Experience a Dynamic Literary Community.

The Contemporary Writers Series at Mills College features monthly readings and talks by renowned and emerging writers. Graduate students produce and promote the series, which brings the Mills community and San Francisco Bay Area audiences together to enjoy an intimate evening followed by a reception. All events are free, open to the public, and held in the Mills Hall Living Room, unless otherwise indicated.

Spring 2019 Literary Series

David Marriott
David Marriott
Tuesday February 19, 2019 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
  • David Marriott is originally from the UK, but now lives in Oakland, California. His most recent book of poetry is Duppies, a collection that mixes the tonality of lyric poetry with the aggression, grit, and speed of grime, London’s street music. Marriott’s other books of poetry include Hoodoo Voodoo and In Neuter. His book Whither Fanon? Studies in the Blackness of Being is forthcoming from Stanford University in June. A leading theorist of afro-pessimism, he teaches black critical theory and culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Morgan Parker
Morgan Parker
Tuesday March 5, 2019 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
  • Morgan Parker’s latest poetry collection Magical Negro delves into issues of ancestral trauma, loneliness, sexuality, racism, and objectification. Parker is the author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Tin House, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop, Best American Poetry, the New York Times, the Nation, and more. She is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and the recipient of a 2017 NEA in Literature Fellowship. 
Shobha Rao
Shobha Rao
Tuesday March 19, 2019 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
  • Shobha Rao’s novel Girls Burn Brighter, longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, appeared on many “best of” 2018 lists including the Washington Post, NPR, Shelf Awareness, Paste, LitHub, and Real Simple. Her debut short story collection An Unrestored Woman illuminated how the division of India and Pakistan into two countries violently disrupted the lives of the region's citizens for years. Rao is the winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction, and her story “Kavitha and Mustafa” was chosen by T.C. Boyle for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 2015

MFA Alumnae Reading & Reception
Tuesday April 9, 2019 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room 
Reception at 5:15 for newly admitted graduate students, followed by readings

Claudia Castro Luna
Claudia Castro Luna
Tuesday April 9, 2019 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
  • Claudia Castro Luna is the 2018–2020 Washington State Poet Laureate. Her books include the Pushcart nominated Killing Marías and This City. She served as Seattle’s Civic Poet from 2015 to 2017 and created the acclaimed Seattle Poetic Grid. Her poems and nonfiction have appeared in Poetry Northwest, La Bloga, Dialogo, and This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home. Claudia is currently working on a memoir, Like Water to Drink, about her experience escaping the civil war in El Salvador.
Renee Macalino Rutledge
Renee Macalino Rutledge
Tuesday April 9, 2019 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
  • Renee Macalino Rutledge’s debut novel The Hour of Daydreams was a finalist for the Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices award, a Foreword INDIES Gold Winner, and 35 over 35 winner. Her work can be found in The Margins, Mutha Magazine, Women Writers Women's Books, Ford City Anthology, Literary Hub, Necessary Fiction, Colorlines, TAYO Literary Magazine, and others. While at Mills, Rutledge served as the fiction editor for 580 Split

Fall 2018 Literary Series

Tommy Pico
Tommy Pico

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room

  • Tommy Pico's critically acclaimed books of poetry include IRL and Nature Poem. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub. Pico's many honors include a Whiting Award and fellowships with Lambda Literary, Queer/Arts/Mentors, and New York Foundation for the Arts.
Koa Beck
Koa Beck
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
  • Mills alumna Koa Beck is the editor-in-chief of Jezebel. Beck's literary criticism and reporting on gender, LGBTQ+ rights, culture, and race have appeared in the Atlantic, the New York Observer, the Guardian, Esquire, Vogue, and Marie Claire. Her short stories have appeared in Slice, Kalyani Magazine, and Apogee Journal. Her writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and she serves on the board of directors of Nat.But, an art and literary magazine.
Judy Grahn
 Judy Grahn
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
  • Judy Grahn is internationally known as a poet, writer, and cultural theorist. Her writings helped fuel, globally, second wave feminist, gay, and lesbian activism, as well as women’s and queer spirituality. Grahn is the author of fourteen books, including a memoir, A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet. Her newest release is Hanging On Our Own Bones, a collection of signature nine-part poems including “A Woman Is Talking to Death,” and “Mental.”  Forthcoming are stories in two anthologies, Strange Attractors, and Spoon/Knife 3, stories of creatures and neurodivergence.

Dickson Lam
Dickson Lam
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 | 5:30 pm | Mills Hall Living Room
  • Dickson Lam is author of Paper Sons: A Memoir. Lam’s work has appeared in StoryQuarterly, the Kenyon Review Online, Hyphen Magazine, the Normal School, PANK, the Good Men Project, the Rumpus, and Kartika Review. He is a VONA alum and has been a resident fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Lam is an assistant professor of English at Contra Costa College and lives in Oakland.