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Published: December 12, 2019

UT MFA Program to Present “Lectores” Speaker Series Jan. 9-16

The University of Tampa MFA in Creative Writing speaker series, “Lectores,” will feature seven nights of readings with a mix of award-winning visiting authors and UT’s world-renowned MFA faculty from Jan. 9-16.

The UT MFA in Creative Writing program works by bringing students to campus for 10-day residencies in January and June. Throughout each residency, Lectores speakers give a 45- to 50-minute evening reading, followed by a book signing.

All readings begin at 7:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public. They are all held on campus in the Vaughn Center, 9th floor, unless otherwise noted.

The full series follows:

  • Thursday, Jan. 9: Reading by Valeria Luiselli, author of Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, The Story of My Teeth, Faces in the Crowd, Sidewalks and Lost Children Archive — a book that was a finalist for the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize. Lost Children Archive was also named a “Best Book of 2019” by Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, Vulture and Time. The novel recreates the typical road trip as an examination of the immigration crisis of the U.S. southern border.
  • Friday, Jan.10: Reading by Jeff VanderMeer, named the “King of Weird Fiction” by The New Yorker. He’s the author of the bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (which Stephen King called, “creepy and fascinating”) and Shriek: An Afterword and Borne. His first novel, Annihilation, won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards and was created into a Hollywood film by director Alex Garland. VanderMeer’s works are known for pushing the typical classifications of genres and employing themes from a variety of subgenres, such as eco-fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction.
  • Saturday, Jan. 11: Reading by Fernanda Santos, author of The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, which won the Western Writers of America 2017 Spur Award for Best First Nonfiction Book. The book tells the story of the largest loss of firefighters since the 9/11 attacks: the death of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013.
  • Sunday, Jan.12: Reading by May-lee Chai, author of three novels: My Lucky Face, Dragon Chica, Tiger Girl and a short story collection titled Useful Phrases for Immigrants, a 2019 American Book Award winner. The Washington Post called the short story collection, “immersive and complex.”
  • Tuesday, Jan.14, Scarfone/Hartley Gallery: Reading by Marcus Jackson, author of a book of poems titled , Pardon My Heart. Jackson’s poems have appeared in publications such as The American Poetry Review, The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.
  • Wednesday, Jan.15: Readings by Shane Hinton, assistant professor of English and writing at UT, and by author Sandra Beasley. Hinton is the author of Pinkies and Radio Dark. His work has appeared in Clackmas Literary Review, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, Fiction Advocate and others. Beasley is the author of I Was the Jukebox (winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize) and Theories of Falling (winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize) and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (a memoir and cultural history of food allergy). Her third collection of poetry, Count the Waves, was published by W. W. Norton in 2015. Recent honors for her work include two D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowships and the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers.
  • Thursday, Jan.16, Vaughn Center, Reeves Theater: Readings by authors Alan Michael Parker and Aramis Calderon. Parker is the author of four novels: Cry Uncle, Whale Man, The Committee onTown Happiness and Christmas in July. He is also the author of eight collections of poems and has edited a variety of works such as The Manifesto Project and The Imaginary Poets. His poems have appeared in publications such as The New Republic and The New Yorker. Calderon, who holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UT, has published short stories in The Deadly Writers Patrol, As You Were: The Military Review, and Incoming: Sex, Drugs, and Copenhagen. His debut novel, Dismount, came out this past November.

The UT MFA in Creative Writing program works by bringing students to campus for 10-day residencies in January and June. Throughout each residency, Lectores speakers give a 45- to 50-minute evening reading, followed by a book signing. The next morning, the author gives a 60- to 70-minute seminar on a topic of their choice for the program’s student body.

UT’s MFA program named its public readings “Lectores” to honor the history of the Lectores de Tabaqueres, men who read aloud to workers who rolled cigars in the factories of Tampa and Ybor City. There will be another Lectores series in June 2020.

For more information, go to or contact Lynne Bartis at (813) 257-3514 or Free visitor parking is available in the Thomas Parking Garage and in the West Parking Garage.

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