Visiting Writers Series

When you study creative writing at Mount Mercy, you learn not only from your fellow students and our faculty, but also from the many prestigious writers who visit campus and share their expertise and vision.

Every year Mount Mercy University hosts three or four different visiting writers. During each visit, there is a Q&A — your time to ask the writers questions — and an evening reading — the writers' time to share their most recent work with you. You'll also have the chance to chat with the visiting writers over dinner or while they are signing your book.

Past visiting writers include poet laureates, award-winning journalists, best-selling novelists, and Oprah-picks.

Visiting Writers: 2013-2014

Carol Tyx

Carol Tyx
September 19
Q&A , 3:30  |  Reading, 7:00, Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile)

Carol Tyx teaches writing and American literature at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Her work has most recently been published in RHINO, Poetry East, Water-Stone Review, Iowa City’s Poetry in Public, and Rising to the Rim, published by Brick Road Poetry Press.  On any given day you might find her cooking with kale, contra dancing, or standing on her head.

Daniel Orozco

Daniel Orozco
October 24
Q&A, 3:30  |  Reading, 7:00, Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile)

Daniel Orozco is the author of Orientation and Other Stories (Faber and Faber).  He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award.  He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Idaho, and is currently a Visiting Professor in the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Karen Russell

Karen Russell
March 6
Q&A, 3:30 Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile)  |  Reading, 7:00, Chapel of Mercy

Karen Russell's debut novel, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Swamplandia! was also chosen by The New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2011,” and was long-listed for The Orange Prize. She has also authored two highly acclaimed short story collections: St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (Knopf, 2006) and Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Knopf, 2013). Russell has been featured in The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list, and was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. In 2009, she received the “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation. And in 2013, she won a MacArthur Genius Grant.

Past Visiting Writers

Mount Mercy University has proudly hosted poet laureates; best-selling novelists; and writers who have won the National Book Award, the Booker Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Nobel Prize.

Fiction Writers
Sandra Benitez, Chris Bohjalian, Charles Baxter, Ethan Canin, Ana Castillo, Lan Samantha Chang, Stuart Dybek, Larry Heinemann, Khaled Hosseini, Bharati Mukherjee, Thisbe Nissen, ZZ Packer, Josef Skvorecky, Barry Unsworth, Mary Helen Stefaniak, Benjamin Percy, Samrat Upadhyay

Creative Nonfiction Writers and Journalists
Stephen Bloom, Joy Castro, Patricia Hampl, Alex Kotlowitz, John T. Price, Scott Russell Sanders, Patricia Foster

Jorie Graham, Joy Harjo, Robert Haas, Ted Kooser, Li-Young Lee, Heather McHugh, Czeslaw Milosz, Naomi Shihab Nye, Susan Power, Gary Soto, William Stafford, Camille Dungy, Michael Sowder

"Visiting writers ...let you see and know the process of a professional." — Casey Birkecht '13 

"The joy of the Visiting Writers Program is always about connecting to a kindred soul. Aspiring writers are able to discuss their own fears and doubts with someone who has experienced the journey." — Kim Flugga-Ciha ’11