2022 Oxford Conference for the Book Authors
To see the times speakers will present, please visit the schedule page.
Ser Álida is a Queer Black Dominican writer and educator. Her work dissects ideas of identity— Blackness, queerness, womanhood, Dominicanidad, and language. Ser is a lover of Black people and malecón sunsets, and when she’s not teaching, she’s most commonly found daydreaming about Sunday. You can find her most recent publication in the 2021 summer issue of the Southern Humanities Review (vol. 54.2). She is a 2021–24 MFA Candidate in Fiction at the University of Mississippi.
Kendra Allen was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She is the recipient of the 2018 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction for her essay collection, When You Learn the Alphabet, awarded by Kiese Laymon. She has been featured on C-SPAN, interviewed in The Rumpus and in Poets & Writers, and her work has been taught by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds alongside that of Jamaica Kincaid and Eve Ewing, among other distinctions. She is the author of The Collection Plate (Ecco, 2021) and forthcoming memoir Fruit Punch (Ecco, July 2022).
William Boyle is from Brooklyn, New York. His books include Gravesend, which was nominated for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger; The Lonely Witness, which was nominated for the Hammett Prize and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière; A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself, an Amazon Best Book in 2019 and winner of the Prix Transfuge du meilleur polar étrange, City of Margins, a Washington Post Best Thriller and Mystery Book of 2020; and most recently Shoot the Moonlight Out. He currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Gina Caison is an associate professor of English at Georgia State University where she teaches courses in southern literatures, Native American literatures, and documentary practices. Her first book, Red States: Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, and Southern Studies, won the 2019 C. Hugh Holman Award for the best book in southern literary studies. Along with Lisa Hinrichsen and Stephanie Rountree, she is coeditor of Small-Screen Souths: Region, Identity, and the Cultural Politics of Television and Remediating Region: New Media and the US South. She is currently president of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature, and she has just returned to Atlanta following a year as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Budapest, where she composed the manuscript for her current book project, “Erosion: American Literature and the Anxiety of Disappearance.”
Christy Conner is a writer from southern Louisiana. She has volunteered for many literary events and projects, to name a few, the National Black Book Festival in Houston, the New Orleans Film Festival, and a part of the reader/editor team at her last university’s creative writing journal, where she was twice published. She received her BA degree in English from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and is a first-year MFA fiction student at the University of Mississippi.
W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of A Place Like Mississippi, which takes readers on a complete tour of the real and imagined landscapes that have inspired generations of authors. This is a book that honors and explores the landscapes of Mississippi—and the Magnolia State’s history—and reveals the many ways this landscape has informed the work of some of America’s most treasured authors. Eubanks is the author of two other books: Ever is a Long Time: A Journey into Mississippi’s Dark Past and The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South. The Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named Ever is a Long Time as one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. Richard Ford wrote that The House at the End of the Road “finds its truth in between conventional wisdom and sociological presumption, in between lies and faulty history. It is a story of race, of family, of place itself, and it tells us that compassion and the stirring force of individual human endeavor finally mean more than anything.” Eubanks has contributed articles to the Washington Post’s “Outlook” and “Style” sections, WIRED, The Hedgehog Review, the Wall Street Journal, The American Scholar, the New Yorker, and National Public Radio. A graduate of the University of Mississippi (BA, English and Psychology) and the University of Michigan (MA, English Language and Literature), he is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and has been a fellow at New America. Ralph lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three children. From 1995 to 2013 he was director of publishing for the Library of Congress and is the former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Reviewat the University of Virginia. Currently he is the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Beth Ann Fennelly
Beth Ann Fennelly, a 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, was the poet laureate of Mississippi from 2016 to 2021 and teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi. She’s won grants and awards from the NEA, the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil. Fennelly has published three books of poetry and three of prose, most recently, Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs, which was a Goodreads Favorite and an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Best Book. She lives with her husband, Tom Franklin, and their three children in Oxford, Mississippi.
Natalie Green is the senior manager of public programs at the National Book Foundation. Previously, Natalie was the manager of Los Angeles Programs at PEN America. She holds a BA in English and creative writing from UCLA, is a Brooklyn Book Festival Bookends committee member, and organizes with North Brooklyn Mutual Aid.
Jonathan Haupt is the executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center and the former director of the University of South Carolina Press, where he created the Story River Books fiction imprint with Pat Conroy, named by Garden & Gun magazine as one of “the top ten things to love about the South.” He has served as a fiction judge for the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing.
Derrick Harriell is the Ottilie Schillig Associate Professor of English, African American Studies, and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and an MFA in creative writing from Chicago State University. A two-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, he is the author of three collections of poetry and was the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2014 poetry award winner for his collection Ropes. His essays and book reviews have been published widely.
Nathan Harris holds an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas. The Sweetness of Water, his first novel, was a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and is the winner of this year’s Willie Morris Award for fiction. Harris was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree in 2021. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Sherita L. Johnson
Sherita L. Johnson, an associate professor in the English program at the University of Southern Mississippi, concentrates on nineteenth-century African American literature, southern literature, and cultural studies. The author of Black Women in New South Literature and Culture, her current projects include tracking Frederick Douglass’s activism in the Colored Conventions Movement and examining the works of Frances Harper and other African American writers as witnesses to Reconstruction. Since 2011 Johnson has served as the director of the Center for Black Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a contributor to the edited collection Remediating Region: New Media and the US South.
Robert Jones, Jr.
Robert Jones, Jr. is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Prophets, which is a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Essence, and The Paris Review. He is the creator and curator of the social-justice, social-media community Son of Baldwin, which has over 288,000 followers across platforms.
Susan Kinsolving is a poet whose four books have received critical acclaim from the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Poetry, among others. She is the recipient of five international fellowships. Her poems and libretti have been presented in numerous venues nationally and abroad.
Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area, where she practices medicine and writes books for young readers. She’s always been an omnivorous reader, and now she is an omnivorous writer of fiction and nonfiction, novels and picture books, prose and poetry. She finds inspiration in her family, her childhood, the natural world, math, science, and just about everywhere she looks.
Kate Clifford Larson
Kate Clifford Larson is the author of a number of books including Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero and Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, which was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Her latest book is Walk with Me: A Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer (Oxford University Press). Larson has consulted on feature film scripts, documentaries, museum exhibits, public history initiatives, and numerous publications. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center.
Raven Leilani’s work has been published in Granta, The Yale Review, Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Conjunctions, The Cut, and New England Review, among other publications. Leilani received her MFA from NYU and was an Axinn Foundation Writer-in-Residence. Luster is her first novel. The book won the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is the current John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi.
Margaret McGehee is Associate Dean for Faculty Development and directs the Oxford Center for Teaching and Scholarship at Oxford College of Emory University, where she is also associate professor of English and American Studies. McGehee’s current book project (under contract with LSU Press), Atlanta Fictions: Women Writers’ Urban Imaginaries, focuses on the Atlanta imaginary in modern and contemporary fiction. Her scholarly work has appeared in The Southern Quarterly, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Studies in American Culture, Southern Spaces, North Carolina Literary Review, and in Tison Pugh’s edited volume Queering the South on Screen.
Kathryn McKee is the director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and McMullan Professor of Southern Studies and Professor of English at the University of Mississippi. She is coeditor, with Deborah Barker, of American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary, and her articles have appeared in various journals, including American Literature, Legacy, Southern Literary Journal, and Mississippi Quarterly. She has a PhD in American Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Stephen Monroe is chair and assistant professor in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi. He is an affiliated faculty member in the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and a steering committee member at the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies. Monroe serves as director of the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing. His book, Heritage and Hate: Old South Words and Symbols at Southern Universities, will be published this June as part of the Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique series from the University of Alabama Press.
Jason Mott has published four novels. His first novel, The Returned, was a New York Times Bestseller and was turned into a TV series that ran for two seasons. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction have appeared in various literary journals, and his most recent novel, Hell of a Book, was named the winner of the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction.
Maud Newton has written for The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, and Oxford American. She grew up in Miami and graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English and law.
Joshua Nguyen is a Vietnamese American writer, a College Union National Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) champion , and a native Houstonian. He is the author of the chapbook, American Lục Bát for My Mother (Bull City Press, 2021), and has received fellowships from Kundiman, Tin House, Sundress Academy for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. He has been published in the Offing, Wildness, The American Poetry Review, The Texas Review, Auburn Avenue, Crab Orchard Review, and Gulf Coast. He has also been featured on both the podcasts The VS and The Slowdown. He is a bubble tea connoisseur and works in a kitchen. His debut poetry collection, Come Clean (University of Wisconsin Press), was the winner of the 2021 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. He is a PhD student at the University of Mississippi, where he also received his MFA.
Susan Nicholas is an instructor of composition and rhetoric at the University of Mississippi, where she gets to teach writing to her favorite group of people—first-year college students. She also coordinates the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing.
Ted Ownby is William Winter Professor of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. He is coeditor of the Mississippi Encyclopedia and author of Hurtin’ Words, American Dreams in Mississippi, and Subduing Satan.
Charlotte Pence’s new book of poems, Code, received the 2020 Book of the Year award from Alabama Poetry Society and was a finalist for Foreword Reviews Indie Poetry Book of 2020. Code details not only the life cycle of birth and death but also the means of this cycle: DNA itself. Her first book of poems, Many Small Fires, won Foreword Reviews’ silver medal award in poetry. Both poetry books weave together personal experience and scientific exploration. She is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have recently been published in Harvard Review, Poetry, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Brevity. A graduate of Emerson College (MFA) and the University of Tennessee (PhD), she is now the director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at University of South Alabama.
Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and a faculty associate with the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Jazz Studies. She is the author of six books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, and Breathe: A Letter to My Sons. Her most recent book is South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Perry grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chicago. She currently lives outside Philadelphia with her two sons.
Sam Pink’s books include Person, The No Hellos Diet, Hurt Others, Rontel, Witch Piss, and The Garbage Times/White Ibis. His writing has been published widely in print and on the internet and translated into other languages. He currently lives in Michigan and sells paintings from instagram.com/sam_pink_art. His latest book is The Ice Cream Man and Other Stories.
Bobby Rea is the deputy editor and web editor for Southwest Review.
Liz Scheier is a former Penguin Random House editor who worked in publishing and content development for many years, including at Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon. She writes book reviews and feature articles for Publishers Weekly. She is now a product developer living in Washington, DC, with her husband, two small children, and an ill-behaved cat. Never Simple: A Memoir is her first book.
Marcela Sulak has published three poetry collections, City of Skypapers (2021), Decency: Poems (2015), and Immigrant(2010), and her lyric memoir, Mouth Full of Seeds (2020), with Black Lawrence Press. She’s coedited with Jacqueline Kolosov Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres. Sulak, who translates from the Hebrew, Czech, and French, is a 2019 NEA Translation Fellow, and her fourth book-length translation of poetry, Twenty Girls to Envy Me: Selected Poems of Orit Gidali, was nominated for the 2017 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Her essays have appeared in The Boston Review, The Iowa Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Asymptote, and Gulf Coast, among others. She directs the poetry track of the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University, where she is an associate professor in American literature and is managing editor of The Ilanot Review.
Austin Svedjan is a doctoral student in the Department of English at Louisiana State University, where he studies and teaches queer theory and post-1945 American literature. Austin’s writing appears or is forthcoming in South Atlantic Review, The Southern Quarterly, ASAP/Journal, and elsewhere. His current research examines the everyday experience of “bad sex.”
Monica Lee Weatherly
Monica Lee Weatherly is a poet, writer, and professor of English at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Weatherly is a graduate of Langston University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. She later attended Clark Atlanta University, where she earned a masters in English and a doctor of arts in humanities. She has published articles in popular magazines and poetry in a variety of literary journals, including Tulane Review, Plainsongs, and Auburn Avenue, a bi-annual publication showcasing the intellectual and creative voices of people of color. She is a member of the Georgia Writers Association and is listed in the Georgia Writers Registry. Weatherly is the winner of this year’s Willie Morris Award in poetry. She lives and writes in a small suburb outside of Atlanta.