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WITS Writer Winter Reading

Join Writers in the Schools (WITS) as we close out this year in community for our annual WITS Writer Winter Reading. Although we’d normally gather in the library at Literary Arts, we invite you to cozy up from the comfort of your own spaces and listen to literary excellence at this virtual reading held via Zoom.

This free public event will feature WITS writers Brian Benson, CJ Wiggan, Dey Rivers, Matt Smith, Meg E. Griffitts, Valarie Pearce, Damien Miles-Paulson, and Carolina Goméz-Montoya.

RSVP HERE: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwrdOmgqTMoGdIQc07ZCqqDMYiPaExtqLNw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event. For tech questions about the event, please contact Jules Ohman, WITS Program Specialist, at jules@literary-arts.org.

To learn more about Writers in the Schools, and our roster of teaching artists, head to literary-arts.org/about/programs/youth/writers-in-schools/

 

Valarie Pearce 

Valarie Pearce is a Portland-based writer, educator, and curriculum content developer. Having earned her M.Ed. from Concordia University, she has taught high school women’s studies and social sciences.  Valarie has written four children’s books: When Mommy Needs A Timeout, When Daddy Needs A Timeout, I Love Colors, and Little Dot.  Her work  appears in SMART’S Oregon Reads Aloud:  A Collection of 25 Children’s Stories by Oregon Authors and Illustrators. She is currently working on a YA novel centering a young girl, abandoned and troubled, who finds the miracles of love and compassion shine brightest in the darkest of nights. For more information about Valarie www.imarapublishing.com
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Meg E. Griffitts

Meg E. Griffitts is a poet, educator, and freelance writer. She’s the author of the forthcoming collection— Hallucinating a Homestead, which was chosen by Traci Brimhall as the winner of the 2020 Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize. Her poem “When the Doctor Doesn’t Believe Your Pain” was a finalist in Inverted Syntax’s 2020 Sublingua Contest chosen by Dr. Khadijah Queen, and in 2018, her essay “Hyemation” was a runner-up for the Wabash Prize for Nonfiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Missouri ReviewMediumBlack Warrior Review, Homology Lit, and others. She is currently working on her first full- length poetry collection and a memoir. She lives in Portland with her partner and many animals. Find more of her work at megegriffitts.com.
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Matt Smith

Matt Smith grew up in Iowa and Arizona. He earned his BA in English Literature from Arizona State University. He spent the subsequent four years after college in South Korea as an ESL teacher. His short fiction work centers on the intersections of race and identity. He is currently working on a collection of short stories focused what it means to be multi-racial in America. Matt was a 2017-18 WITS apprentice.
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CJ Wiggan

CJ Wiggan is a Nebraskan writer and illustrator creating emotional artwork about gender, relationships, magic, nature, and hair. CJ relocated shortly after earning a double BA in English and Art from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD and now works in youth art programming in Portland. Some of CJ’s art can be found in Theories of HER: An Experimental Anthology, JUR(Y): The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, and a little bit on this locked tumblr page: https://chanelheart.tumblr.com.
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Brian Benson

Brian Benson is the author of Going Somewhere (Plume, 2014), and co-author, with Richard Brown, of This Is Not For You: An Activist's Journey of Resistance and Resilience (OSU Press, March 2021). In addition to his work with Literary Arts, Brian teaches at the Attic Institute and facilitates free Write Around Portland workshops in schools, treatment centers and affordable housing. His short nonfiction has been published in EntropyThe Sun and Off Assignment. He is at work on his third book, a novel.
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Dey Rivers

Dey Rivers is a mixed-media visual artist, poet and storyteller based in Portland Oregon on Cowlitz and Clackamas Native lands. After earning a degree in Fine Art in Pennsylvania they returned to the west coast as a teaching artist with local non-profits and museums. Dey is one of the featured writers in Oregon Writers of Color 2020 Spring Showcase through Ooligan Press. Their current creative writing examines relationships, nature, culture, and history from a Black, neuro-diverse, queer perspective.
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Carolina Gómez-Montoya

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Carolina Gómez-Montoya moves between various languages, disciplines and mediums. She currently teaches at Portland State University and in the Language & Thinking Program at Bard College. Carolina’s writing appears in Literal: Latin American Voices/Voces Latinoamericanas¡Basta! Mujeres colombianas contra la violencia de género (Bogotá: Debate escrito, 2015) and in Oregon Humanities magazine. Carolina holds an MA and PhD in Latin American and Peninsular Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park.
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Damien Miles-Paulson

Damien Miles-Paulson teaches slow dancing, writes and still dreams of an overseas basketball career. He is a founding member of the now disbanded experimental German noise band, Flu Shot.  His stories, poems and sounds can be found at The Whole Beast RagThe Washington Square ReviewtheNewerYork, Alice Blue ReviewMarco Polo Arts MagEveryday GeniusPast-TenAxolotland The Alarmist.  He now walks the world with an MFA in Creative Writing from UCR in hand.
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