Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College
  • speaker

    Contemporary Writers Series

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all readings are at 7:30 p.m. in the Wege Ballroom on the Aquinas College campus

Thisbe Nissen Thisbe Nissen

September 26, 2019

Thisbe Nissen is the author of three novels, The Good People of New York, Osprey Island, and, most recently, Our Lady of the Prairie. She has also published a story collection, Out of the Girls’ Room and into the Night, and is co-author (with Erin Ergenbright) of The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook, a collection of stories, recipes and art collages. She has taught fiction writing at The New School, Pacific University, Brandeis, Columbia, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and, since 2010, at Western Michigan University. Thisbe earned a BA in English and Creative Writing from Oberlin College in 1994 and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1997. She’s a quilter, collagist, photographer, and vegetable gardener. Thisbe and her husband, writer Jay Baron Nicorvo, live—with their young son, cats, and chickens—in rural southwest Michigan.

Kathleen Dean Moore Kathleen Dean Moore

November 14, 2019

Kathleen Dean Moore, Ph.D., is a philosopher, climate defender, and writer, the author or co-editor of more than a dozen books. Her first books of essays -- Riverwalking, Holdfast, Pine Island Paradox, and Wild Comfort -- celebrated wet, wild places. But global warming and ecosystem collapse deeply unsettled her. Leaving her position as Distinguished Professor of Environmental Ethics at Oregon State University, she turned her writing to a defense of the reeling world, first in Moral Ground, then in Great Tide Rising. Her newest book is a novel about a transformative act of resistance to the plunder of an Alaskan river -- Piano Tide, winner of the Willa Cather Award for Contemporary Fiction. Her forthcoming book is Axis of Betrayal: The Human-Rights Impacts of Fracking and Climate Change. Kathleen lives in Corvallis, Oregon and in a small cabin where two creeks and a bear trail meet a tidal cove in southeast Alaska.;

Jay Baron Nicorvo Jay Baron Nicorvo

February 13, 2020

Jay baron Nicorvo is the author of a novel, The Standard Grand (St. Martin's Press), picked for IndieBound's Indie Next List, Library Journal's Debut Novels Great First Acts, and named a best book of the year by The Brooklyn Rail. He's published a poetry collection, Deadbeat (Four Way Books), and his nonfiction has twice been named “Notable” in Best American Essays. He lives on an old farm outside Battle Creek, Michigan, with his wife, Thisbe Nissen, their son, and a dozen vulnerable chickens. Find Jay at

Chris Merrill Chris Merrill (CANCELED) 

April 16, 2020

Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many edited volumes and translations; and six books of nonfiction, among them, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, and Self-Portrait with Dogwood. His writings have been translated into nearly forty languages; his journalism appears widely; his honors include a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French government and a Guggenheim Fellowship. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries. He serves on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, and in April 2012 President Barack Obama appointed him to the National Council on the Humanities.