The Sierra Nevada College English program brings well-known poets and writers from all over the country to the campus for readings and book signings in intimate settings where audience members get to meet and exchange ideas with the guest writers. 

Readings are held Friday evenings from 7 – 9pm. They are free and open to the public.

Workshops are held Saturday mornings from 9am – noon. They can be taken for credit and are free to students, $50  for community members—click here to register.

Contact English Program Chair, June Sylvester Saraceno at 775.881.7514 or for more information.

September 6-7, 2013—Tobias Wolff

Known for his memoirs, particularly This Boy’s Life,  and his short stories. His novel Old School is SNC’s Common Read for 13-14.

September 20, 2013—Spoken Word

Spoken word with Pan Pantoja, Iain Watson & Tony Walker, followed by an open mic.

October 4-5, 2013—Al Maginnes & Peter Makuck

Maginnes’ poems have appeared Poetry, The Georgia Review, and Shenandoah. Makuck is a poet, short story writer, critic, and professor at East Carolina University.

November 15-16, 2013—Nahid Rachlin

Nahid Rachlin is the award-winning author of four critically acclaimed novels, including Foreigner, a short story collection, and, most recently, a memoir, Persian Girls.

February 21-22, 2014—Chris Millis

Millis is a prize-winning, bestselling writer, producer, and cartoonist. He adapted his first novel, Small Apartments into a feature film that stars Billy Crystal and James Caan.

March 7-8, 2014—Gayle Brandeis

Brandeis is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write; Dictionary Poems; and The Book of Dead Birds, a Barbara Kingsolver Bellwether Prize winner.

April 11-12, 2014—Jared Stanley

Jared Stanley is the author of The Weeds and Book Made of Forest. He is a member of the art collective Unmanned Minerals, and co-edits the magazine Mrs. Maybe.

April 18, 2014—June Sylvester Saraceno

This reading will celebrate the recent release of English Chair June Sylvester Saraceno’s second full-length collection of poetry, of Dirt and Tar (Cherry Grove Collections 2014).

April 25, 2014—Annual Poetry Slam

Sierra Nevada College presents the eighth annual Tahoe Poetry Slam. There are cash prizes for the top three competitors. The evening is popular with high school, college and poetry enthusiasts and involves active audience participation and judging.

May 7, 2014—BFA Student Reading

SNC students graduating with a BFA in Creative Writing will read selected works from their senior thesis manuscripts.


Past Participants in the Literary Speaker Series


Amy Franklin-Willis | October 2012
Willis is an up and coming writer from Birmingham, Alabama. In 2007, she received an Emerging Writer Grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation to complete her first novel, “The Lost Saints of Tennessee,” which was chosen as an “Indie Bound Next Pick.”

Tim O’Brien | September 2012
Tim O’Brien is an American novelist well known for writing about the Vietnam War and the impact it had on the American soldiers who fought there. He won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1979 for the Vietnam novel Going After Cacciato. However, his best known work of fiction is the critically acclaimed The Things They Carried, a collection of semi-autobiographical, inter-related short-stories inspired by O’Brien’s wartime experiences in Vietnam

Baron Wormser | September 2011
Baron Wormser is a teacher and the author/co-author of twelve books, most recently the paperback edition of The Road Washes Out in Spring: A Poet’s Memoir of Living Off the Grid, Scattered Chapters: New and Selected Poems, and a work of fiction entitled The Poetry Life: Ten Stories.He is the former Poet Laureate of Maine. Since 2002 he has taught in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. Wormser has received the Frederick Bock Prize in Poetry and the Kathryn A. Morton Prize along with fellowships from Bread Loaf, the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching at the Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire.

Kim Wyatt | October 2011

Kim Wyatt, writer, publisher, and founder of Bona Fide Books publishing will speak on entrepreneurship and the art of writing during her visit. Bona Fide Books was established in May 2009 to publish provocative literature and build a community of writers and readers. Wyatt aims to promote bold, unsung writers and connect them with readers, and plans to publish literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in a variety of media, from monthly guerilla-style broadsheets to traditional bound books to downloadable flash fiction, serials, and guides for modern life. In an alleged age of declining readership, Bona Fide wants to give everyone a reason to read. Wyatt is a freelance editor and writer with over decade of experience in publishing; she also holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

Chris Ware | November 2011
Chris Ware, award-winning graphic novelist, cartoonist and author was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan — the Smartest Kid on Earth received an American Book Award in 2000, the Guardian First Book Award in 2001, and the French comics award “L’Alph Art” in 2003. In 2009 Jimmy Corrigan was named one of the “100 Best Books of the Decade” by The Times (London). Ware is also the author of The Acme Novelty Datebook Volumes 1 and 2 , Quimby the Mouse, and was the editor of the 13th issue of McSweeney’s, as well as the guest editor of Houghton-Mifflin’s Best American Comics 2007. He is a contributor to The New Yorker, and was the cartoonist chosen to inaugurate the New York Times Magazine’s “Funny Pages” section in late 2005. He is currently at work on two long-form graphic novels, Rusty Brown and Building Stories.

Li Miao Lovett | February 2012
Li Miao Lovett has been a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, China Rights Forum, Narrative Magazine, Earth Island Journal, and KQED public radio. She has organized readings for Words Without Borders as an advocate of literature in translation, bringing together authors to share works of Literature from the ‘Axis of Evil’ and other wickedly intriguing places. In the Laps of the Gods, her first novel, has received honorable mention in the 2011 Green Book Festival, along with being a top four finalist in the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, and a semifinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
Suzanne Roberts | April 2012
Suzanne Roberts joins Sierra Nevada College English Department this year as Distinguished Professor and Writer in Residence. Roberts is the author of Three Hours to Burn a Body: Poems on Travel and two previous collections of poetry, Shameless and Nothing to You. She was named “The Next Great Travel Writer” by National Geographic Traveler. Her memoir Almost Somewhere: 28 Days on the John Muir Trail is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press in 2012. She holds a doctorate in Literature and the Environment from the University of Nevada-Reno and currently lives in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Nathalie Handal | April 2010
Nathalie Handal is an award-winning poet and playwright. She has lived in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Arab world. She is the author of numerous books including Love and Strange Horses, winner of the 2011 Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, and an Honorable Mention at the San Francisco Book. She has read her poetry worldwide, has been featured on PBS The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, NPR Radio as well as The New York TimesThe San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters, Mail & Guardian, The Jordan Times and Il Piccolo. Her work has been translated into more than fifteen languages. She teaches and lectures nationally and internationally, most recently in Africa, at Columbia University and as Picador Guest Professor, Leipzig University, Germany. Handal writes the blog-column, The City and the Writer for Words Without Borders magazine. Her new collection, Poet in Andalucía, is forthcoming spring 2012.

Catherine Brady | October 2010

Catherine Brady lives and teaches in San Francisco, California. Her most recent collection, The Mechanics of Falling & Other Stories, was published in 2009. Her second short story collection, Curled in the Bed of Love, was the co-winner of the 2002 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and a finalist for the 2003 Binghamton John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Brady’s first collection of short stories, The End of the Class War, was a finalist for the 2000 Western States Book Award in Fiction. Her stories have been included in Best American Short Stories 2004 and numerous anthologies and journals. A past winner of the Redbook Young Writers Award, Brady is the recipient of the 2001 Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction Prize and the Brenda Ueland Prose Prize.

Joanne Meschery | September 2010
Joanne Meschery is a long-time resident of Truckee, California. She is the author of three novels: In a High Place, A Gentleman’s Guide to the Frontier, which was nominated for a Pen/Faulkner Award; and Home and Away, recently reprinted by the University of California Press as part of its California Writers Series. She is currently working on a new novel set in the brothels of Nevada. Her work has been awarded two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, along with numerous other prizes. She studied at the University of Iowa Workshop and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She is a regular presenter at the Squaw Valley Writers Conference and a member of the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

Sholeh Wolpé | April 2011
Sholeh Wolpéis an award-winning poet, literary translator and writer. Born in Iran, she has lived in England, Trinidad and the United States. She is the author of Rooftops of Tehran, The Scar Saloon, and Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad for which she was awarded the Lois Roth Translation Prize in 2010.Wolpe’s poems, translations, essays and reviews have appeared in scores of literary journals, periodicals and anthologies worldwide, and have been translated into several languages. She has been thrice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and been featured on NPR, Voice of America and Dodge Poetry Festival.

Robert Hass and Brenda Hillman | September 2009
Robert Hass was U.S. Poet Laureate from 1995-1997. His book Time and Materials won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 2008. Hass is a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley and recipient of the MacArthur Genius Fellowship. His books include Field Guide, Sun Under Wood, Praise, Human Wishes and other titles. He is a committed environmentalist and founder of River of Words, an organization that promotes environmental and arts education in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Hass is chairman of ROW’s board of directors, and judges their annual international environmental poetry and art contest for youth; he also wrote the introduction to the poetry collection  River of Words: Young Poets and Artists on the Nature of Things. Brenda Hillman’s poetry is eclectic, brilliant, defying boundaries. She is quoted in an interview in Rain Taxi as saying, “It is impossible to put boundaries on your words, even if you make a poem. Each word is a maze. So you are full of desire to make a memorable thing and have the form be very dictated by some way that it has to be. But the poem itself is going to undo that intention. It’s almost like you’re knitting a sweater and something is unraveling it on the other end.” Her books include, Pieces of Air in the Epic, The Grand Permission: New Writings on Poetics and Motherhood, Cascadia, Loose Sugar, Bright Existence and others. Practical Water, her latest book, is due out in 2009.

Patricia Smith | April 2009
A 2008 National Book Award Finalist, Patricia Smith’s fifth book of poetry, Blood Dazzler chronicles the human, physical and emotional toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina. Her other works include Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series winner; Close to Death, Big Towns, Big Talk, and Life According to Motown. Recognized as one of the world’s most formidable performers, Smith has read her work at venues round the world, and is a four-time national slam champion, the most successful competitor in slam history. She was featured in the nationally-released film “Slamnation,” and appeared on the award-winning HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.”

Nevada Writers Panel ft. Ellen Hopkins, Suzanne Roberts & Kirk Robertson | April 2009
Ellen Hopkins is award winning author of Crank, burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical and other works. Kirk Robertson’s books include Just Past Labor Day: New and Selected Poems, 1969-1995,  Music: A Suite & 13 Songs, and Shoes. He was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1992. Suzanne Roberts is the author of three poetry collections, Shameless, Nothing to You and Plotting Temporality. She was named “The Next Great Travel Writer” by National Geographic Traveler Magazine in 2008.

Brian Turner | October 2008
Brian Turner is a soldier-poet whose debut book of poems, Here, Bullet, won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 Pen Center USA “Best in the West” award, and the 2007 Poets Prize, among others. Here, Bullet is a harrowing, beautiful first-person account of the Iraq war. The poems in this remarkable collection reflect Turner’s experiences as a soldier with penetrating lyric power, compassion, sensitivity, and eloquence, while deploring the violence and acknowledging the grief and terror of war. Brian Turner’s affecting poetry of witness is exceptional for its beauty, honesty, and skill. These gracefully-rendered, unflinching poems make Here, Bullet a must-read for anyone who cares about the war, regardless of political affiliation.

Lola Haskins | April 2008

Lola Haskins is author of Not Feathers Yet: A Beginner’s Guide to the Poetic Life, Solutions Beginning with A, Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems, Extranjera, The Rim Benders,  Hunger, Forty-Four Ambitions for the Piano and Castings. Besides poetry, Ms. Haskins has published environmental writing, introducing a book of photographs, Visions of Florida, and interpreting the Florida environment in Wild Heart of Florida, as well as a book of essays Wind, the Grass, and Us.

Denise Duhamel | October 2007

Denise Duhamel is the author of numerous books of poetry including Ka-Ching!, Smile!, Kinky, Two and Two, Mille et un sentiments, Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems, The Star-Spangled Banner, Girl Soldier and How the Sky Fell. In response to Duhamel’s collection Smile!, Edward Field says, “More than any other poet I know, Denise Duhamel, for all the witty, polished surface of her poems, communicates the ache of human existence.”

Ingrid Wendt & Ralph Salisbury | October 2006
Ingrid Wendt is the author of five books of poems, two anthologies, a book-length teaching guide, numerous articles and reviews, and more than 200 individual poems in magazines and anthologies. Ralph Salisbury is the author of Rainbows of Stone, Poems of a Cherokee Heritage; Going to the Water; Spirit Beast Chant; Ghost Grapefruit and Other Poems. His short fiction titles include One Indian and Two Chiefs, and The Last Rattlesnake Throw.
Brenda Hillman and Bob Hass | October 2005

Gary Short | October 2004

Gary Short is author of Theory of Twilight, Flying over Sonny Liston and 10 Moons and 13 Horses. A Stegner Fellow and the recipient of residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Centrum, and the Virginia Center for the Arts, Short has taught students on both coasts and Alaska.
Marisella Veiga | April 2003
Author of Square Watermelons, Marisella Veiga is a Cuban exile poet, journalist and freelance writer. She has written on a freelance basis for clients such as the Washington Post, Hispanic Link News Service, Women’s Independent Press and Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. Ms. Veiga’s writing has been recognized with several honors including a Pushcart Prize Special Mention in Short Fiction (1996) and the Evelyn La Pierre Award for Journalism (2004). She has taught at Georgetown University and other colleges in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Tom Meschery | October 2002
Tom Meschery is author of Nothing We Lose Can be Replaced. He is also a poet, whose works often relate to basketball, teaching, and being a Russian immigrant. In 2002, Meschery was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Standing 6 ft 6 in, Meschery also was a highly talented basketball player. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors as the 7th pick overall in the 1961 NBA Draft. Meschery played alongside legend Wilt Chamberlain, to whom he later dedicated a poem.
Robert Hass
Brenda Hillman
Patricia Smith

Sholeh Wolpé
Ellen Hopkins

Chris Ware
Kirk Robertson

Nathalie Handal
Suzanne Roberts
Brian Turner

Li Miao Lovett
Lola Haskins
Denise Duhamel

Katherine Brady

Baron Wormser
Ingrid Wendt
Ralph Salisbury

Kim Wyatt
Gary Short
Marisella Veiga

Joanne Meschery
Tom Meschery