Pitt Contemporary Writers Series kicks off with Brown Award winner

The Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, which brings notable writers to the Oakland campus every year, has six presentations planned for the 2019-20 school year, with the theme of “The Art of Writing.”

SepKirsten Valdez Quadet. 26: Kirstin Valdez Quade: Reading and Conversation with the winner of the 2019-20 Fred R. Brown Literary Award from Pitt. 7:30-9 p.m., Heinz Memorial Chapel

Quade is author of “Night at the Fiestas: Stories.” The Brown award recognizes talented fiction writers, usually emerging novelists. Quade’s work also won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and more. She will give a reading and participate in a conversation about her work.

Oct. 17: Tisa Bryant & Douglas Kearney: Readings and Onstage Conversation with Yona Harvey, assistant professor in the English Department’s Writing Program. 7:30-9 p.m., Heinz Memorial Chapel

Tisa Bryant is the author of the poetry chapbook “Tzimmes”; the hybrid fiction and essay collection “Unexplained Presence”; and “Residual,” writings on grief, longing, desire and archival research. Bryant teaches fiction and experimental writing in the MFA Creative Writing Program and is co-director of equity and diversity at the California Institute of the Arts.

Douglas Kearney is the author of five books of poetry — “FEAR, SOME”; “Patter”; “The Black Automaton,” a National Poetry Series selection; “Someone Took They Tongues”; and “Buck Studies,” a Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize winner, Community of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker awardee, and California Book Awards silver medalist. He also has written and performed several librettos for opera and the stage. He teaches at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Nov. 7: An Evening of Storytelling with Lulu Miller, Winner of the 2019-20 William Block Sr. Award. 7:30-9 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Center

Lulu Miller is a George Foster Peabody Award-winning journalist at NPR and co-founder of NPR’s “Invisibilia,” a long-form radio show and podcast about “the unseen forces that control human behavior.” She is a contributor to WNYC Studio’s Radiolab, where she worked as a founding producer, and a freelance reporter for NPR’s science desk. Her first book, “Why Fish Don’t Exist,” is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in 2020. The Block award, named for the late publisher of the Post-Gazette, is given to senior and distinguished fiction writers, nonfiction writers and poets.

Jan. 30, 2020: Khadijah Queen & Kathy Fagan: Readings and Onstage Conversation with Yona Harvey. 7:30-9 p.m. Heinz Chapel

Khadijah Queen is the author of the poetry collections “Conduit,” “Black Peculiar,” “Fearful Beloved,” “XsAXZB˜” and “I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On.” She was the winner of the 2014 Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers for her verse play “Non-Sequitur.” She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Colorado Boulder and serves as core faculty for the Mile-High MFA program in creative writing at Regis University.

Kathy Fagan is the author of five books of poetry: “The Raft,” a National Poetry Series selection; “Moving & St Rage,” winner of the 1998 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry; “The Charm”; “Lip” and, most recently, “Sycamore.” Fagan, who is director of Ohio State University’s creative writing program, was named Ohio Poet of the Year for 2017.

Feb. 27, 2020: Julie Murphy & Alessandra Balzer: An Evening about Young Adult Writing and Publishing, moderated by Siobhan Vivian, an instructor in the Department of English. 7:30-9 p.m. Frick Fine Arts Center.

Julie Murphy is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult books “Side Effects May Vary,” “Dumplin’,” “Ramona Blue” and “Puddin’.” Her new book, “Dear Sweet Pea,” will be out in October 2019. A former librarian, she lives in North Texas.

Alessandra Balzer is co-publisher of the HarperCollins Publishers’ young adult imprint Balzer + Bray. In addition to Murphy, her imprint’s authors include Angie Thomas (“The Hate U Give”), Emily Danforth (“The Miseducation of Cameron Post”), and Ben Philippe (“The Field Guide to the North American Teenager”).

March 31, 2020: Cathy FitzGerald: An Evening of Audio Storytelling. 7:30-9 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Center.

Cathy FitzGerald is a writer, radio producer and documentary maker based in London. Her radio documentaries and podcasts have been featured on BBC Radio 4, the BBC World Service, and international broadcasters. Her first radio documentary, “The Magic Carpet Flight Manual,” received the Radio Academy Production Award in 2010. FitzGerald is the founder of Strange & Charmed, a school for audio storytelling. She has a doctorate in English literature from the University of Sussex focusing on the works of Charles Dickens.