Tenorio’s Provocative Short Stories Cast Light on Economic Disparities, Immigrant Experience

Lysley Tenorio’s debut collection of short stories, Monstress, has drawn widespread acclaim, with glowing reviews by the Los Angeles Times, the Paris Review and NPR, among others.

Lysley Tenorio's Nemesis: The Questionnaire

Associate Professor Lysley Tenorio discusses the important stuff in a questionnaire from LitQuake. On Saturday, October 13, he will be discussing writing short stories at LitQuake's Art of Short Fiction Panel.

He will also be participating in the MFA Faculty LitQuake Reading that same day at 7:00 p.m. at Beauty Bar in the Mission.

Writers & Words: videos from past MFA Program events

The Creative Writing Reading Series and Afternoon Craft Conversations bring the literary world's most exciting writers to campus. Now you can hear them to read their work and discuss their craft online at Writers & Words.


Watch videos from last semester's Afternoon Craft Conversation and Readings from Shane Book, Wesley Gibson, Judith Claire Mitchell, and Tina Parsons.


Here's a sample!


MFA Program Professor Lysley Tenorio's Book Tour

Lysley Tenorio's book-tour for story collection, /Monstress/

“MONSTRESS announces the debut of an electric literary talent.

Brilliantly quirky, often moving, always gorgeously told,
these are tales of bighearted misfits who yearn for their authentic selves
with extraordinary passion and grace.”

New York Times Bestselling Author of The Surrendered

Afternoon Craft Conversations

mary volmer

Wednesday, February 25th, 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge

“The Tourist, the Expat and the Native: A Traveler’s Guide to Writing Historical Fiction” by Mary Volmer 

Here is a baffling truth: historical fiction is almost never solely about the past.  Its subject may take us to another place in time, but the author is a product of the present and very often writes in response to contemporary concerns.  When a historical novel succeeds it does not do so by merely recreating the past, but by telling a relevant human story in a unique and moving way. 

But how do you do that? How do you navigate the past’s lost and often foreign landscape well enough to convey a sense of authenticity?  How do you balance the (sometimes) competing allegiances to character/plot/story and historical accuracy?  What compels a writer to look back in the first place?  This craft seminar will consider these questions and suggest a three part “traveler’s guide” approach to the research, writing and revision process.

Mary Volmer is the author of Crown of Dust. Her non-fiction has appeared in Full Court Press, Women’s Basketball Magazine and NPR’s “This I Believe” series. Her short fiction has appeared most recently in the Farallon Review. Her second novel is forthcoming in spring 2016. 

cristina garcia 

Wednesday, March 18th, 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge

“Cultivating Chaos” by Cristina Garcia   

From the time we’re quite young, we are inculcated with the notion that to be neat and organized is somehow better than to be messy and disorganized. But how does this serve us as writers? Do we need to outline? To know where we’re going ahead of time? Do we truly believe that we can plan the best moments of our fiction, poetry, non-fiction? This talk will challenge your notions of taking control of your texts and offer strategies for generating the randomness and mystery that enlivens our best work.

Cristina García is the author of five novels: The Lady Matador’s Hotel, (Scribner, 2010); A Handbook to Luck (Knopf, 2007); Monkey Hunting (Knopf, 2003); The Agüero Sisters (Knopf, 1997), winner of the Janet Heidiger Kafka Prize; and Dreaming in Cuban (Knopf, 1992), finalist for the National Book Award. García has edited two anthologies, Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature (2006) and Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature (2003). She is also the author of three works for young readers, Dreams of Significant Girls (2011), a young adult novel set in a Swiss boarding school in the 1970s; The Dog Who Loved the Moon, illustrated by Sebastia Serra, (Atheneum, 2008); and I Wanna Be Your Shoebox (Simon and Schuster, 2008). Her most recent novel, King of Cuba, was released in 2013.

cedar sigo

Wednesday, April 29th, 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge

“Stalked by Form” by Cedar Sigo

Years of complete involvement with poetry have seemed to result in my being stalked by form. Forms are ways of gaining access to the blinded corners of our voices. Language will always leap out at us and even the most oblique strands of syntax may mesh together perfectly. At times my initial approach feels extremely literal, though once the mind is sparked its speed becomes untraceable and the form takes hold happily. In this lecture I will retrace forms that have appeared (and at times reappeared) in my last two books, including translation, odes, sonnets as well as detailing a few forms I have created on my own. Poets that have inspired and safeguarded my approach will also be discussed including Joanne Kyger, Alice Notley, Tom Raworth, Julian Talmantez Brolaski and Alli Warren. The line between the life of the poet and the apprehension of form blurs beautifully as one begins to investigate or attempt to return to an initial cosmology.

Cedar Sigo was raised on the Suquamish Reservation in the Pacific Northwest and studied at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute. He is the author of eight books and pamphlets of poetry, including Language Arts (Wave Books, 2014), Stranger In Town (City Lights, 2010), Expensive Magic (House Press, 2008), and two editions of Selected Writings (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2003 and 2005). He lives in San Francisco.

Creative Writing Reading Series

FALL 2011


Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker and Best American Short Stories, among others.    Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the California Book Award for first fiction. Li’s novel, The Vagrants, also won the California Book Award’s gold medal for fiction. Her latest book, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl is a collection of short stories. Li has received fellowships from Lannan Foundation and Whiting Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation named her a 2010 Fellow. She is a contributing editor for the Brooklyn-based literary magazine, A Public Space and teaches at University of California, Davis.


Ryan Van Meter’s essay collection If You Knew Then What I Know Now was published in 2011 by Sarabande Books. His essays have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast and Arts & Letters, and have been selected for anthologies including Best American Essays 2009 and Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction. He is an assistant editor at Fourth Genre magazine and currently teaches creative writing at The University of San Francisco.


Clayton Eshleman’s publications include Jupiter Fuse: Upper Paleolithic Imagination & the Construction of the Underworld; The Complete Poetry of Cesar Vallejo; and The Grindstone of Rapport/ A Clayton Eshleman Reader. He recently published co-translation of Aime Cesaire’s Solar Throat Slashed and Bei Dao’s Endure, and a translation of Bernard Bador’s Curdled Skulls. He has received the National Book Award in Translation, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, and multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He founded and edited the two seminal poetry magazines, Caterpillar and Sulfer. He is Professor Emeritus at Eastern Michigan University and lives in Ypsilanti.


For More information on The Creative Writing Reading Series please contact Administrative Assistant Sara Mumolo, (925)631-8556 or [email protected].
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