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Writers & Scholars Series

Each year, the English Department hosts internationally-renowned writers and literary scholars who hold open class sessions, meet one-to-one with Literary Studies and Creative Writing students, and present their creative and scholarly work for the department, campus community, and general public. In recent years, we've partnered with Humanities Advisory, the Artists Series, and the Westerville Public Library to bring host visitors such as: 

  • Mark Doty (2010)
  • Christopher Merrill (2011)
  • Dorothy Allison (2012)
  • Alison Bechdel (2013)
  • Lennard Davis (2014)
  • Kenneth Goldsmith (2014)
  • Mat Johnson (2014)
  • Sandra Macpherson (2014)
  • Dana Renga (2015)
  • John Sitter (2015)
  • Timothy Corrigan (2015)
  • Christian Formoso (2015)

Recent Visiting Writers & Scholars


Paola Corso

Fiction Writer
Monday, Mar 28, 2016

Paola (P.J.) Corso is a community activist and award-winning author of seven books of fiction and poetry set in her native Pittsburgh where her Italian immigrant grandfather and father found work in the steel mill. Her newly released poetry books are The Laundress Catches Her Breath (2012), winner of the Tillie Olsen Creative Writing Award, and Once I Was Told the Air Was Not for Breathing (2012). She is the author of the novel in stories Catina's Haircut (2010), and her short story collection Giovanna's 86 Circles (2005) is a John Gardner Fiction Book Award Finalist and on the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association's "Top 40 Young Adult Fiction Titles List." Her other two poetry collections are Death by Renaissance (2004) and A Proper Burial  (2003). She is co- editor along with Dr. Nandita Ghosh of the 2007 “Politics of Water: A Confluence of Women's Voices” special issue of International Feminist Journal of Politics.

  • Open Class Session in Advanced Fiction Writing, 12:15-1:25, Roush 117
  • Literary Reading, 3-4:00 pm, Towers 117
rodriguez headshot

Emilio Rodriguez

Mon-Tues, Apr 4-5, 2016

Emilio Rodriguez is a theatre artist nomad who currently resides in Detroit. As a writer, he is proud to have his play Swimming While Drowning featured as part of the 2015 Latina/o Theatre Commons Carnaval of New Work and the 2015 Activate Midwest Festival. He has directed for Shakespeare in Detroit, Matrix Theatre, and Two Muses Theatre. As a producer, he is currently working on the Theatre Nova Michigan Playwrights' Festival, The Detroit Fringe Festival and the Women's Play Fest at Two Muses. Emilio is passionate about his work as a teaching artist in Southwest Detroit where he ensures that children of color are exposed to the arts from an early age. His plays address everything from implicit racism to lack of resources for LGBT youth of color and even the taboo topic of colorism within the Latino community.

  • Dos Voces: Chicana & Latino Writing from the Midwest: A Literary Reading with Iliana Rocha, Mon, Apr 4, 8:00 pm, Pit Theater (Campus Center basement)
  • Open Class Session in Playwriting, Tues, Apr 5, 10-11:45, Towers 122

Iliana Rocha

Mon-Tues, Apr 4-5, 2016

Iliana Rocha is originally from Texas and is currently a PhD candidate in English-Creative Writing at Western Michigan University. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from Arizona State University, where she was Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Her work was chosen for the Best New Poets 2014 anthology and has previously appeared in Blackbird, Yalobusha Review, Puerto del Sol, and Third Coast. Her first book, Karankawa, won the 2014 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and is published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

  • Dos Voces: Chicana & Latino Writing from the Midwest: A Literary Reading with Emilio Rodriguez, Mon, Apr 4, 8:00 pm, Pit Theater (Campus Center basement)
  • Open Class Session in Studies in Women's Literatures, Tues, Apr 5, 2-3:45, Roush 114

CANCELED: Claudia Rankine

Essayist, Poet, Critic

Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; Plot; The End of the Alphabet; and Nothing in Nature is Private. She won the PEN Open Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry—for Citizen, the first book ever to be named a finalist in both the poetry and criticism categories.

/ Department of English

Shannon Lakanen
Department Chair
Towers Hall 228

p / 614.823.1211
e / slakanen@otterbein.edu 

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