2023 Press Releases All Stories

WCSU M.F.A. program to host readings, Q&A sessions during January event

M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing Coordinator Dr. Anthony D'Aries
M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing Coordinator Dr. Anthony D'Aries
M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing Coordinator Dr. Anthony D’Aries

DANBURY, Connecticut — Award-winning novelists, poets and nonfiction authors will read from and discuss their works during the Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing winter residency next month hosted by Western Connecticut State University. A series of programs each evening during the first week in January will feature distinguished writers whose achievements include selection as recipients of the Housatonic Book Award as well as major national publishing honors.

An Opening Reception featuring readings by WCSU M.F.A. faculty will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, at Hotel Zero Degrees, 15 Milestone Road in Danbury. The readings on Jan. 3 through 5, 2024, will be at 7:30 p.m. in Room 218 of the Westside Classroom Building on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Admission is free and the public is invited to the events listed below.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 3: A reading and Q&A session with the 2023 Housatonic Book Award winner in Poetry, Jill McDonough. Her books of poems include “Habeas Corpus” (Salt, 2008), “Where You Live” (Salt, 2012), “Reaper” (Alice James, 2017) and “Here All Night” (Alice James, 2019). The recipient of three Pushcart prizes and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and Stanford’s Stegner program, McDonough taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education Program for 13 years. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Slate, The Nation, The Threepenny Review and Best American Poetry. She teaches in the M.F.A. program at UMass-Boston and offers College Reading and Writing in Boston jails. Her sixth poetry collection, “American Treasure,” won WCSU’s 2023 Housatonic Book Award for Poetry. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/events/1036373287694275.
  • Thursday, Jan. 4: Readings and Q&A sessions with Young Adult (YA) authors E.A. Neeves and Patricia Park. Neeves grew up in New England, where she spent many summers lifeguarding at an idyllic lake, and occasionally catching snapping turtles. She enjoys tea, swimming and board games that take entire evenings to play. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found spending time with her family at their (probably not haunted) home in Salem, Massachusetts. “After You Vanished” is her YA debut. Park is a tenured professor of Creative Writing at American University, a Fulbright Scholar in Creative Arts, an Edith Wharton Writer-in-Residence, and a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow. She is the author of the YA novel “Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim,” and the adult novel “Re Jane,” a retelling of Jane Eyre named New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, winner of an American Library Association Award, an NPR Fresh Air pick, and others. She’s written for the New York Times, New Yorker, Guardian, and others. Her new YA novel, “What’s Eating Jackie Oh?” is forthcoming in April 2024. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/3656415664680268.
  • Friday, Jan. 5: Nonfiction author Scott Ellsworth will participate in a reading and Q&A session. He is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Secret Game” and winner of the 2016 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. Ellsworth has written about American history for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Formerly a historian at the Smithsonian Institution, he is also the author of “The World Beneath Their Feet” and “Death in a Promised Land.” His most recent book, “The Ground Breaking: The Tulsa Race Massacre and an American City’s Search for Justice,” won WCSU’s 2022 Housatonic Book Award for Nonfiction. Ellsworth lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he teaches in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. Learn more at www.facebook.com/events/1017289469357759.

The evening series is presented as part of the Winter Residency for graduate students currently enrolled in the M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing program at WCSU. Launched in 2005, the M.F.A. program enables participants from across the nation to pursue master’s degree studies in a diverse range of creative and professional writing genres through a comprehensive distance learning program complemented by summer and winter in-person residencies. The coordinator of the WCSU M.F.A. program is Anthony D’Aries, a widely published essayist and author of “The Language of Men: A Memoir,” winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Prize and Foreword Magazine’s Memoir of the Year Award.

For more information, visit the M.F.A. program website at www.wcsu.edu/writing/mfa or contact WCSU Communications and Marketing at pr@wcsu.edu.


 Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.