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Contemporary Writers Series
Fall 2015


Rebel Girls: Debra Busman and MariNaomi
September 29, 2015 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

In collaboration with Elmaz Abinader’s Creative Nonfiction class, Memoirs of Rebel Girls, the Contemporary Writers Series is excited to present two writers who create narratives of rebellion and liberation–stories of girls who broke through, broke out, and got broke from the different societies, families, cultures, and roles that bind girls.

Debra Busman

Debra Busman’s new novel, like a woman, is a vivid coming of age story revealing the lives of teenage girls on the streets of Los Angeles, trying to hold on to their sense of humanity against a backdrop of racism, poverty, sexism, and violence. The LA Times describes the novel as "gritty but tender: charming in its immodesty and sinewy as a junkyard dog." Busman co­edited Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing and is co­director of the Creative Writing and Social Action Program at CSU Monterey Bay. Her work has been published in Combined Destinies: Whites Share Grief About Racism, Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape, The LA Review and elsewhere. She is a graduate of Mills College.



MariNaomi's books include the SPACE Prize-winning graphic memoir Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0–22, the Eisner nominated Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories, and the upcoming Turning Japanese. The creator and curator of the Cartoonist of Color Database and the LGBTQ Cartoonists Database, her artwork has been featured at the De Young Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco’s Asian American Museum and the Japaneses American Museum in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in over fifty print anthologies and online at The Rumpus, LA Review of Books, XOJane, and elsewhere. She toured with Sister Spit in 2011.


Eileen Myles
October 13, 2015 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

Eileen Myles

Join us as we celebrate two new publications by Eileen Myles: I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems, and a reissue of her influential collection Chelsea Girls, first published in 1994 by Black Sparrow Books. Myles is a poet living in New York, a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow, recipient of a Slate/Whiting second novel award and, in 2014­15, recipient of a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She’s published 19 books, ranging from essays and criticism to memoirs and poetry and nonfiction novels. Her many accomplishments and contributions include directing St. Mark’s Poetry Project, co­editing The New Fuck You/adventures in lesbian reading, and teaching many places, most recently Columbia and NYU.


Robin Coste Lewis
October 20, 2015 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

Robin Coste Lewis

Voyage of the Sable Venus, Robin Coste Lewis' poetry debut, is a crucial lyric collection exploring and interrogating representations of the black female figure in Western art alongside personal history and autobiography. Her work has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition, and VIDA, among others. She has received numerous residency fellowships and awards, and taught many places including Hunter College, Hampshire College, and the NYU Low­Residency MFA in Paris. Currently a Provost’s Fellow at USC, Lewis lives in Los Angeles.


Bangla Literature and Translation: Shabnam Nadiya, Mahmud Rahman and Arunava Sinha
November 3, 2015 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

The English Department is excited to present a bilingual reading from a selection of Arunava Sinha's translations, followed by a conversation with Shabnam Nadiya and Mahmud Rahman focusing on the humanist values in Bangla literature as resistance to fundamentalist assaults on free expression in today’s Bangladesh.

Shabnam Nadiya

Shabnam Nadiya grew up in Jahangirnagar University, a small college town in Bangladesh. She is currently completing her collection titled Pye Dogs and Magic Men, and translating Shaheen Akhtar's third novel Beloved Rongomala from Bangla. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Mahmud Rahman

Mahmud Rahman is a writer and translator resident in California. He is the author of Killing the Water: Stories and translator of Bangladeshi novelist Mahmudul Haque’s Black Ice. His fiction translations have also been published by Words Without Borders, World Literature Today, and The Daily Star. He is a graduate of the MFA creative writing program at Mills College.


Mahmud Rahman

Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern and contemporary Bangla fiction, nonfiction and poetry into English. Thirty-one of his translations have been published; these works have won the Crossword Translation Award in India twice, and the Muse India translation award once. Born and educated in Calcutta, he lives and writes in New Delhi.

Last Updated: 8/26/15