Thursday, February 18
Session 2 - 1:30 pm PST 
Register here

Kamala Puligandla 
Melissa Valentine
Tommy Pico

Department of Creative Writing

44th Annual Writers Week Festival 2021

Allison Adelle Hedge CokeWriters Week director
Writers Week is the longest-running, free literary event in California and features the most renowned authors of our day alongside those at the start of promising careers.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke 
Director, Writers Week
Distinguished Professor

Tom Lutz 
Publisher, Los Angeles Review of Books 
UCR Creative Writing Department Chair 
Distinguished Professor 


February 13 and 16-19, 2021
ONLINE. Free and open to the public. 

Captioned & ASL translated.
February 20 Post-festival ticketed celebration with our Lifetime Achievement Award partner LA Review of BooksLearn more

Download the Interactive Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees Poster here

Download the Interactive 44th Writers Week Poster here

Rita Dove, Joy Harjo and Juan Felipe Herrera

2021 LA Review of Books (LARB) – UCR Department of Creative Writing 
Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees, US Poet Laureates

Mike Davis – D. Charles Whitney Reader 
Karen Tei Yamashita – Stephen Minot Lecture

Writers Week Featured Writers 
Millicent Borges Accardi • Kazim Ali • Francisco Aragón • Joseph Cassara • Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle • Camille T. Dungy • Carolyn Dunn • Steve Erickson • Kelli Jo Ford • Reyna Grande • Stephanie Elizondo Griest • Nalo Hopkinson • LeAnne Howe • John Jennings • Stephen Graham Jones • Laila Lalami • Brandy Nālani McDougall • Shin Yu Pai • Craig Santos Perez • Tommy Pico • Elizabeth Powell • Kamala Puligandla • Alison C. Rollins • Jane Smiley • Michael Torres • Melissa Valentine • Allison Benis White


Thursday, Feb 18 
Session 2 – 1:30 pm PST

Kamala Puligandla 
Communications and Marketing Director at Women's Center for Creative Work
Zigzags (Not A Cult, 2020)  
You Can Vibe Me On My FemmePhone (Co — Conspirator Press, 2021

Melissa Valentine 
The Names of All the Flowers: A Memoir (The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2020

Tommy Pico 
Poetry Editor Catapult Magazine 
FX show Reservation Dogs writer
Feed (Tin House Books, 2019)  



Kamala Puligandla 
I'm Kamala Puligandla and I write fiction, essays, and other ditties. My first novel, Zigzags, is out from Not A Cult, my novella, You Can Vibe Me On My FemmePhone, is forthcoming from Co-Conspirator Press & I’m the Communications and Marketing Director at Women's Center for Creative Work.

I earned my fabulous queerdo status at Oberlin College, and received my MFA in Fiction from UC Riverside. I've had the great pleasure of attending workshops and residencies at Community of Writers, VONA, The Vermont Studio Centers, The Home School, This Will Take Time and Kundiman.

I live in Los Angeles, where I also eat, snob, wear elastic-waisted pants, skulk around the farmer’s market, attempt to go to the Y, swipe on Tinder, and thrift for flair that makes style pop. I’m from Oakland, CA and have previously lived there, Portland, OR, and Chicago, IL.

My writing is for and about the radical, queer, mixed, black/brown, folks who continue to show me the great pleasure my life can be, and who inspire my visions of our future. 

For the latest & greatest in radical media, check out my friends, muses and co-combantants, bitchface.

Melissa Valentine 
Melissa Valentine’s debut memoir, The Names Of All The Flowers, was named the 2019 winner of the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize and is forthcoming from the feminist pressed July 2020.  A writer and an editor born and raised in Oakland, California, Melissa received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA from Mills College. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Jezebel, Apogee, Niche, Friends Journal, Sassafras, and Blackberry

She was a finalist for Glimmer Train’s Family Matters contest and her work received honorable mention for the Ardella Mills Nonfiction Award. Melissa has also been a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. 

Melissa is currently Executive Editor at Callisto Media in New York. She lives in Brooklyn. 

Tommy Pico 
Tommy “Teebs” Pico is author of the books IRL (Birds, LLC, 2016), winner of the 2017 Brooklyn Library Literary Prize and a finalist for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), winner of a 2018 American Book Award and finalist for the 2018 Lambda Literary Award, Junk (Tin House Books, 2018) finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award, Feed (Tin House Books, 2019) a New York Times Notable book of 2020, and the zine series Hey, Teebs. He was the founder and editor in chief of birdsong, an antiracist/queer-positive collective, small press, and zine that published art and writing from 2008-2013. He was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural fellow, 2013 Lambda Literary fellow in poetry, a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, was awarded the 2017 Friends of Literature prize from the Poetry Foundation, won a 2018 Whiting Award, and he’s been profiled in Time Out New York, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now splits his time between Los Angles and Brooklyn. He co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker at the Ace Hotel, co-hosts the podcasts Food 4 Thot and Scream, Queen!, is poetry editor at Catapult Magazine, writes for the FX show Reservation Dogs, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub.  



The 44th Writers Week 2021 is made possible by support from Ken Crocker, Inland Empire MagazineThea Temple / Jack and Jacob Myers Literary FundRiverside Latino NetworkAfrican Student ProgramsMiddle Eastern Student CenterUCR Department of EnglishUCR Department of Ethnic StudiesUCR Department of MusicUCR Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital ProductionCenter for Ideas and SocietyCalifornia Center for Native NationsDr. Michael Alexander, Associate Professor and Maimonides Chair of Jewish Studies, Dr. Melissa Wilcox, Professor and Holstein Endowed Chair, Pr. Alex Espinoza, Associate Professor, Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing and English, Distinguished Professor, Allison Adelle Hedge CokeDr. Clifford Trafzer, Distinguished Professor of History and Rupert and Jeanette Henry Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs, UCR ARTSCollege of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Dean’s Officeour generous sponsors through #UCRGivingTues donorsNative American Student Programs Office (NASP), Joshua Gonzales, Director, the Ratcliffe Family Creative Writing Endowment Fund and Los Angeles Review of Books.

#UCRGivingTues* donors include: Mark O. Bailie, Melissa A. Bartholomew, Katherine Benouar, Kathleen DeAtley, Clyde D. Derrick III, Terri L. Dunlap, Pr. Alex Espinoza, Diana Fontaine, Katherine K. Fugate, Jeffrey J. Girod, Kimberly V. Gomez-Fraser, Pr. Allison Hedge Coke, Travis B. Hedge Coke, Dr. Laila Lalami, Malinn C. Loeung, Michael Lundell, Jennifer Merrett, Heather M. Morales, LaSharon A. McLean Perez, Cati Porter, Rachel L. Pulido, Assistant Vice Chancellor Emily M. Rankin and Eveleen D. Samayoa.

Book purchases
hyperlink is now available for all attendees to purchase books from our own campus B & N bookstore here. Cellar Door Books is our recommended local independent store. Be sure to stop by their page.


• FB UCR Writers Week
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• IG @ucrwritersweek 
• Twitter @ucrwritersweek 
• Twitter #ucrwritersresist  

Click here to read UC Riverside's statement of support for Black Lives Matter and Native Land Recognitions. 

View the 44th Writers Week Events Calendar Directory here


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