ALMA — A slate of poets, novelists and short-story authors will be offering public readings at the 2023 summer residency of the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program at Alma College.
S. Kirk Walsh, Rion Amilcar Scott, Mathieu Cailler and Matthew Dickman will perform readings of their work that are open to the public at Ballyhoo Books and Brew, 111 W. Superior St. The summer residency is scheduled for June 15-25 at the Wright-Leppien Opera House in downtown Alma.
“I heartily encourage the community to join us for these readings, which are free and open to the public,” said Sophfronia Scott, an award-winning author and director of the Alma College MFA program. “There is a world-class slate of talent, across different genres and topics, coming right to our backyard in downtown Alma. It’s going to be a wonderful way to spend a summer evening.”
Walsh is a novelist, an editor, and a teacher, who will give a public reading at 7 p.m., June 17. Walsh’s debut novel, The Elephant of Belfast, was inspired by true events that took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during World War II. Now in its fourth printing, the novel has generated praise from The New Yorker, The Christian Science Monitor, and others, as well as being selected for several top reading lists. She is now working on a second novel inspired by events that took place in Detroit during the 1930s and ’40s.
Scott is a short-story author who will give a public reading at 7 p.m., June 19. Scott is the author of the story collection, The World Doesn’t Require You, a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and winner of the 2020 Towson Prize for Literature. His debut story collection, Insurrections, was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been published in places such as The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, Best Small Fictions 2020 and The Rumpus, among others. His story, Shape-ups at Delilah’s, was published in Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020.
Cailler is an author of poetry and prose who will give a public reading at 7:30 p.m., June 21. Cailler is the winner of a Short Story America Prize, a Shakespeare Award, and a Best Microfiction Prize. He is the author of six books: the short-story collection, Loss Angeles, which has been honored by the Hollywood, New York, London, Paris, Best Book, and International Book Awards; the poetry collections, Catacombs of the Heart and May I Have This Dance?, winner of the New England Book Festival Poetry Prize; and the children’s books, The (Underappreciated) Life of Humphrey Hawley and Hi, I’m Night.
Dickman is a poet who will give a public reading at 7 p.m., June 24. Dickman is the author of All-American Poem, Mayakovsky’s Revolver, Wonderland and Husbandry. He is a recipient of the May Sarton Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, London Review of Books, and Esquire, among others.
In addition to the four visiting writers, faculty members within the MFA program are hosting guest reading events throughout the second half of June at Ballyhoo Books and Brew:
7 p.m., June 15: Anna Clark
7 p.m., June 16: Dhonielle Clayton
7 p.m., June 17: Robert Vivian
7 p.m., June 19: Leslie Contreras Schwartz
7 p.m., June 20: Karen Bender and Matthew Gavin Frank
7 p.m., June 21: Donald Quist
7 p.m., June 23: Benjamin Garcia
7 p.m., June 24: Sophfronia Scott and Shonda Buchanan
This will be a milestone residency for the Alma College MFA program, which launched in 2021, as it will be graduating its first class at a ceremony to be held June 25 at Dunning Memorial Chapel. Six students; Marie Gerken, Artricia James-Heard, Joy Bilbey, Kenton Smalley, Mary Peterson and Kelsey Weiss, will form the inaugural graduating class. The ceremony will be highlighted with an address by Dickman.
The MFA program will host an Open House Day on Saturday, June 17, which is open to those who may be interested in becoming students. Among the activities planned are a talk by Kristen Elias Rowley, editor in chief of The Ohio State University Press. The MFA program will also honor the Juneteenth holiday on Monday, June 19, with presentations by faculty members Quist and Buchanan.
For more information, visit alma.edu/mfa.