Writing Now Reading Series

Structured around the work of several visiting contemporary writers, the Writing Now Reading Series and Seminar is a required course for CalArts MFA creative writing graduate students that showcases vibrant new modalities for writing that refresh today’s interconnected creative fields. Writing Now offers inspiring points of contact and critical conversation about writing process and practice between visiting writers, students and local audiences, with an eye for fostering the collaborative, the future-forward, and the unexpected in literature.

This fall, the series features readings and workshops with writers whose work is connected to the Creative Writing Program’s concentrations: Image & Text, Documentary Strategies, Writing & Performativity, and Writing & Its Publics.

How to Attend the Writing Now Readings Series

Readings will take place in Butler Building BB#4-G. Any location changes will be announced to the RSVP list and on the event pages.

RSVP Here 

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Spring 2023

Writing Now Reading Series: Percival Everett

Writing Now Reading Series: Percival Everett

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CalArts Campus


Image courtesy of the author.

The New Yorker recently wrote of Percival Everett that he “has one of the best poker faces in contemporary American literature. The author of twenty-two novels, he excels at the unblinking execution of extraordinary conceits.” Since that article was published Everett has published another novel, Dr. No, which like so many of Everett’s novel could likely only have been conceived in a universe where Percival Everett writes novels. Its protagonist is a brilliant and neurodiverse professor of mathematics who goes by Wala Kitu. (Wala means “nothing” in Tagalog, and Kitu is Swahili for “nothing.”) He is an expert on nothing: he is an expert whose area of study is nothing. This makes him a compelling partner for the aspiring Supervillain John Sill, who wants to break into Fort Knox to steal not gold bars but a shoebox containing Nothing. Sill’s desire to become a literal Bond villain turns out of have originated in some real all-American villainy related to the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. As Sill says, “Professor, think of it this way. This country has never given anything to us and it never will. We have given everything to it. I think it’s time we gave nothing back.” Dr. No follows closely on Booker Prize finalist The Trees, which revisits the story of Emmett Till and the history of lynching in America in a work that NPR described as “a novel of compelling contrasts: frank, pitiless prose leavened by dark humor; a setting that is simultaneously familiar and strange; a genre-defying, masterful blend of the sacred and the profane.” Everett’s many other works are equally original, unsettling and often hilarious: like his novel I am Not Sidney Poitier, about a protagonist named “Not Sidney Poitier.”  He is a Professor at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.

Fall 2022

Writing Now Reading Series: Raquel Gutiérrez

Raquel Gutiérrez is an arts critic/writer, poet, and educator. Her/their new book Brown Neown (Coffee House Press, 2022) is an ekphrastic memoir that considers what it means to be a Latinx artist during the Trump era.

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Writing Now Reading Series: Brontez Purnell [Canceled]

Brontez Purnell is a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. He is the author of a graphic novel, a novella, a children's book, and the novel Since I Laid My Burden Down.

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Writing Now Reading Series: Carribean Fragoza

A graduate of CalArts MFA writing program, Carribean Fragoza’s first book is the story collection, Eat the Mouth that Feeds You, and her arts/culture reviews and essays have been published in online national and international magazines such as Aperture, Los Angeles Review of Books, LA Weekly, KCET, Culture Strike, and Tropics of Meta. She is also the founder and co-director of the South El Monte Art Posse (SEMAP), a multi-disciplinary arts collective.

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Writing Now Reading Series: Aida Salazar

Aida Salazar is an award-winning author, arts activist, and translator whose writings explore issues of identity and social justice. She is the author of middle grade verse novels The Moon Sithin and Land of the Cranes and the picture book, In the Spirit of a Dream. Her forthcoming books include the historical fiction novel, A Seed in the Sun; the bio picture book, Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Mexican Freedom Fighter; and the anthology Calling the Moon.

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Writing Now Reading Series: Ariana Reines

Ariana Reines is a poet and Obie-winning playwright from Salem Massachusetts. Her most recent book, A Sand Book, won the 2020 Kingsley Tufts Prize and was longlisted for the National Book Award. She is currently Mary Routt Endowed Chair in Writing at Scripps College & founding director of Invisible College, an evolving experiment in the study of poetry & sacred texts.

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Writing Now Reading Series: Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch is the bestselling author of the novels Thrust, The Book of Joan, and The Small Backs of Children, the short story collection Verge, the anti-memoir The Chronology of Water, and The Misfit's Manifesto, based on her TED Talk "On the Beauty of Being a Misfit," now with well over four million views. She founded Corporeal Writing in Portland, OR. She now lives in the woods next to the ocean.

This is a virtual event that will be screened in Generator 201/202 with a reception to follow. Reading(s) will be streamed via the Creative Writing Program's YouTube Channel.

Event Details

For more information on the Writing Now Reading Series or for accessibility questions, please contact the Visiting Artist Coordinator at csartistcoordinator@calarts.edu