Contemporary Writers Series  


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2013 - 2014 Featured Writers

Elena Passarello Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Thomas Lux Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Debra Marquart Monday, February 17, 2014
Luis Alberto Urrea Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all readings are at 7:30 p.m. and in the Wege Ballroom.

Lunchtime talks to the Aquinas Community are at 12:30 p.m. in the Wege Center Loutit Room.
Lunchtime talk for Elena Passarello will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013.

Elena Passarello - Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Elena Passarello

Elena Passarello is the author of Let Me Clear My Throat, and her writings on music, performance, pop culture, and the natural world have appeared in Slate, Creative Nonfiction, The Normal School, Ninth Letter, The Iowa Review, and the 2012 music writing anthology Pop When the World Falls Apart. She recently won a gold medal in the Independent Book Publishers Nonfiction category.


A graduate of the writing programs at the University of Pittsburgh (BA) and University of Iowa (MFA), Passarello now lives in Corvallis, Oregon, where she is an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University. >More About Elena

Thomas Lux - Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux is known for pairing humor with existentialism. Lux is the author of several books, including Memory’s Handgrenade, Split Horizon, The Street of Clocks, The Cradle Place, and God Particles. His many awards and honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Born in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1946, Lux attended Emerson College and the University of Iowa. He taught at Sarah Lawrence College for over twenty years and is affiliated with the Warren Wilson MFA program. Lux currently serves as the Bourne Chair in Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. >More About Thomas

Debra Marquart - Monday, February 17, 2014
Debra Marquart

Debra Marquart is the author of The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories, From Sweetness, and The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere. Marquart’s works have appeared in numerous journals such as The North American Review, The Sun Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, and Witness. Her numerous awards include the John Guyon Nonfiction Award, the Mid-American Review Nonfiction Award, the Pearl Poetry Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a 2008 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship.


Marquart currently teaches at the Iowa State University MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment and the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast MFA Program. >More About Debra

Luis Alberto Urrea - Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea has published extensively in many genres and has received many prestigious awards, including an Edgar Award and Lannan Literary Award, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Collectively, his books The Devil’s Highway, The Hummingbird’s Daughter and his 2008 novel Into the Beautiful North have been chosen by more than thirty different cities and colleges across the country for One Book community read programs.


Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea grew up in San Diego, California. He served as a relief worker in the Tijuana garbage dumps while a young man, prior to receiving a teaching Fellowship to Harvard University. The Mexican-American border has defined his life and colored much of his writing. Urrea has taught at Massachusetts Bay Community College, the University of Colorado, and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Urrea is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.