UCSC announces lineup for Winter 2014 Living Writers Series

reyna grande
Reyna Grande
sina grace
Sina Grace
molly antopol
Molly Antopol
michael scherer
Michael Scherer

Award-winning author and alumna Reyna Grande will kick off the winter 2014 installment of UCSC’s Living Writers reading series on January 9 at the Humanities Lecture Hall.

Grande is one of a number of notable UCSC graduates who will return to the campus early next year to give readings and talk about their success in the writing world.

“It's an alumni series,” noted Micah Perks, professor of literature and co-director of the UCSC Creative Writing Program. “We want to celebrate the many accomplishments of our writing alums."

“We're bringing established writers and writers just starting out, editors, journalists, novelists, sci fi writers, cartoonists and memoirists," Perks added.

"We hope to inspire our students to think expansively and creatively about the possibilities of a writing life.”

Highlights of the series this winter include Zoe Ruiz, managing editor of The Rumpus; Molly Antopol, who just won an award from the National Book Award association for her debut novel The UnAmericans; and Michael Scherer, Time magazine's Washington D.C. Bureau Chief.

“We also have beloved alums Martha Mendoza, Reyna Grande, Sesshu Foster and Elizabeth McKenzie returning,” said Perks.

All readings will take place on Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the Humanities Lecture Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Winter 2014 lineup:

January 9:

Novelist/memoirist Reyna Grande is the author of the novels Across a Hundred Mountains and Dancing with Butterflies, for which she received an American Book Award (2007) and an International Latino Book Award (2010). Her most recent book, The Distance Between Us, is a memoir about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience,” the book was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award.

January 23:

Writer/performer Beth Lisick is the author of five books: the memoir collection Yokohama Threeway and Other Small Shames, the New York Times bestselling comic memoir Everybody Into the Pool, the gonzo self-help manifesto Helping Me Help Myself, the story collection This Too Can Be Yours, and the performance poetry/story collection Monkey Girl. Since 1999, she has been collaborating with writer/comedian Tara Jepsen on stage and video projects. They have performed at Dixon Place, UCB Theatre, and SF MOMA, and screened their films at OUTfest, Frameline, and the Mix Film Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paulo, Brasil.

January 30

Fantasy writer Rachel Swirsky has published over 50 short stories in venues including The New Haven Review, Tor.com and Clarkesworld Magazine. Her speculative fiction has been nominated for most of the genre's major awards-- including the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award, and in 2010, she won the Nebula Award for her novella The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window. Her second collection, How The World Became Quiet: Myths Of The Past, Present And Future, was published by Subterranean Press in late September.


Sina Grace is the author and illustrator of the indie mini-series Books with Pictures, the neo-noir Cedric Hollows in Dial M for Magic, and the autobiographical one-shot, Self-Obsessed. Not My Bag, which recounts a story of retail hell, is his new book from Image Comics. He lives in Los Angeles, where he can be found in coffee shops working on his revenge video game, Burn the Orphanage.

February 6

Panel of Editors:

Zoë Ruiz is the managing editor of The Rumpus. She studied creative writing and Spanish literature at UC Santa Cruz, and has worked at 826 Valencia, 826 LA, and Found magazine. Ruiz curates READINGS, a Los Angeles based reading series, and has organized numerous literary events, including KCRW and McSweeney’s “Wayne Coyne’s Human Head-Shaped Tumor” listening party. Her writing has appeared in the Utne Reader, The Weeklings, and Salon.

Elizabeth McKenzie is the author of Stop That Girl, which was short-listed for the Story Prize, and a novel, MacGregor Tells the World. Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Pushcart Prize Anthology, Threepenny Review, and has been recorded for NPR's Selected Shorts. She is currently managing editor of Catamaran Literary Reader and senior editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review.

Daniel Mirk was a staff writer for the satirical website The Onion from 2006 to 2012. He is one of the creators of the Peabody Award-winning Onion News Network web series, the IFC television series of the same name, and the Amazon Studios pilot, Onion News Empire. Mirk has also written for Comedy Central, Funny Or Die, and The Upright Citizens Brigade. In 2013, he was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the writing staff of the Comedy Central special Night Of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together For Autism Programs, hosted by Jon Stewart.

February 13

Panel of Journalists:

Martha Mendoza is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press national writer whose reports have won numerous awards and additionally prompted Congressional hearings, Pentagon investigations, and White House responses. She has reported for the AP since 1997, in Albuquerque, New York, and Mexico City. After graduating from UCSC, she was a 2001 Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a 2007 Ferris Professor for Humanities at Princeton University.

Nick Miroff is a correspondent for The Washington Post covering Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. He is also a senior correspondent for GlobalPost and a contributor to National Public Radio. Miroff earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley School of Journalism after graduating from UCSC, where he studied Spanish and Latin American literature. He grew up in Albany, New York.

Michael Scherer is Time magazine's Washington D.C. Bureau Chief. He joined the magazine in 2007 and became Time’s White House correspondent following the 2008 campaign. Scherer has written a number of cover stories in recent years, and won the 2012 National Press Club’s Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis for his series on how the Obama campaign harnessed technology to win the presidential race. Before Time, he worked as a Washington correspondent for both Salon.com and Mother Jones magazine.

February 27


Sesshu Foster has taught composition and literature in East L.A. for 25 years. He's also taught writing at the University of Iowa, the California Institute for the Arts, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and at UC Santa Cruz. His work has been published in The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry, Language for a New Century: Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond, and State of the Union: 50 Political Poems. His most recent books are the novel Atomik Aztex and the hybrid text World Ball Notebook.

Angel Dominguez is the founding editor of the Omni Writers Collective Press, the co-founding editor of the investigative journal, Tract/Trace, and the senior editor for The Bombay Gin literary journal. His work has appeared in The Bombay Gin, Omni Symposium Vol.1, and is forthcoming in the Berkeley Poetry Review. Most recently, he completed an interview chapbook Time-Scaping with Mary Burger, published by Pinball Press. Originally from Los Angeles, he received his BA in Poetry from UC Santa Cruz and is currently an MFA candidate at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

March 6

Novelist Molly Antopol teaches creative writing at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. She recently received an award from the National Book Award association for her debut novel, The UnAmericans. Her writing has appeared on NPR’s This American Life and in many publications, including One Story, Ecotone, American Short Fiction, Glimmer Train, Esquire and Mississippi Review Prize Stories. She currently lives in San Francisco and is at work on a new novel, The After Party.