Recap: 2018 Writer’s Week

By Melissa Fuentes & Chloe Rodriguez, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Interns
April 13, 2018

Writer’s Week: a week in which hundreds gather to hear some of the most wonderful voices in the world. On a chilly Friday evening, February 16, many awaited to meet with the wonderful and unique author, Maxine Hong Kingston. The classroom filled with students, faculty, and staff. Chancellor Wilcox welcomed Maxine with a Life-Time Achievement Award honoring her accomplishments and success. Following this award, Maxine began reading the first poem she composed as a child for her third and fourth grandfather. She then took the audience on a journey through her life following a timeline from her work. She read excerpts from pieces such as China Men and The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. She ended by reading the last word of her last published novel, “enough.” With a sweet ending, the Q&A began. Some were curious about her work specifically, others wanted writing advice for the upcoming generations; Maxine happily answered and did not hold back. “What work are you most proud of?” someone asked. “I feel pretty good about all of it,” Maxine responded. The crowd cheered and soon after rushed to the front to meet her and get their books signed. Though at one point Maxine shared she wanted to stop writing, she realizes she will never stop.

On Saturday evening, February 17, UCR’s theatre opened their doors to a line of students and faculty anticipating to see American writer, professor, editor, and commentator, Roxane Gay. After an introduction of her works including her latest book, Hunger, Roxane Gay appeared on stage, and settled down in a comfortable chair. From there, she read a few excerpts from Hunger which depicted horrific acts that she had went through at a young age which resulted in a long journey of going to food for comfort. She then explained how it was like growing up with supportive parents who had no idea of the things she had gone through until she wrote this book. After reading a few excerpts, a Q&A opened. Some had asked about publishing, others how to stay motivated when it comes to writing. Some even knew about the graphic novel she worked on about Wakanda, World of Wakanda which ties into the new Black Panther movie that just came out. Towards the very end, she said something that resonated with me, “you have to take care of yourself, before you can begin writing”. If you don’t take care of yourself first, your writing will suffer. After her talk, the crowd dispersed out into the lobby where her books Bad Feminist: Essays, Hunger, and World of Wakanda were being sold, and right next to her books, she sat signing them.

Alongside Maxine Hong Kingston and Roxane Gay, were many other phenomenal authors and publishers including some of UCR’s very own gems: Chris Buckley, Micah Chatterton, Josh Emmons, Vickie Vertiz, Charmaine Craig, and John Jennings.

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