Writing Our Future

Readings From Graduate Writing Programs of the Southland
With Students From CalArts, Otis, UCI, UCR, USC
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Episode Summary

Our second annual gathering unites students from five Southland graduate writing programs—CalArts, Otis College, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and USC—to share recent work and tune our ears to the future of the language. What are the ideas, forms, questions, syntaxes, images, and narratives of our immediate future? Who better as our compass in the wilds of the now than emerging writers?

Featuring Sydney Barile, Justin Evans, Amanda Foushee, Melissa Gutierrez, Michael Mitchell, Nicole Olweean, Niela Orr, Sean Pessin, Julian Smith-Newman, and Paula Tang.

Participant(s) Bio

Sydney Barile is a poet and visual artist currently working toward a Master of Fine Art in Creative Writing at the California Institute of the Arts. She has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Southern California—where she received the Beau J. Boudreaux Poetry Award. Sydney is in the process of completing her first book—a collection of autobiographical poems (confessional, narrative, and lyrical) that speak to the experience of growing up and navigating the space between adolescence and full adulthood. She lives in Los Angeles.

Justin Evans has or will very shortly publish fiction, satire, and/or essays in Bird's Thumb, Santa Monica Review, The Essay Daily, The Point Magazine, and Open Set. He is almost done writing Jerusalem/September, a novel about anarchists and arms manufacturers in Los Angeles. Spoiler alert: it doesn't end well for anyone. If the novel is okay, they might let him graduate from Otis College's MFA program this summer, and he will self-publish The Hate Journals of the Hobo Mawk: Volume I: Some Remarks as a chapbook and ebook.

Melissa Gutierrez is a second-year student in the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC, where she is currently studying poetry. Her work has appeared in The Oddity and Nameless Magazine.

Michael Mitchell is a second-year student in the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC, with an emphasis on writing for stage and screen. He is currently working on his thesis, a full-length feature screenplay, as well as a historical novel, and recently had his first short story published in FORTH Magazine.

Originally from Michigan, Nicole Olweean is a first-year poet in the University of California Riverside's MFA program. Her work has appeared in Fishladder, Menacing Hedge, and Bird's Thumb.

Niela Orr is an essayist and freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in The Baffler, The Hollywood Reporter, Salon, and KCET’s Artbound, among others. She is currently at work on her thesis project; There Is No Nineteenth Floor, a collection of creative nonfiction investigating liminal space and pop culture across sites as disparate as demolished housing projects in South Philadelphia and the on-stage void evident at a rap hologram performance. She lives in Los Angeles.

Sean Pessin earned an M.A. in English at California State University, Northridge, where he now teaches part-time. He is currently finishing his M.F.A. at Otis College of Art and Design. His work has appeared in Used Gravitrons, Interfictions OnlineThe Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, The New Short Fiction Series, and in the Northridge Review. In general, Sean’s works feature the strange and the queer while being highly conscious of fabulist storytelling traditions.

Paula Tang is a writer from Walnut Creek, California, and is a fiction candidate at the University of California Riverside's MFA program. She is a world traveler and a voracious eater and is working on her first book, a novel in stories currently titled Big Baby Little China.

Julian Smith-Newman is a third-year MFA student in Fiction at UC Irvine. With Meriwether Clarke, he is the 2015 editor of Faultline, UCI’s journal of arts and letters. He is currently completing his first collection of stories.

Amanda Rusher Foushee is in her third year in the Graduate Program in Writing at UC Irvine. She will read from her thesis project, a novel currently titled East.