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NewsJun 4, 2018

Olive Senior, Mira T. Lee headline reading series

Hear acclaimed poets, authors, playwrights and YA writers from June 22 to 27

Two headshots: Left, Olive Senior. Right, Mira T. Lee

Lesley University’s summer reading series will bring a variety of acclaimed authors to campus June 22 to 27 at Marran Theater, 34 Mellen St., Cambridge. All readings are free and open to the public.

Mira T. Lee and Olive Senior will headline the annual series as visiting writers. A selection of writers from the Lesley MFA faculty will also read from their work in nonfiction, poetry, fiction and writing for young people.

Lee, a Cambridge resident and recipient of an Artist’s Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, will read from her debut novel, “Everything Here is Beautiful.” The novel was selected an Indie Next pick by the American Booksellers Association and named as a top pick by The Wall Street Journal, O Magazine and Poets & Writers, among others. Lee’s short fiction has also appeared in journals such as the Southern Review and Harvard Review. She will read from her novel on Wednesday, June 27 at 7 p.m.

The Jamaican-born Senior is the author of 17 books of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s literature. For her nonfiction work, “Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal,” Senior won the Lewis Book Prize of the Caribbean Studies Association and was shortlisted for the Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book Awards.

Although she now resides in Toronto, Canada, Senior’s work never strays far from her Jamaican roots, and she is currently working on a web-based version of her popular “Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage.” On Saturday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m., Senior will read from “Dying to Better Themselves.”

“Each MFA residency offers a wide range of MFA faculty readings, as well as featuring visiting writers who have received national or international recognition for their work,” notes Steven Haven, director of Lesley’s MFA in Creative Writing program.

During the June 2018 residency, seven MFA faculty, representing five literary genres, will offer presentations of their work. As always, these evening readings are free and open to the public. Faculty and visiting writer books are available for sale after each reading.

The full schedule is as follows:

Friday, June 22, 5 p.m.

Saturday, June 23, 6:30 p.m.

  • Olive Senior, nonfiction

Sunday, June 24, 7 p.m.

Monday, June 25, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 27, 7 p.m.

  • Mira T. Lee, fiction
  • Pam Petro, nonfiction

Picture Book Project seminars

In addition to the readings, the Picture Book Project at Lesley will hold two two free seminars on aspects of the picture book, Sunday, June 24 at Marran Theater.

11 a.m. — Scars and Stars: Daring to create a picture book on a difficult subject

NY Times bestselling author and illustrator Brian Lies talks about following your gut instinct and creating work that feels important to you – even when that work is on a difficult subject, and you’re full of doubts. Using his upcoming book "The Rough Patch" (Greenwillow, August) as a guide, he’ll show how one idea’s decade-long journey unfolded in both words and pictures. . . and garnered starred reviews.

12:45 — Up the creek

In this panel, picture book authors David Elliott, Susan Goodman, Michelle Knudsen and Brian Lies will provide insights into how they dealt with work that for a variety of reasons presented unanticipated difficulties.

The MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University holds two residencies per year. Each residency offers a wide range of MFA faculty readings representing five literary genres as well as other acclaimed visiting writers. These evening readings are free and open to the public. Faculty and visiting writers' books are available for sale after each reading.