

photo of Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Jennifer Minniti-Shippey

Jennifer Minniti-Shippey earned her MFA from SDSU in 2008 and has since 2009 served as the Managing Editor of Poetry International. She is also the Director of Poetic Youth (poeticyouth.org), which provides writing workshops for underserved youth. Her chapbooks include Done Dating DJs (2008) and Earth’s Horses & Boys (2013).  She has published widely in literary journals, and her first full-length collection, After the Tour, was published in 2018. 


October 16th – Chris Baron and Matt de la Peña

photo of Chris Baron
Chris Baron

Chris Baron’s 2019 young adult novel, All of Me, is an inspirational story about a boy with body-image issues written in free verse that Booklist calls “beautifully written and psychologically acute.  A 1998 SDSU MFA alumnus, Baron’s Under the Broom Tree was one of four collections included in CityWorks Press’ Lantern Tree, winner of the 2012 San Diego Book Award for best poetry anthology.  Baron is also a professor at San Diego City College, where he directs the Writing Center.

photo of Matt de la Pena
Matt de la Peña

Matt de la Peña’s seven young adult novels have landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list, and one of his five children’s books, Last Stop on Market Street, won the prestigious 2016 Newbery Medal from the American Library Association.  2016 was also the year that this SDSU MFA alumnus received the National Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Council of Teachers of English.  This year de la Peña was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the Pacific, his undergraduate alma mater.  His latest novel, Superman: Dawnbreaker (2019), is part of the DC Icons series.


October 30th – Karen An-hwei Lee (Laurie Okuma Memorial reading)

photo of Karen An-hwei Lee
Karen An-hwei Lee

Karen An-hwei Lee is a celebrated poet whose full-length works include Phyla of Joy (2012), Ardor (2008), and In Medias Res (2004), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America.  Other awards include six Pushcart Prize nominations and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  In addition to her poetry, Lee has authored two novels, Sonata in K (2017) and The Maze of Transparencies (2019), as well as a book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora (2013).

The Laurie Okuma Memorial Reading brings women writers of underrepresented groups to the SDSU campus.  It is made possible by a generous endowment.


November 20th – Carlos Kelly and David Tomas Martinez

photo of Carlos Kelly
Carlos Kelly

Carlos Kelly has a long history at SDSU, earning both a BA and an MA here before entering the MFA program.  His first collection, Wounds Fragments Derelict, was published in May by 2Leaf Press.  Of that work, Falling Landscape author Silvia Curbelo states that Kelly “has crafted a new world of hard-won wisdom, where the tender roots of romance, family and his Mexican culture intertwine.”  Kelly is currently a PhD student at Ohio State University.

photo of David Tomas Martinez
David Tomas Martinez

Pushcart Prize winner David Tomas Martinez earned a BA and an MFA at SDSU before moving to the University of Houston to complete his doctoral studies.  He was awarded an NEA Fellowship in 2017, and his published poetry collections include Hustle (2014) and Post-Traumatic Hood Disorder (2018).  Tony Hoagland calls him "one of the most exciting and visceral poets of his generation."  Martinez himself assets that as a poet, “you have to be unafraid to make a fool of yourself.”


December 4th - Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky

photo of Katie Farris
Katie Farris

Kenyon Review describes Katie Farrisboysgirls (2011) as a “hybrid-form text, whereas PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author Robert Coover describes it as “a tour de force.”  Working as a translator in addition to writing original fiction and poetry, Farris has received many accolades including the 2017 Orison Anthology Award in Fiction and the 2017 Anne Halley Poetry Prize from the Massachusetts Review.  Other books include Morning Ploughs the Winter (2012), which was nominated for a Griffin International Prize for Literature. 

photo of Ilya Kaminsky
Ilya Kaminsky

Celebrated poet Ilya Kaminsky returns to SDSU to read from his long-awaited collection Deaf Republic, published in 2019 to a blizzard of outstanding reviews.  The New York Times calls Kaminsky “a poetic talent of rare and beautiful proportions” and adds that “a visit to this republic will not leave the reader unchanged.”  Kaminsky was born in the Ukrainian city of Odessa and did not start writing poetry in English until after his family was granted political asylum in the United States in 1993.  Kaminsky has received numerous awards and accolades, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018.  His poems have been translated into more than 20 languages.  Kaminsky has also worked as a translator and editor. 


The Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series is one of the longest continuously running reading series in the nation.  It is co-sponsored with the Department of English and Comparative Literature.  We look forward to seeing you this fall!!

Please note: the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series is hosting one additional event that will be held outside the library.  Former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will be appearing at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Theater at 4PM on Wednesday, November 6th!  Additional information is available here : https://mfa.sdsu.edu/community/docs/LW-Fall-2019.pdf

Submitted by Markel Tumlin