Pitt-Greensburg’s Written/Spoken Series welcomes journalist and nonfiction writer Maggie Messitt and poet and fiction writer Jim Daniels on Thursday, March 1, at 7 p.m. in the Mary Lou Campana Chapel and Lecture Center. The reading is free and open to the public, and a book sale and signing will follow the readings.
Messitt is an independent-narrative and immersion journalist, and she has spent the last decade reporting from inside underserved communities in southern Africa and Midwestern America. Her work is deeply invested in rural regions, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Messitt lived in northeastern South Africa from 2003 to 2011, and, during this time, she was a long-form reporter, newspaper editor, and the founding director of a writing school for rural African women. Her projects and programs were funded by the International Academy of Film and Television, the Lonely Planet Foundation, and the South African Media Development and Diversity Agency.
Since returning to the United States, Messitt’s reportage and essays have been published by numerous outlets, including “Creative Nonfiction,” “Memoir Journal,” the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Tolerance” magazine, and “World Literature Today.” In 2010, she earned a Multimedia Storytelling Fellowship at UC-Berkeley’s Knight Digital Media Center and was recognized by Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies for an excerpt of her book “The Rainy Season.” Messitt holds a BA from Boston College, an MFA from Goucher College, and a PhD in creative nonfiction from Ohio University. She currently teaches in the MFA programs at Goucher College and Chatham University, in addition to leading workshops for “Creative Nonfiction” in Pittsburgh, PA, and Lighthouse Writers Workshops, in Colorado.
Jim Daniels has been a professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University since 1981, and his interests lie in poetry, fiction, and screenwriting. His most recent works include his 16th collection of poetry, “Street Calligraphy,” published this year. Other works include “Birth Marks” (2013); “Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry” (2011); “Eight Mile High” (2014); and “Trigger Man” (2011). Daniels has written four produced screenplays, his most recent being “The End of Blessings.” His poems have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s “Writer’s Almanac,” in Billy Collins’ “Poetry 180” anthologies, and Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” series. He received the Brittingham Prize for Poetry, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His poetry has also appeared in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Daniels received his BA from Alma College and his MFA from Bowling Green State University.
Opening for Daniels will be Pitt-Greensburg writers Brianna Dettlinger and Kaylee Hauck. Both writers work in creative nonfiction and serve as editors for “The Insider,” Pitt-Greensburg’s student-run newspaper.
Written/Spoken is a reading series that brings nationally known poets and writers to the Pitt-Greensburg campus. It also gives undergraduate students the ability to participate in readings, network with other writers, and give performances of their own work. The series is sponsored by Pitt-Greensburg’s Creative & Professional Writing Program and the Office of Academic Affairs. For more information, please contact Lori Jakiela, professor of English and Creative Writing, by phone at 724-836-7481 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.