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 semester Mount Mercy University hosts at least one visiting writer. 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: Fall 2017




Keith Lesmeister
Sept. 28 // 3:30 PM Q&A // Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile Hall)
Sept. 28 // 7 PM Reading // Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile Hall) 

Keith Lesmeister is the author of the story collection We Could've Been Happy Here. His most recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gettysburg Review, North American Review, Sycamore Review, BULL, Free State Review, and elsewhere.

Lesmeister was born in North Carolina, raised in Cedar Rapids, and currently lives in Decorah, Iowa. 




Drew Dellinger
Oct. 26 // 3:30 PM Poetry Performance // McAuley Theatre
Oct. 26 // 7 PM Talk — Planetize the Movement: Ecology, Justice, Cosmology, and Democracy // McAuley Theatre

Drew Dellinger, Ph.D., is an internationally known speaker, writer, poet, and teacher who has lectured and taught extensively across the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

He is author of the award-winning poetry collection, Love Letter to the Milky Way, and the upcoming book, Martin Luther King – Ecological Thinker: Toward a Cosmology of Connection. Dellinger has been called "a national treasure" by Joanna Macy, "a deep and courageous poet" by Alice Walker, and "one of the most creative, courageous, and prophetic voices of his generation" by Cornel West.

Planetize the Movement: Ecology, Justice, Cosmology, and Democracy

The eco-social crisis of our times is challenging us to connect ecological, economic, and social justice issues, and to re-examine the underlying worldviews of modern society. In this talk and poetry reading, Drew Dellinger will explore the intersections of ecology, justice, and cosmology (or worldview), and the need to build movements for social transformation using the powers of dream, story, art, and action. Dellinger will also share his recent research on Martin Luther King Jr., and the undiscovered ecological dimensions of his thought.


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, K. L. Cook, Stuart Dybek, Larry Heinemann, Khaled Hosseini, Bharati Mukherjee, Thisbe Nissen, ZZ Packer, Josef Skvorecky, Barry Unsworth, Mary Helen Stefaniak, Benjamin Percy, Samrat Upadhyay, Daniel Orozco, Karen Russell, Cristina Henriquez, Keith Lesmeister

Creative Nonfiction Writers and Journalists
Amy Butcher, Anne-Marie Cusac, Joy Castro, Matt Freedman, Patricia Hampl, Alex Kotlowitz, John T. Price, Scott Russell Sanders, Patricia Foster, Tim Wise

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, Frank X Walker, Jennifer Perrine, Drew Dellinger

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

"The joy of the Visiting Writers Program is 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