Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series

The Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series brings distinguished authors to campus to engage both the Gonzaga audience and the wider Spokane community. The series fosters artistic collaboration across disciplines, encourages intellectual curiosity and seeks to share the wonder and challenges of living a creative life.

All events are free and open to the public.

For more information on the series please contact:

Meagan Ciesla
Email: ciesla@gonzaga.edu
Phone: 509-313-6671

The 2017-2018 Visiting Writers Series is sponsored by Gonzaga’s College of Arts & Sciences, English Department, Office of the Academic Vice President, Gonzaga Student Body Association, the Faculty Speaker Series and The Davenport Hotel.

We thank them for their support.


Upcoming Events

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 at 7pm in Hemmingson Ballroom
Art Spiegelman

Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 7pm in Hemmingson Ballroom
Elena Passarello


Past Events

 Gonzaga Reads with Jessica Halliday

Gonzaga Reads with Jessica Halliday & Michael & Gail Gurian Award Winners - Various Genres

March 28, 2018
7:30pm
Wolff Auditorium, Jepson Center, Gonzaga University

Jessica Halliday is an American writer and educator. Ms. Halliday’s writing has appeared most recently in Sports Illustrated Online and Better Culture and Lit. Her previous publications include “A Mother’s Fairy Tale” (Weber Studies: The Contemporary West) and “Out Where Everyone Can See” (The Spokesman-Review).

She studied at the University of Washington and Eastern Washington University. She currently teaches at Gonzaga University.

The Michael & Gail Gurian Awards annually recognize excellence in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. The contest is open to all enrolled Gonzaga undergraduates. Winners in each category will read excerpts from their work.


Marie Howe Portrait

Marie Howe - Poetry

March 6, 2018 7:30pm

Cataldo Globe Room, Gonzaga University

Marie Howe is an American poet and educator. Ms. Howe’s poetry is recognized for incorporating Biblical and mythical allusions and moving deftly between biographical and metaphysical aspects of human life.

She is the author of several renowned poetry collections, including: The Good Thief; What the Living Do; and The Kingdom of Ordinary Time.

Ms. Howe is the recipient of the Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets and fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and was the Poet Laureate of New York State from 2012-2014.

Her most recent collection, Magdalene, has been selected on the 2017 National Book Award Longlist for Poetry.

She studied at the University of Windsor and Columbia University. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University and New York University.


Portrait of  Chris Abani, author

Chris Abani - Multi-Genre Author

Feb. 12, 2018
7:30pm
Hemmingson Ballroom, Gonzaga University

Chris Abani is a novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. Born in Nigeria, he has resided in the United States since 2001. He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize and a Guggenheim Award. He is the author of the novels, GraceLand and The Secret History of Las Vegas. His poetry collections include Kalakuta Republic, Dog Woman, and Sanctificum among others. Other writings include the novella, Becoming Abagail, the memoir, The Face. Mr. Abani is also known for his TED Talk, On Humanity. He currently teaches at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.


Yusef Komunyakaa Portrait

Yusef Komunyakaa - Poetry

Please note this event has been canceled.

January 25, 2018
7:30pm
Hemmingson Ballroom, Gonzaga University

Yusef Komunyakaa is an American poet, educator and scholar whose writing career began as a Vietnam War correspondent, for which he earned a Bronze Star. Mr. Komunyakaa is known for his personal narratives that weave biography, jazz rhythms and vernacular language. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including: Copacetic; I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head; Dien Cai Dau; Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems; Thieves of Paradise; and his most recent, Emperor of Water Clocks.

He is the recipient of several awards, including the San Francisco Poetry Center Award, Dark Room Poetry Prize, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Mr. Komunyakaa was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1994.

He studied at the University of Colorado Springs, Colorado State University and the University of California at Irvine. He has taught as several institutions including the University of New Orleans, Indiana University and Princeton University. He currently teaches at New York University.

GUVWS thanks the Center for Public Humanities, and its Director, Dr. Brian Cooney, Director, for their support in bringing Mr. Komunyakaa to campus.


Readings from WA129 Logo

Readings from WA129 - Poetry

November 29, 2017
Wolff Auditorium, Jepson Building, , Gonzaga University

WA129 is an anthology of poems gathered from the people of Washington State, collected and curated by State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall. The anthology includes works from experienced poets and newcomers to the art, young students and lifetime learners. There are 129 poems in the published book—one for every year of statehood up to 2018, the end of Marshall’s term as State Poet Laureate.

We welcome poets Christopher Howell, Nance Van Winckel, Ellen Welcker, Kat Smith, Laura Read and others to read from the collection.

WA129 is a project of the Washington State Poet Laureate Program, funded by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission. The anthology is designed and published by Sage Hill Press, Spokane.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will help fund the State Poet Laureate program.


Angela Davis is an American activist, scholar, educator and writer who advocates for the oppressed.

Angela Davis - Nonfiction

October 25, 2017
Hemmingson Ballroom, Gonzaga University

Angela Davis is an American activist, scholar, educator and writer who advocates for the oppressed. Ms. Davis is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including If They Come in the Morning; Angela Davis: An Autobiography; Women, Race and Class; Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday; Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empires, Prisons and Torture; and The Meaning of Freedom.

Her most recent publication is a collection of interviews and speeches, Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement.

She has studied at Brandeis University, University of California at San Diego and Humboldt University. She has been on faculty at the University of California at Los Angeles, Syracuse University and most recently UC at Santa Cruz. GUVWS supports Angela Davis’ visit to campus under the auspices of the Center for Public Humanities at Gonzaga and its director, Dr. Brian Cooney, and the Women’s & Gender Studies Department, Dr. Ann Ciasullo, chair.