Creative Writers Reading Series

Smith Creative Writers Reading Series

Celebrated writers of poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction visit campus several times each year to give lectures, readings, discussions, and book signings. Presentations are held at 6:00 p.m. (preceded by receptions at 5:30 p.m.) in the Smith Chapel. All events are free and open to the public. Presented with the support of the Clarence A. and Eugenie Baumann Smith Fund. 


Katie Ford, author of Blood Lyrics

September 17 - Katie Ford, Poet

The poet Katie Ford is the author of Deposition, Colosseum, and, most recently, Blood Lyrics, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Ford is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. Colosseum was named among the “Best Books of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and many other journals. Work from Blood Lyrics is forthcoming in The Norton Anthology of Literature. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

The cover of George Looney's Meditations Before the Windows FailThe cover of Tracie Morell's Matilda's Battle Waltz

September 24 - George Looney & Tracie Morell, Poetry

Matilda’s Battle Waltz is Tracie Morell’s first book. In her own words, she is “a poet on a mission to engage in meaningful discourse about the treachery of beauty, and eager to talk to anyone about how terrible angels are.” Tracie received a B.A. in English from Penn State Behrend, where she served as nonfiction editor and managing editor of Lake Effect. Her work has appeared in Anemone Sidecar, Menacing Hedge, B&Y Dog, Inclement, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Gravel, Aperion, Thirteen Myna Birds, and many others. She received a nomination for the 2012 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She was a finalist for the Erie County Poet Laureate in 2012 and again in 2014. Recently, her work has been translated into German.

George Looney will be reading from his eighth book of poetry, Meditations Before the Windows Fail, which was a finalist for The Idaho Poetry Prize. George has most recently been published in Cimarron Review, The Aurorean, Georgetown Review, The Cape Rock, Prairie Schooner, and The Greensboro Review. He is the Editor-in-Chief for Lake Effect and the founder of the BFA program here at Penn State Behrend.

Heather Slomski, author of The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons

October 15 - Heather Slomski, Fiction

Heather Slomski, Behrend Creative Writing alumna, is the author of The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons, winner of the 2014 Iowa Short Fiction Award and a Finalist for a 2015 Minnesota Book Award. She received her M.F.A. from Western Michigan University and held the Axton Fellowship in Fiction at the University of Louisville. Her stories have appeared in TriQuarterly, American Letters & Commentary, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, The Normal School, and elsewhere.  A recipient of a Minnesota State Artist Initiative Grant and a Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and son, and teaches writing at Concordia College.

Elizabeth Kadetsky, author of The Poison That Purifies You

October 22 - Elizabeth Kadetsky, Fiction

Elizabeth Kadetsky is author of a memoir (First There Is a Mountain, Little Brown), a story collection (The Poison that Purifies You, C&R Press) and a novella (On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World, Nouvella). Her fiction has been included in the Pushcart Prizes, Best New American Voices, and the Best American Short Stories notable citations, and her personal essays have appeared in The New York Times, Antioch Review, and elsewhere. She is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Penn State, University Park.


Previous Visiting Writers: