Our Reading Series presents free literary readings and discussions that are open to the public. The series is co-sponsored by USF’s MFA program and English department.

MFA Spring 2023 Reading Series

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

February 7, 7:45pm
Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, which received a Lambda Literary Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE, the Prix des libraires du Quebec, and the Prix France Inter-JDD. Named one of the best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Audible.com, Bustle, Book Riot, The Times of London, The Guardian, Paris Match, Lire, Telerama, and The Sydney Press Herald, it was an Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, long-listed for the Gordon Burn Prize, short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, a finalist for a New England Book Award and a Goodreads Choice Award, and has been translated into eleven languages. Their next book, Both and Neither, is gender-bending and genre-bending work of memoir, history, cultural analysis, trans re-imaginings, and international road trip about life beyond the binary. 

Alex Marzano

Aaron Shurin

Wednesday, March 1, 7:30pm 
Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall

Aaron Shurin, former Director and Professor Emeritus in the USF MFA in Writing Program, is the author of fourteen books of poetry and prose. His most recent collection is Unbound: A book of AIDS, first published twenty-five years ago and now released in a new expanded edition from Nightboat Books. Shurin’s work has appeared in over forty national and international anthologies, from The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry to Italy’s Nuova Poesia Americana: San Francisco, and has been supported by grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, The California Arts Council, The San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Gerbode Foundation. A pioneer in both LGBTQ studies and innovative verse, Shurin has written widely about poetic theory and compositional practice, as well as personal narratives on sexual identity, gender fluidity, and the AIDS epidemic. 

Sponsored by the Arts & Sciences Dean's office, co-sponsored by the MFA in Writing Program and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Aaron Shurin

Arisa White & Derek Mong

Thursday, April 27, 2023
Xavier Auditorium, Fromm Hall, 7:45pm

Arisa White is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Colby College. She is the author of the recent collections Who’s Your Daddy and You're the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, co-editor of Home Is Where You Queer Your Heart, and co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice Series for young readers. Her poetry is widely published and her collections have been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Lambda Literary Award, and have won the Per Diem Poetry Prize, Maine Literary Award, Nautilus Book Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, and Golden Crown Literary Award.  As the creator of the Beautiful Things Project, Arisa curates poetic collaborations that are rooted in Black queer women’s ways of knowing. She is a Cave Canem fellow and serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press, as well as the Community Advisory Board for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

Arisa White

Derek Mong is the author of two poetry collections from Saturnalia Books, Other Romes and The Identity Thief, and a chapbook, The Ego and the Empiricist, from Two Sylvias Press. Individual poems, essays, and translations have appeared widely: the LA Times, the Boston Globe, the Kenyon ReviewBlackbird, Free InquiryPleiadesVerse DailyAt Length, and the New England Review. He and his wife, Anne O. Fisher, received the 2018 Cliff Becker Translation Award for The Joyous Science: Selected Poems of Maxim Amelin (White Pine Press). The recipient of fellowships and awards from Willipa Bay AiR, the University of Louisville, the Missouri Review, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, he is currently an Associate Professor of English at Wabash College. He writes for Zócalo Public Square.

Derek Mong

MFA Fall 2022 Reading Series

Jaime Cortez

Thursday, September 22, 7:45 p.m.
Xavier Room, Fromm Hall

Jaime Cortez is a writer and visual artist based in Watsonville, California, and the San Francisco Bay Area. His fiction, essays, and drawings have appeared in diverse publications that include "Kindergarten: Experimental Writing For Children" (edited 2013 by Dana Teen Lomax for Black Radish Press), "No Straight Lines," a 40-year compendium of LGBT comics (edited 2012 by Justin Hall for Fantagraphics Press), "Street Art San Francisco" (edited 2009 by Annice Jacoby for Abrams Press), and "Infinite Cities," an experimental atlas of San Francisco (edited 2010 by Rebecca Solnit for UC Berkeley Press). He wrote and illustrated the graphic novel "Sexile" for AIDS Project Los Angeles in 2003. His first short story collection, "Gordo," was published to national acclaim in 2021 by Black Cat, an imprint of Grove Atlantic. "Gordo" was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Fiction, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Golden Poppy Award. Cortez received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and his MFA from UC Berkeley. 


Fall Faculty Reading


Ingrid Rojas Contreras, K.M. Soehnlein, Maw Shein Win

Tuesday, November 15, 7:45pm
Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall

Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and is the author of the novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree, a silver medal winner in first fiction from the California Book Awards, and a memoir, The Man Who Could Move Clouds, out this summer from Doubleday. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Buzzfeed, Nylon, and Guernica, among others. She's received numerous awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, VONA, Hedgebrook, The Camargo Foundation, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture.

KM Soehnlein

K.M. Soehnlein is the author of the novels The World of Normal Boys, You Can Say You Knew Me When, and Robin and Ruby, along with essays and journalism in numerous publications. He is the recipient of the Lambda Literary Award, Henfield Prize, and SFFILM Rainin Grant in Screenwriting. He studied film and photography at Ithaca College and received an MFA from San Francisco State University in creative writing. Raised in New Jersey, he lived in New York City in the late ’80s and early ’90s, participating in direct action with ACT UP and cofounding Queer Nation. These years were the inspiration for his novel Army of Lovers, released on Oct. 11, 2022.

Maw Shein Win

Maw Shein Win's most recent poetry book is Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn) nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Poetry, longlisted for the PEN America Open Book Award, and shortlisted for the California Independent Booksellers Alliance's Golden Poppy Award for Poetry. Win's previous collections include Invisible Gifts (Manic D Press) and chapbooks Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA) and Score and Bone (Nomadic Press). She is the inaugural poet laureate of El Cerrito (2016-2018) and often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers. mawsheinwin.com


The Emerging Writers Festival

Co-sponsored by the English department and MFA program, the Emerging Writers Festival features two days of readings by five up-and-coming writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. On the second day of the festival, the authors hold a panel discussion on their experiences navigating life as a writer and the complexities of the publishing industry.

USF MFA students gather in all-day writing retreat.

Reading Series Archive