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Clemson Literary Festival

Clemson Literary Festival Authors

Authors

Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff is the author of six books of fiction, the most recent the novel MATRIX (September 2021). Her work has won The Story Prize, the ABA Indies’ Choice Award, and France’s Grand Prix de l’Héroïne, was twice a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and the Kirkus Prize, and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Prize, the Southern Book Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Prize. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His recent books include William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life, which is about reading and writing and the struggle to pay attention to our lives, and Bad Stories, a literary investigation of the 2016 election. His new book, which comes out in April, 2022, is a novel called All the Secrets of the World. For four years, Steve hosted the New York Times Dear Sugars podcast with his pal Cheryl Strayed. His short stories have been anthologized widely, in the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Erotica, and Best American Mysteries series. He also publishes crazy, DIY books.

Steve Almond
Sandra Beasley

Sandra Beasley

Sandra Beasley is the author of four poetry collections (Made to Explode; Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize). She edited the anthology Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. She is also the author of Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a memoir of living with disability and a cultural history of food allergy. Her prose has appeared in such venues as the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Oxford American. Honors for Beasley’s work include a National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship; the Munster Literature Centre’s John Montague International Poetry Fellowship; the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize; distinguished writer residencies at Wichita State University, Cornell College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the University of Mississippi; and four DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships. She lives in the Southwest neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Steven Dunn

A 2021 Whiting Award winner, and shortlisted for Granta magazine’s “Best of Young American Novelists,” Steven Dunn is the author of two books from Tarpaulin Sky Press: water & power (2018) and Potted Meat, which was a co-winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards, a finalist for the Colorado Book Award, and has been adapted for a short film entitled The Usual Route, from Foothills Productions. Steven was born and raised in West Virginia, and after 10 years in the Navy he earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from University of Denver.

Steven Dunn
Reginald McKnight

Reginald McKnight

Reginald McKnight is a short story writer and novelist. He has won the O. Henry Award, the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and the Whiting Writer's Award, and many other awards and prizes for his work. In addition to writing, McKnight has been a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Maryland, College Park, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is currently the Hamilton Holmes Professor at the University of Georgia in Athens. He is the author of He Sleeps, Moustapha's Eclipse, I Get on the Bus , The Kind of Light that Shines on Texas and, White Boys, African American Wisdom, and Wisdom of the African World.

Joanna Ruocco

Joanna Ruocco is a prize-winning American author and co-editor of the fiction journal Birkensnake. In 2013, she received the Pushcart Prize for her story "If the Man Took" and is also winner of the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize. Ruocco received her MFA at Brown, and a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Denver. Her most recent novel is Dan, published by Dorothy, a publishing project. She also serves as assistant professor in creative writing at Wake Forest University. Ruocco has also published romance novels under the pseudonyms Toni Jones and Alessandra Shahbaz.

Joanna Ruocco
Mark Sibley-Jones

Mark Sibley-Jones

Mark Sibley-Jones teaches English at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. Prior to moving to Greenville, he taught English literature for fifteen years at the University of South Carolina, where he won several teaching awards, including the Michael A. Hill Outstanding Honors Faculty Award. Sibley-Jones has published more than fifty academic and professional articles and two short stories. He has been a finalist in several national fiction competitions. By the Red Glare is his first novel. The parents of three children, Mark and his wife live in Greenville, South Carolina.

Kemi Alabi

Kemi Alabi is the author of AGAINST HEAVEN (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the 2021 Academy of American Poets First Book Award. Their poems and essays have been published in the Atlantic, Poetry, Boston Review, Catapult, Guernica, them., the BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2, Best New Poets 2019, and elsewhere. Selected by Chen Chen as winner of the 2020 Beacon Street Poetry Prize, Kemi has received Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Brittle Paper Award nominations along with support from MacDowell, Civitella Ranieri, Tin House and Pink Door. They’ve performed their work across the United States for schools, universities, museums, libraries, theaters, conferences, festivals, protests and more. A Mass LEAP-trained teaching artist, they’ve worked with students of all ages. Kemi believes in the world-shifting power of words and the radical imaginations of Black queer and trans people. As cultural strategy director of Forward Together, they built political power with cultural workers of color through programs like Echoing Ida, a home for Black women and nonbinary writers, and annual art campaigns like Trans Day of Resilience. The Echoing Ida Collection, coedited with Cynthia R. Greenlee and Janna Zinzi, is available now from Feminist Press. Born in Wisconsin on a Sunday in July, Kemi now lives in Chicago, IL.

Kemi Alabi
Nickole Brown

Nickole Brown

Nickole Brown received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She worked at Sarabande Books for ten years. Her first collection, Sister, a novel-in-poems, was first published in 2007 by Red Hen Press and a new edition was reissued by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2018. Her second book, a biography-in-poems called Fanny Says, came out from BOA Editions in 2015, and the audio book of that collection became available in 2017. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for four years until she gave up her beloved time in the classroom in hope of writing full time. Currently, she is the Editor for the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and teaches periodically at a number of places, including the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program, the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNCA, and the Hindman Settlement School. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC, where she volunteers at a three different animal sanctuaries. Currently, she’s at work on a bestiary of sorts about these animals, but it won’t consist of the kind of pastorals that always made her (and most of the working-class folks she knows) feel shut out of nature and the writing about it—these poems speak in a queer, Southern-trash-talking kind of way about nature beautiful, but damaged and dangerous. The first of these new poems won Rattle's Chapbook Contest with the publication of To Those Who Were Our First Gods in 2018. A second chapbook from this project, an essay-in-poems called The Donkey Elegies, was published by Sibling Rivalry in January 2020.

Jessica Jacobs

Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), named one of Library Journal‘s Best Poetry Books of the year, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from Southern Illinois University and the Goldie Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society, and a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell, American Fiction, Eric Hoffer, and Julie Suk Book Awards. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry, was an Over the Rainbow selection by the American Library Association and a finalist for the Lambda Literary and Julie Suk Awards. Her chapbook In Whatever Light Left to Us was published by Sibling Rivalry Press. Jacobs holds an M.F.A. from Purdue University, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of Sycamore Review, and a B.A. from Smith College. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in publications including Orion, New England Review, Crazyhorse, and Guernica. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock climbing instructor, bartender, and professor—leading workshops around the country and teaching for Hendrix College, UNC-Wilmington’s MFA program, and Writing Workshops in Greece, among other programs—and now serves as the Chapbook Editor of Beloit Poetry Journal and the Distinguished Poet of the Western Region for the Gilbert-Chappell Mentorship Series. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she has co-authored Write It!, a collection of writing prompts from Spruce Books, an imprint of Penguin/RandomHouse. She is currently at work on parallel collections of essays and poems exploring spirituality, Torah, and Midrash.

Jessica Jacobs
Sally Wen Mao

Sally Wen Mao

Sally Wen Mao is the author of Oculus, out now from Graywolf Press on January 15th, 2019, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry. Oculus was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2019, a Best Reviewed Poetry Book of 2019 from Book Marks, an NPR Favorite Book of 2019, a Library Journal’s Best Poetry Book of 2019, a Best Poetry Book of 2019 from Entropy Magazine, and a Best Poetry Book of 2019 from Marie Claire. Oculus has been featured or reviewed by Nylon, The Washington Post, Lit Hub, NPR, Vulture, O Magazine, The Millions, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Poets & Writers, and The New Yorker, among others. Her first book, Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014), was the winner of the 2012 Kinereth Gensler Award, a Poets & Writers Top Ten Debut of 2014, a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Anticipated Pick of Fall 2014, and one of Bustle’s 14 Best Debut Collections of the Last Five Years. Her work has won a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts grant, a 2017 Pushcart Prize and a 2016 Amy Award from Poets & Writers. Her poems are anthologized in The Best of the Net 2014 and The Best American Poetry 2013. Recent poems are published or forthcoming in Harpers Bazaar, A Public Space, Poetry, Black Warrior Review, Guernica, The Missouri Review, and Tin House, among other journals. Her fiction can be found in Indiana Review, PEN America and Hyphen Magazine, and her essays are published or forthcoming in Rookie On Love, LENNY, The Kenyon Review, and other spaces. The recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Lannan Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and Saltonstall Foundation, Mao holds an M.F.A. from Cornell University. She has taught writing classes and workshops at Cornell University, Hunter College, the National University of Singapore, The George Washington University, Poet's House, and the Asian American Writers Workshop, among others. She was the 2015-2016 Singapore Creative Writing Residency Writer-in-Residence, a 2016-2017 Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library, and the 2017-2018 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington at the George Washington University. Currently she is the 2021 Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas.

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