MFA Summer Reading Series returns

Summer will once again bring some of the best writers to Reinhardt University for the Etowah Valley Writers Institute summer reading series.

The Etowah Valley Writers Institute is the University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, which will have its first group of graduates this summer. Every summer, the program holds a 10-day intensive study where students get to work with renowned faculty writers and guest faculty writers as they work toward creating their own published material. Core faculty includes celebrated New South Writers Ray Atkins, Will Wright, Bill Walsh, Anne Corbitt and more.

This year’s summer reading series will include Janisse Ray – author, activist and naturalist who was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2015. Ray draws a large audience for her lectures and readings. She will give a craft lecture July 14 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Fincher Visual Arts Building. Ray will perform a reading during the MFA Commencement Ceremony that evening in Flint Hall at Falany Performing Arts Center. The public is invited to attend.

“Reinhardt University’s Etowah Valley MFA Program seamlessly combines creative writing workshops, craft lectures and literary matters with an array of visiting writers to create a summer experience unlike anywhere else in the South,” said program coordinator Bill Walsh. “The Summer Reading Series displays the very best in contemporary fiction, poetry, non-fiction and intellectual thought with such esteemed authors such as Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn, Janisse Ray, Alice Friman, Pam Durban, Jericho Brown, Valerie Boyd, Sharan Strange, Josh Russell, and many others.”

Every evening at 7 p.m. from July 5-14, the public is invited to enjoy readings by these well-known writers.

“Listening to the author read from their new books is a literary symphony for all ages to enjoy,” Walsh said.

All readings begin at 7 p.m. and all but two will be held in the Community Room of Hill Freeman Library. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn will be the featured speaker July 5. Beth Gylys will read July 6, and July 7 will feature Megan Volpert and Kodac Harrison.

Also on July 7, the University will celebrate the Barmeyer Collection of guitars given earlier this year by the late John Barmeyer and his wife Anda Olsen.

Sunday, July 8 will bring Josh Russell, and Monday, July 9 will feature Laura Newbern. The last week of the summer reading series includes Sharan Strange (July 10), Jericho Brown (July 11), Alice Friman and Pam Durban (July 12), and Casey Clabough and Ryan Wilson (July 13).

The series will be capped off with Ray’s reading at 5 p.m. July 14.

For those wanting to hone their writing skills but aren’t interested in earning a degree, slots are available for participation in the writing workshops for fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and screenwriting. For more information, contact Bill Walsh at

To learn more about the featured writers, core and guest faculty, and the Etowah Valley MFA, visit

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