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Murray State MFA Program Brings Visiting Authors to Campus for Public Readings

Murray State University's Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing brings three visiting authors to campus for public readings at 7:30 p.m. in the Clara M. Eagle gallery in the Doye Fine Arts Building. The visiting authors are poet (and former Murray State professor) Mark Jarman, adult and young adult fiction writer Lorraine Lopez and nonfiction writer Kiese Laymon.

From the MSU Creative Writing program:

Mark Jarman - January 9

Mark Jarman’s most recent collection of poetry is Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems (Sarabande Books, 2011). His honors include the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Poets’ Prize, the Balcones Poetry Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship in poetry. He is Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Sarabande Books will publish his next collection of poetry, The Heronry, in 2017.

Lorraine Lopez - January 12

Lorraine López is an associate professor of English teaching in the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University, will read on January 12th. She is the author of six books of fiction and editor or coeditor of three essay collections. Her short story collection, Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories (Lorraine M. López Curbstone, 2002) won the inaugural Miguel Marmól prize for fiction.

Her second book, Call Me Henri was awarded the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature in 2007, and her novels, The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters (Grand Central Press, 2007) and The Realm of Hungry Spirits (Grand Central Press, 2011) were Las Comadres Reading Group Selections. López’s short story collection, Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize in Fiction in 2010 and winner of the Texas League of Writers Award for Outstanding Book of Fiction.

In September 2015, she released a novel titled The Darling from the University of Arizona Press. She has also edited or co-edited three collections of essays titled An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor or Working-Class Roots (University of Michigan Press, 2009), The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity (University of Arizona Press, 2011), and Rituals of Movement in the Writing of Judith Ortiz Cofer (Caribbean Studies Press, 2012).

An associate editor for The Afro-Hispanic Review, López is the co-founder, with Professor William Luis, and associate director of the Latino and Latina Studies Program at Vanderbilt University. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is at work on a linked-story collection titled Postcards from the Gerund State and Other Stories and a novel, What We Have Here.

Kiese Laymon - January 14

Kiese Laymon was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, graduated from Oberlin College and earned his MFA from Indiana University. He is a contributing editor at and has written for numerous publications, including Esquire, The Guardian and He is an associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Vassar College and is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Grisham Writer in Residence Fellowship at the University of Mississippi.

His first novel, Long Division (Agate Bolden 2013), won the 2014 Saroyan International Writing Award and was short-listed for the Believer Book Award, the Ernest Gaines Award and the Morning News Tournament of Books Award. Three of the essays in his collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America (Agate Bolden 2013) have been included in the Best American series and the Atlantic’s Best Essays of 2013.

Laymon has three books forthcoming, including a UK edition of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others with Bloomsbury in February 2016, A Fat Black Memoir (Scribner 2016) and a novel And So On (Scribner 2017).

More about MSU's Creative Writing MFA Program


Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.