Pulitzer and National Book Award Finalist Kicks Off Writers Series

Jos Charles, visiting writer UC Davis
Jos Charles

The UC Davis Department of English Creative Writing Reading Series starts Nov. 18 with Jos Charles, whose poetry collection feeld was a 2019 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and longlisted for a National Book Award. Charles’ writing has been described as “Chaucerian English translated into the digital 21st century” and “a lyrical unraveling of the circuitry of gender and speech.”

“My initial attempt was to think of something speculative — something like speculative fiction, or adjacent to speculative fiction, in a poetic world,” Charles said in an interview with Bomb magazine. “I set out to construct a world with a language adjacent to ours that would reveal things about our world with a focus on transness.”

feeld was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, won the National Poetry series, and was selected as one of the best poetry collections of 2018 by The New Yorker.

Charles is the founding editor of THEM, the first trans-literary journal in the United States. She earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Arizona and is a doctoral candidate in English at UC Irvine.

Charles' visit is co-sponsored by the UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center.

The series is co-sponsored by the UC Davis Library. It continues in 2020 with a wide range of writers, including poets who are also visual artists, novelists and non-fiction writers exploring immigration, race, love, pop culture and language. Readings take place at 7 p.m. (with one exception) in the Peter J. Shields Library and are free and open to the public. The English department, part of the College of Letters and Science, began offering a master of fine arts in creative writing this year.

Jan. 14: Aisha Sabatini Sloan

Aisha Sloan picture, writer
Aisha Sloan

Sloan is author of the essay collections Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit and The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White. Sloan’s writing about race and current events is often coupled with analysis of art, film and pop culture. 

She studied English literature at Carleton College, then earned a master’s degree in cultural studies and studio art from New York University and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Arizona. She is the first  Visiting Professor of Creative Nonfiction at the University of Michigan.

March 3 (4:30 p.m.): Chia-Chia Lin and Wystan Owen

chia-chia Lin writer
Chia-Chia Lin

Lin is the author of The Unpassing, a 2019 novel about a Taiwanese immigrant family struggling to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. It was an Editor’s Choice in The New York Times and shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, NewYorker.com and The New York Times.

Owen is the author of Other People's Love Affairs: Stories, named a best book of 2018 by Amazon and The Washington Independent Review of Books. His fiction and essays have appeared in A Public Space, The American Scholar and LitHub. Owen is co-founder and publisher of The Bare Life Review, the only literary journal for immigrant and refugee writers.

April 22: Linda Norton and Stephanie Sauer

Linda Norton, writer
Linda Norton

Norton is the author of The Public Gardens: Poems and History, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and two chap-books. Wite Out, a memoir with poems and lyric essays, is due out next year. Norton has won a William Dickey Fellowship at San Francisco State University and a Creative Work Fund award. She is also a visual artist.

Sauer is the author of Almonds Are Members of the Peach Family and The Accidental Archives of the Royal Chicano Air Force, the latter a fictional work inspired by a real Sacramento-based arts movement. She is a founding editor of independent publishers Copilot Press and A Bolha Editora. Sauer earned a master of fine arts degree in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her artworks have been exhibited at the de Young Museum, the Center for Book Arts in New York and the National Library of Baghdad.