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: 2014-2015

Frank X. Walker

Frank X. Walker
October 9
Q&A 3:30 | Reading 7:00 | Betty Cherry Heritage Hall

The first African American Poet Laureate of Kentucky, Frank X Walker has edited two poetry anthologies and authored six of his own collections. His most recent, Turn Me Loose (2013), explores the 1963 assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Two of his other collections, Buffalo Dance and When Winter Come, explore the history of York, the enslaved man who accompanied Lewis and Clark. In addition to being a poet, Walker is also a visual artist, a producer of video documentaries, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky, and the proud editor and publisher of PLUCK!, the new Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture. Walker coined the word ‘Affrilachia’ to signify the importance of the African-American presence in Appalachia.

Matt Freedman
November 5
Q&A on writing and art 12:30 | Q&A on medical issues 2:00 | Performance 7:00 | All in Betty Cherry Heritage Hall

Matt Freedman is the author of Relatively Indolent But Relentless: A Cancer Treatment Journal. An artist, writer, and curator, Freedman has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in sculpture and the New York Foundation for the Arts in fiction writing. He lives in Queens, New York and teaches in the Fine Arts and the Visual Studies programs at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.

K.L. Cook

K.L. Cook
March 2
Q&A 3:30 | Reading 7:00 | Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile)

K. L. Cook is the author of three award-winning books of fiction. His most recent, Love Songs for the Quarantined (2011), a collection of thematically linked stories, won the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. His novel, The Girl from Charnelle (2006), won The Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction and was named a Southwest Book of the Year. Cook’s first book, Last Call (2004), a short story cycle chronicling three decades in the lives of a West Texas family, won the inaugural Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction. Cook’s stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines, including Glimmer Train and Poets & Writers. He is an Associate Professor of English at Iowa State University, where he teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing and the Environment Program.


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, Daniel Orozco, Karen Russell

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, Carol Tyx

"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