Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Department of English Visiting Writer Series

Visiting Writer Series

Fall 2016

Eileen Pollack

Literary Reading
Wednesday, October 19
5:00 p.m., Museum of Art


Eileen Pollack is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction whose novel, Breaking and Entering, won the Grub Street National Book Prize and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection. She also is the author of Paradise, New York, a novel, and two collections of short fiction. Her creative nonfiction includes Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull and The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still A Boys’ Club. She teaches in the Masters of Fine Arts Program at the University of Michigan.

This event is co-sponsored by the School of Biological Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost, and the Common Reading Program.


Taryn Fagerness

“How to Get a Literary Agent/How to Be a Literary Agent”
Wednesday, November 9
12:00 noon, Honors Hall Lounge


Taryn Fagerness is the owner of Taryn Fagerness Agency, a literary agency based in Tacoma, Washington, which she founded in 2009. Prior to starting her own agency, she worked at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency in Del Mar, California as an agent and subsidiary rights manager. She graduated from Washington State University Honors College in 2002 (Go Cougs!) and went on to attend the New York University Summer Publishing Institute.

This event is co-sponsored by the Honors College.

Editing and Publishing, a week-long 1-credit course

November 7-9, 2016, 6:00-8:30 p.m. Meets in the Bundy Reading Room, Avery Hall. In this hands-on class, veteran literary agent Taryn Fagerness will teach students how to attract a literary agent to their work and the pitfalls to avoid on their journey to publication. Topics covered include: the art of writing a proposal, how to put together a list of agents to approach, current trends, and how to write the all-important query letter. Ms. Fagerness will also discuss how to get started in the publishing business as a career, sharing insider tips and offering insights from her 18 years in the industry.

Spring 2017

Rebecca Gayle Howell

Poetry Reading/Performance
Thursday, February 23
5:00 p.m., Museum of Art


Rebecca Gayle Howell is the author of Render /An Apocalypse, a 2014 finalist for ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year. She is also the translator of Amal al-Jubouri’s Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation. The book was named a 2011 Best Book of Poetry by Library Journal and shortlisted for Three Percent’s 2012 Best Translated Book Award. Native to Kentucky, Howell is the Poetry Editor at Oxford American.

This event is co-sponsored by the Common Reading Program and Lewis and Clark State College.


Rachael Mason

“Women in Comedy”
Wednesday, April 5
5:00 p.m., CUB Auditorium

Rachael Mason is Head of Advanced Improvisation for The Second City. She began her career in improvisation at Skidmore College, home of the National College Comedy Festival, with the Ad-Liberal Artists, and then moved to Chicago to study improv comedy with Del Close. She trained and performed at The Second City, The Annoyance, and iO. Currently she performs with The Second City Improv Allstars and The Boys.

This event is co-sponsored by the Common Reading Program.

Comedy Writing, a week-long 1-credit course

April 3-6, 2017, 6:00-8:30 p.m. Meets in the Bundy Reading Room, Avery Hall. In this course, comedy writer and improv teacher Rachael Mason will lead students in comedy writing, from creating memorable characters who drive the scene to the building blocks of comedy structure. Mason will touch on universal comedy techniques as students create sketches, monologues, and character pieces through writing exercises. She will build on her long expertise as one of the best comedy teachers in Chicago.

Sharman Apt Russell

Science Fiction Reading
Thursday, April 20
5:00 p.m., Bundy Reading Room


Sharman Apt Russell is an award-winning science/nature writer who also writes science fiction. Her eco-science fiction novel Knocking on Heaven’s Door came out in 2016. Her new nonfiction book Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World won the 2016 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing, the WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction, a New Mexico/Arizona Finalist Award, and was listed by The Guardian as one of ten top nature books in 2014.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Idaho English Department.



The WSU Visiting Writer Series brings noted poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction to campus for creative readings, class visits, workshops, and collaborative exchanges across intellectual and artistic disciplines.

For more information about the series, please contact Debbie Lee.
Visiting Writers Series Logo



Previous Visiting Writers:

Kevin Willmott

Justin Torres

Brenda Hillman

Rick Bass

William Cronon

W. Scott Olson

Rebecca Brown

Cecil Giscombe

Kathleen Flenniken

David Gates

Eileen Myles

Afaa Michael Weaver

Ilya Kaminsky

Donald Revell

Claudia Keelan

Kevin Goodan

Rolf Potts

David Huddle

Galway Kinnell

Anne Waldman

Hoa Nguyen

Kate Greenstreet

Kaia Sand

Marilyn Chin

Xi Chuan

Rusty Morrison

Maryrose Larkin

Willis Barnstone

Ceiridwen Terrill

Ted Tremper

Dinah Lenney

Marcia Parlow

Terry Tempest Williams

Brooke Williams

Stephanie Lenox

H.K. Hummel

Justin Torres