Visiting Writers

In partnership with the EWU’s MFA in Creative Writing, Get Lit! Programs is a proud sponsor of the 2017-2018 Visiting Writers Series. This season includes a lineup of seven writers from across the country who have published award-winning works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Each writer’s visit will be held at Spark Central (1214 W Summit Pkwy, Spokane, WA, 99201). All events are FREE, open to the public, and will include a reading, Q&A, and book signing.

Please direct all questions regarding the Visiting Writers Series to Get Lit! Programs at


2017-2018 Visiting Writers

All events begin at 7:30 unless otherwise noted

October 27th, 2017 Judy Blunt
November 17th, 2017 Darin Strauss
January 19th, 2018 Jesse Graves
February 16th, 2018 Krys Lee
April 13th, 2018 Emily Van Kley
April 28th, 2018 Dan Chaon
April 28th, 2018 Nance Van Winckel
 May 11th, 2018  Laura Kasischke


Judy Blunt

October 27th, 2017 @ Spark Central

Judy Blunt spent more than 30 years on wheat and cattle ranches in northeastern Montana, before leaving that life to attend the University of Montana. Her best-selling memoir, Breaking Clean, was published by A.A. Knopf in 2002 to wide critical acclaim, including a PEN/Jerard Fund Award for nonfiction, the 2001 Whiting Writers’ Award, 2003 Mountains and Plains Bookseller’s Award, Willa Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year, and a 2004 National Endowment for the Arts writer’s fellowship.  Blunt received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2005.  She teaches creative nonfiction at the the University of Montana.

Darin Strauss

November 17th, 2017 @ Spark Central

Darin Strauss, a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a winner of the American Library Association’s Alix Award and The National Book Critics Circle Award, is an internationally-bestselling writer and the author of the novels Chang & Eng, The Real McCoy, and More Than It Hurts You, and the NBCC-winning memoir Half a Life. These have been New York Times Notable Books, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, Chicago Tribune, and NPR Best Books of the Year, among others. Darin has been translated into fourteen languages and published in nineteen countries, and he is a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU’s creative writing program.

Jesse Graves

January 19th, 2018 @ Auntie’s Bookstore

Jesse Graves grew up in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, about 40 miles north of Knoxville, in a community his ancestors settled in the 1780s. He is an Associate Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at East Tennessee State University, where he won the 2012 New Faculty Award from the College of Arts & Sciences. His first poetry collection, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, won the 2011 Weatherford Award in Poetry from Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, as well as a Book of the Year Award from the Appalachian Writers’ Association. He was given the 2013 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. His second collection of poems, Basin Ghosts, also won the 2014 Weatherford Award in Poetry, making him the first poet to win the award more than one time. His poems have appeared in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Connecticut Review, and in the Poem of the Week feature for Missouri Review. He is editor of several volumes of poetry and scholarship, including three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology (Contemporary Appalachia, Tennessee, and North Carolina), Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston, and the forthcoming Complete Poems of James Agee (University of Tennessee Press, 2017). Graves was awarded the 2014 Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing from Cornell University, and the 2015 James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Krys Lee

February 16th, 2018 @ Spark Central

Krys Lee is the author of the short story collection Drifting House and the recent debut novel How I Became a North Korean, both published by Viking, Penguin Random House. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association, and finalist for Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the BBC International Story Prize. Her fiction, journalism, and literary translations have appeared in Granta, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, San Francisco Chronicle, Corriere della Sera, and The Guardian, among others. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Yonsei University, Underwood International College, in South Korea.

Emily Van Kley

April 13th, 2018 @ Spark Central

Emily Van Kley was raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula but now lives with her partner in Olympia, Washington, where she writes, works at a cooperative grocery, practices aerial acrobatics, and nurses a near-pathological longing for snow. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications and anthologies, including The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Mississippi Review, Best New Poets 2013, and Best American Poetry 2017. Emily holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University and has taught composition and creative writing at the high school and college levels. Her first book, The Cold and the Rust, is forthcoming from Persea in spring of 2018.

Dan Chaon

April 28th, 2018 @ Montvale Events Center, 12PM

Dan Chaon’s most recent book is Ill Will,  a novel.   Other works include the short story collection Stay Awake (2012), a finalist for the Story Prize; the national bestseller Await Your Reply and Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award. Chaon’s fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize Anthologies, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, the Shirley Jackson Award, and he was the recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chaon lives in Ohio and teaches at Oberlin College.

Nance Van Winckel

April 28th, 2018 @ Montvale Events Center, 12PM

Nance Van Winckel is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Our Foreigner, winner of the Pacific Coast Poetry Series Prize (Beyond Baroque Press, 2017), Book of No Ledge (Pleiades Press Visual Poetry Series, 2016), and Pacific Walkers (U. of Washington Press, 2014). She’s also published five books of fiction, including Ever Yrs, a novel in the form of a scrapbook (Twisted Road Publications, 2014), and Boneland: Linked Stories (U. of Oklahoma Press, 2013). She teaches in the MFA Programs at Eastern Washington University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. The recipient of two NEA poetry fellowships, the Paterson Fiction Prize, Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Award, a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes, Nance lives with her husband Rik Nelson in Spokane, Washington.

Laura Kasischke

May 11th, 2018 @ Spark Central

Laura Kasischke was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, 2012. She has published nine novels, three of which have been made into feature films—The Life Before Her Eyes, Suspicious River, White Bird in a Blizzard—and eight books of poetry, most recently Space, in Chains.  Her new poetry collection, The Infinitesimals was published in May, 2014. She has also published the short story collection If a Stranger Approaches You. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as several Pushcart Prizes and numerous poetry awards and her writing has appeared in Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Harper’s and The New Republic. She has a son and step-daughter and lives with her family and husband in Chelsea, Michigan.  She is Allan Seager Colleagiate Professor of English Language & Literature at the University of Michigan.  

Past Authors


Alexis Smith

alexis-smith1September 30th, 2016

Alexis M. Smith is the author of two novels, Glaciers and Marrow Island. Glaciers was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and a World Book Night 2013 selection. In 2015 she received a grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council and a fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission. Her interests include trail running, beach combing, bird watching, and jam making. She lives with her wife and son in Portland, Oregon.  She is a visiting professor at EWU’s MFA program in creative writing.

Kristin Dombek

dombekOctober 14th, 2016

Kristin Dombek’s journalism and essays can be found in The Paris Review, Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, Vice, and n+1, where she writes an advice column called The Help Desk. She has been the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award for nonfiction and an n+1 Writer’s Fellowship, and her essays have been anthologized in Best American Essays and elsewhere. She lives in New York City and teaches in the Princeton Writing Program.

Heather McHugh

mchughOctober 29th, 2016 

Heather McHugh is the author of eight books of poetry and four books of poetry in translation. She was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” for her poetry in 2009.  She has won numerous awards including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, the O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize, the Griffin Prize, one of the first United States Artists Awards, a Guggenheim fellowship and a Witter Bynner fellowship. For over 20 years, she has served as a visiting faculty member in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and since 1984 as the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle.

        Joe Wilkins

wilkinsNovember 11th, 2016

Joe Wilkins is the author of a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing up on the Big Dry, winner of a 2014 GLCA New Writers Award, and two collections of poems, Notes from the Journey Westward and Killing the Murnion Dogs. His third full-length collection, When We Were Birds, part of the Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series edited by Billy Collins, was released with the University of Arkansas Press in the spring of 2016. Wilkins was born and raised in eastern Montana. After graduating from Gonzaga University with a degree in computer engineering, he spent two years teaching ninth grade pre-algebra in the Mississippi Delta with Teach For America. He then went on to earn his MFA in creative writing from the University of Idaho, where he worked with the poet Robert Wrigley and the memoirist Kim Barnes. Wilkins now lives with his wife, son, and daughter in western Oregon, where he teaches writing at Linfield College.

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

bynumFebruary 24, 2017

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by the New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

             Megan Kruse

March 9, 2017

Megan Kruse grew up in the Pacific Northwest and currently lives in Olympia. She studied creative writing at Oberlin College and earned her MFA at the University of Montana. Her work has appeared widely in journals and anthologies, and her debut novel, “Call Me Home,” was released from Hawthorne Books in March 2015, with an introduction by Elizabeth Gilbert. She teaches fiction at Eastern Oregon University’s Low-Residency MFA program, Hugo House, and Gotham Writers Workshop. She was the recipient of a 2016 Pacific Northwest Book Award, and one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 for 2015.


Liz Kay

March 17, 2017

Liz Kakayy is a founding editor of Spark Wheel Press and the journal burntdistrict. Liz holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska, where she was the recipient of both an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Wendy Fort Foundation Prize for exemplary work in poetry. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Nimrod, Willow Springs, The New York Quarterly, Iron Horse Literary Review, Redactions, and Sugar House Review. Liz’s debut novel, Monsters: A Love Story, was published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in June of 2016. She lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and 3 sons.

John Rybicki

rybickiGet Lit! Festival, date TBD

John Rybicki is the author of three poetry collections, We Bed Down into Water, Traveling at High Speeds, and When All the World Is Old as well as the short Yellow Haired Girl with Spider. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Ecotone, FailBetter, and Bomb, among many others, and have been reprinted in Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize. He also occasionally spreads his wings over Alma College, teaching poetry as a Writer in Residence. When he is not teaching, he changes tires, paints houses, and swings a hammer. He lives in Augusta, Michigan with his son, Martell.


November 13th, 2015 Linda Bierds
November 20th, 2015 S.M. Hulse
December 4th, 2015 Bethany Schultz Hurst
January 22nd, 2016 Lily Hoang
February 26, 2016 Lidia Yuknavitch
April 14th, 2016 Paul Harding
April 14th, 2016 Nance Van Winckel
April 29th, 2016 William Finnegan
May 13th, 2016 Elizabeth Spires


October 4th, 2014 Joseph Salvatore
February 6, 2015 William Wright and Andrea Scarpino
February 20, 2015 Emily Rapp
March 6, 2015 Elizabeth Graver
April 24, 2015 Walter Kirn
May 15, 2015 Mary Szybist and Michele Glazer
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