Season 28 of the Contemporary Writers Series will focus on Engaging a Beautiful Mind: Writing and Mental Health

Always engaging, inspiring, and thought-provoking, the Contemporary Writers Series is a curated look at the literature in our lives. Join us for this fresh series of author talks on the Aquinas College campus.

Francisco Stork

Francisco Stork
Thursday, September 26, 2024

Francisco X. Stork was born in Monterrey, Mexico. When he was six years old, Charles Stork, a retired American citizen, married Ruth Arguelles, a single mother, adopted Francisco and moved the three-member family to El Paso, Texas.

Francisco studied at Spring Hill College, a Jesuit College in Mobile Alabama, where he majored in English and Philosophy. He received an M.A. in Latin American Literature from Harvard University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. Francisco worked as an attorney for a state agency developing affordable housing before retiring in 2015. Eight of his eleven novels were written while working as a lawyer. Francisco lives outside of Boston with his wife Jill Syverson. He has two grown children and four grandchildren.

One Last Chance to Live, published September 2024, is Francisco’s latest novel. Other award-winning novels include Marcelo in the Real World, recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award; The Memory of Light, recipient of the Tomás Rivera Book Award; Disappeared, which was a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor Book, Illegal, recipient of the Texas Institute of Letters Young Adult Award, On the Hook, recipient of the International Latino Book Award and I Am Not Alone, recipient of three starred reviews.

Jill TalbotJill Talbot
Thursday, November 14, 2024

Jill Talbot is the author of The Last Year, Winner of the 2023 Wandering Aengus Press Editor’s Prize in Nonfiction, a collection of essays based on her 2019-2020 Paris Review Daily column about her daughter’s last year at home before leaving for college. She’s also the author of Loaded: Women and Addiction, a collection of personal essays, and The Way We Weren’t: A Memoir. Her short story collection, A Distant Town, won The Florida Review’s Jeanne C. Leiby Award in 2021. Talbot’s essays have appeared in AGNI, Brevity, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Hotel Amerika, Lit Mag, River Teeth: A Journal of Narrative Nonfiction, and Southwest Review, among others. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of North Texas.

Amanda Stern

Amanda Stern
Thursday, March 27, 2025

Amanda Stern is the author of 13 books–The Long Haul (a novel), Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life (a memoir), and 11 books for kids written under pseudonyms, including You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, which Adam Sandler turned into a Netflix movie. She writes the psychology and mental health newsletter "How to Live," ( which goes out to 18K subscribers. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her dog Busy. They are both working on novels.