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.

Upcoming Events

Justin Torres

Tuesday, January 30, 7:45 p.m., Xavier Room | Fromm Hall 

Justin Torres is the author of Blackouts (FSG, 2023), winner of the 2023 National Book Award in Fiction. He is also the author of We the Animals (Mariner Books, 2012), which won the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, was translated into fifteen languages, and was adapted into a feature film. He was named a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35,” a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library. His short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, LA Times Image Magazine, and Best American Essays. He lives in Los Angeles, and teaches at UCLA.

Justin Torres headshot

Airea Dee Matthews

Thursday, April 18, Xavier Room | Fromm Hall

Airea D. Matthews’ first collection of poems is the critically acclaimed Simulacra, which received the prestigious 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Matthews is also the author of Bread and Circus, a memoir-in-verse that combines poetry, prose, and imagery to explore the realities of economic necessity, marginal poverty, and commodification, through a personal lens. Matthews received a 2020 Pew Fellowship, a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and was awarded the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from the 2016 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Matthews earned her MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. In 2022, she was named Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate. She is an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College where she directs the poetry program.

Airea Dee Matthews headshot

Charif Shanahan

Thursday, April 18, Xavier Room | Fromm Hall

Charif Shanahan is the author of two collections of poetry: Trace Evidence: poems (Tin House, 2023), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and longlisted for the National Book Award for Poetry; and Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry/SIU Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and the Publishing Triangle's Thom Gunn Award. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University.

Charif Shanahan headshot

MK Chavez

August 21, 2023, 6:30 p.m., Xavier Room | Fromm Hall

MK Chavez is an Afro-Latinx writer, educator, multi-disciplinary artist, and curator. Chavez co-directs Berkeley Poetry Festival and is co-founder of Lyrics & Dirges. 

Chavez's writing explores identity, social injustice, environmental degradation, horror cinema, magic and ritual, and has been recognized with a Pen Oakland Josephine Miles award, San Francisco Foundation/Nomadic Press Literary Award, and is a 2023 was named a YBCA 100 fellow. Chavez’s literary offerings include Dear Animal, Mothermorphosis, the lyric essay chapbook A Brief History of the Selfie, and Virgin Eyes. Recent work can be found among the trees in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park through the Voices of the Trees Project. 

MK Chavez

Lauren Markham

August 21, 2023, 7 p.m., Maraschi Room | Fromm Hall

Lauren Markham is the author of the 2017 award-winning The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life. Her essays and reportage regularly appears in outlets such as the Atlantic, Harper's, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazineand VQR, where she is a contributing editor. She has spent over fifteen years working at the intersection of education and immigration. A Map of Future Ruins: On Borders and Belonging is forthcoming from Riverhead in Spring 2024.

Lauren Markham

Nina Schuyler

August 21, 2023, 7 p.m., Maraschi Room | Fromm Hall

Nina Schuyler’s novel, Afterword, was published in May 2023 by Clash Books and was named a top book by Alta Journal and Bay City News. Her short story collection, In this Ravishing World, won the W.S. Porter Prize for Short Story Collections and The Prism Prize for Climate Literature and will be published in 2024. Her novel, The Translator, won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for General Fiction and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Writing Prize.

Nina Schuyler

Toby Altman

November 7, 2023, 7:45 p.m., Maraschi Room | Fromm Hall

Toby Altman is the author of Jewel Box (Essay Press, 2025), Discipline Park (Wendy’s Subway, 2023), and Arcadia, Indiana (Plays  Inverse, 2017). He has held fellowships from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts, MacDowell, and the National Endowment for the Arts, where he was a 2021 Poetry Fellow. He teaches at Beloit College.

Toby Altman

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