Visiting Writers Series • Spring 2023

Visiting Writers Series • Spring 2023
Emily Mitchell kicks off the Spring 2023 Visiting Writers Series on Thursday, February 2

George Mason University’s Creative Writing Program joins Mason’s University Libraries and Watershed Lit in presenting the Spring 2023 Visiting Writers Series, which will feature two writers each in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Writers will meet for virtual afternoon workshops with students from Mason’s MFA program in creative writing and will then participate in virtual programs that same evening—open to the public and combining brief readings and conversation with hosts from Mason’s creative writing community.

All evening programs will begin at 7:30 p.m. either in person in the Fenwick Library Reading Room on Mason’s Fairfax Campus or on Crowdcast as indicated below.

Visit for updated information ahead.



Thursday, February 2—Fenwick Library

Emily Mitchell is the author of a novel, The Last Summer of the World (Norton, 2007), and a collection of short stories, Viral (Norton, 2015). Her short fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Ploughshares, The Sun, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, New Statesman (UK), and Guernica. She has been the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, Ucross Foundation, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Breadloaf Writers Conference and the Sewanee Writers Conference. She serves as fiction editor for New England Review and teaches in the MFA program at University of Maryland.



Thursday, February 16—Crowdcast

Cheswayo Mphanza was born in Lusaka, Zambia and raised in Chicago, Illinois. His work has been featured in the New England Review, the Paris Review, Hampden-Sydney Review, Boston Review, Lolwe, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Hurston/Wright Foundation, Callaloo, Cave Canem, and Columbia University. A finalist for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, a recipient of the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers, winner of the 2020 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest, and a Creative Capital 2022 awardee, his debut collection The Rinehart Frames (University of Nebraska Press), is the winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. He earned his MFA from Rutgers-Newark and currently serves as the editor in chief for Lampblack. He is working on a novel.



Thursday, March 2— Fenwick Library

Lawrence Weschler was for over twenty years (1981-2002) a staff writer at The New Yorker, where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He recently graduated to director emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, where he was director from 2001-2013. He is also the artistic director emeritus, still actively engaged, with the Chicago Humanities Festival, and was served for two years as curator for the New York Live Ideas Festival. His books of political reportage include The Passion of Poland (1984); A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers (1990); and Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas (1998). His “Passions and Wonders” series currently comprises Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin (1982); David Hockney’s Cameraworks (1984); Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (1995); A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces (1998); Boggs: A Comedy of Values (1999); Vermeer in Bosnia (2004); and Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences (2006). Mr. Wilson was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Everything that Rises received the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Recent books include a considerably expanded edition of Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, a companion volume, True to Life: Twenty Five Years of Conversation with David Hockney; and his latest collection Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative. He is a contributing editor to McSweeney’s, The Threepeeny Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review and has recently been contributing regularly to Vanity Fair, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and The Believer.



Thursday, March 23—location t.b.d.

Casey Cep is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, which was a New York Times best-seller and named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, The Economist, TIME, and President Barack Obama. Cep is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She lives with her family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.



Thursday, April 6—Fenwick Library

Sarah Thankam Mathews grew up between Oman and India, immigrating to the United States at seventeen. She is a recipient of a Best American Short Stories 2020 award and fellowships from the Asian American Writers Workshop and the Iowa Writers Workshop. All This Could Be Different is her first novel; it has been shortlisted for the Discover Prize and the National Book Award.




Thursday, April 20—Fenwick Library

Dong Li is a multilingual poet and translates from the Chinese, English, French, and German. Born and raised in China, he was educated at Deep Springs College and Brown University. His poems appear in Conjunctions, Fence, Kenyon Review, POETRY, Poetry Daily, among others. He has received fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude, Camargo and Humboldt Foundations, MacDowell, PEN/Heim Translation Fund, Yaddo, and others. His debut collection of poetry The Orange Tree (University of Chicago Press, March 2023) is the inaugural winner of the Phoenix Emerging Poet Book Prize.