The Pitt-Greensburg Writers Festival celebrates its 16th year when it opens Monday, April 6. The Festival runs through Friday, April 10, with a special added event Wednesday, April 15. The readings and presentations from April 8 through April 9 begin at 7 p.m. in Fireside Lounge in Chambers Hall. The event on April 10 begins at 8:30 p.m. and the event on April 15 begins at 7 p.m. in Village Hall. All events are free and open to the public.
This year’s festival features award-winning writers, poets, and songwriters, including “New York Times” bestselling author Stewart O’Nan, Brooklyn noir/crime writer William Boyle, recording artist Emily Rogers, acclaimed memoirist Nancy McCabe, Pitt-Greensburg alumni authors, and other writers.
There will be a special screening of Pittsburgh-based filmmaker Julie Sokolow’s award-winning documentary, “Aspie Seeks Love,” with a possible appearance by the director. The date and time of this event will be announced.
Each evening will also feature student readings and question-and-answer sessions. Books will be available for sale and signing throughout the festival, and a booksigning/reception follows each event.
The line-up includes:
Monday, April 6 – 7 p.m. in Fireside Lounge
Aubrey Hirsch – Fiction/Nonfiction
Aubrey Hirsch is the author of a short story collection, “Why We Never Talk About Sugar,” and a chapbook, “This Will Be His Legacy.” Her work has appeared in “American Short Fiction,” “Hobart,” “The New York Times,” “The Rumpus,” “Brain,” “Child Magazine,” and elsewhere.
Emily Rodgers – Songwriting
Emily Rodgers's music has been compared to Mazzy Star, Cat Power, and Neil Young. Rodgers's 2009 release “Bright Day” was mixed and mastered by legendary indie producer Kramer, who has praised her music in a number of interviews, calling her "a songwriter in the classic sense of the term." In 2008, Rodgers signed to Misra Records; that same year, she performed at the SXSW Music Festival. Rodgers has shared stages with artists including: Magnolia Electric Company, Great Lake Swimmers, Nina Nastasia, Thalia Zedek Band, Hayden, Horse Feathers, and Jolie Holland.
“The Pittsburgh City Paper” noted, “Emily Rodgers’s music is her own brand of post-rural, ethereal alt-country drenched in primo melancholy and reverb."
Tuesday, April 7 – 7 p.m. in Fireside Lounge
Phil Terman – Poetry
Phil Terman’s books of poetry include “Our Portion: New and Selected Poems” (Autumn House, 2015), “The Torah Garden” (Autumn House, 2011), “Rabbis of the Air” (Autumn House, 2007), “Book of the Unbroken Days” (Mammoth books, 2005) and “The House of Sages” (Mammoth books, 1998). His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including “Poetry, The Georgia Review,” “The Kenyon Review,” “The Sun Magazine,” “The Forward,” “The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary Poetry,” “The New Promised Land: An Anthology of Jewish American Poetry” and “99 Poems for the 99 Percent.” Many of his poems have been translated into Arabic by the Syrian writer and scholar Salleh Rouzzak, and published in several Arabic journals.
Christine Stroud – Poetry/Literary Editing
Christine Stroud is originally from eastern North Carolina but currently lives in Pittsburgh and works as the Associate Editor for Autumn House Press. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University and a BA in Literature from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Her chapbook, “The Buried Return,” was published by Finishing Line Press in March of 2014. Her poem, “You Called the Night it Snowed in April,” was published in “Ninth Letter’s” first web edition and she received the Best Thesis in Poetry award from Chatham University for her manuscript, “Brick Wall.”
Wednesday, April 8 – 7 p.m. in Fireside Lounge
Steve Sherrill-- Fiction
Steven Sherrill, associate professor of English and Integrative Arts, writes, paints, parents, teaches, and makes a little music in and around Penn State Altoona. After receiving a welding diploma from Mitchell Community College (and the passing of a considerable amount of time) he went on to earn an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 2002, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Fiction. His first novel, “The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break,” is translated into eight languages. His second novel, “Visits From the Drowned Girl,” published by Random House, US, and Canongate, UK, was released in 2004 followed by his third novel, “The Locktender’s House,” (Random House, 2008). In November 2010, CW Books released the poetry collection, “Ersatz Anatomy” and, in 2015, Louisiana State University Press released “Joy, PA.” A full listing of Sherrill’s work can be found at www.stevensherrill.com.
Jessica Server – Poetry
Jessica Server holds an MFA in poetry and a certificate in travel writing from Chatham University. She is currently the nonfiction instructor at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) High School, and works as a teaching artist and writer around the city. Her first chapbook of poems, Sever the Braid, is currently available from Finishing Line Press.
Thursday, April 9 – 7 p.m. in Fireside Lounge
William Boyle -- Fiction
William Boyle is from Brooklyn, NY, and lives in Oxford, MS. He is the author of the novel “Gravesend” and the short story collection “Death Don't Have No Mercy.” His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in “Mississippi Noir” (edited by Tom Franklin), “L.A. Review of Books,” “The Rumpus,” “Hobart,” “Lazy Fascist Review,” “Needle: A Magazine of Noir,” and other magazines and journals. “Gravesend” will be published in France by Rivages/Noir in late 2015.
Stewart O’Nan -- Fiction
Stewart O’Nan’s award-winning fiction includes “Snow Angels,” “A Prayer for the Dying,” “Last Night at the Lobster,” and “Emily, Alone.” “Granta” named him one of America’s Best Young Novelists. He lives in Pittsburgh.
Friday, April 10 – 8:30 p.m. in Fireside Lounge -- Alumni Celebration Reading Featuring
Dave Newman – Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry
Dave Newman is the author of the novels “Two Small Birds” (Writers Tribe Books, 2014), “Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children” (Writers Tribe Books, 2012) and “Please Don’t Shoot Anyone Tonight” (World Parade Books, 2010), and the collection, “The Slaughterhouse Poems” (White Gorilla Press, 2013), named one of the Best Books of 2013 by “L Magazine.” He’s worked as a truck driver, a book store manager, an air filter salesman, a house painter, and a college instructor. More than 100 of his poems and stories have appeared in magazines throughout the world, including “Gulf Stream,” “Word Riot,” “Smokelong Quarterly,” “Rattle,” “Wormwood Review,” “Tears in the Fence” (UK), and “The New Yinzer.” He has been the featured writer and on the cover of both “5AM” and “Chiron Review.” Anthologies include “Beside the City of Angels” (World Parade Books) and “The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary Poetry” (Autumn House Press). He is the winner of the Andre Dubus Prize for the Novella.
Adam Matcho – Nonfiction/Poetry
Adam Matcho is an obituary writer and contributor to “The New Yinzer.” He is a former technical writer, novelty shop clerk, basketball coach, and gas station attendant. His chapbook, “Six Dollars an Hour: Confessions of a Gemini Writer,” was published by Liquid Paper Press and his essay collection, “The Novelty Essays,” was published by WPA Press. When not writing death notices, Adam tries to write about life. He lives in a former craft shop with his wife, two sons and too many animals. As Dave Newman has said, "Adam Matcho has more talent than most corporations have profits, and his vision of America is tragic and brilliant and hilarious.”
Pitt-Greensburg alumni writers who’ve published their work are invited to come back to campus and read during the open reading session following Newman and Matcho.
Special Added Event
Wednesday, April 15 – 7 p.m. in Village Hall
Pitt-Greensburg Senior Capstone Readings featuring Award-Winning Guest Author Nancy McCabe
Nancy McCabe is the author of four memoirs: “From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood” (Missouri 2014); “Crossing the Blue Willow Bridge: A Journey to My Daughter's Birthplace in China” (Missouri 2011); “Meeting Sophie: A Memoir of Adoption” (Missouri 2003); and “After the Flashlight Man: A Memoir of Awakening” (Purdue 2003). Her work has received a Pushcart and been recognized six times by Houghton-Mifflin Best American Notable Lists. She directs the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Spalding University.
Pitt-Greensburg’s graduating senior writing majors will read from their Capstone thesis projects. Readers include: Shannon Sankey (poetry), Tessa Sarver (fiction), Christina Walters (fiction), Kevin Scrima (memoir), Nikki Pena (poetry/nonfiction), Luke McDermott (poetry).
The Pitt-Greensburg Writers Festival is sponsored the campus’s Writing Program, the Pitt-Greensburg Student Government Association, the Pitt-Greensburg Academic Villages, and the Office of Academic Affairs. Special thanks to “The Pitt-Greensburg Insider” and “Pendulum” for their support. Academic Village credit is available for students attending Writers Festival events.
For more information about the festival, contact Lori Jakiela, associate professor of English, at 724-836-7481 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.