Writers Week: Meet the Authors

Learn about some of the authors featured in the UCR Library's Writers Week exhibit. View the exhibit in the Tomás Rivera Library until February 16. 

This year's Writers Week is taking place February 10 and February 12 - 16. See all the events (most are hybrid) and RSVP at

Learn more about our Writers Week exhibit here and more about the authors featured below. 

Prageeta Sharma is a poet born in Framingham, Massachusetts. Her collections of poetry include Bliss to Fill, The Opening Question, which won the Fence Modern Poets Prize, Infamous Landscapes, Undergloom, and Grief Sequence.

Noah Amir Arjomand is a filmmaker currently enrolled in the MFA Writing for the Performing Arts program at UCR, where he is a chancellor's distinguished fellow in screenwriting. He is the author of Fixing Stories: Local Newsmaking and International Media in Turkey and Syria and co-directed and co-produced the feature-length documentary Eat Your Catfish about my mother's life with ALS. 

Vickie Vértiz was born and raised in Bell Gardens, a city in southeast Los Angeles County. With over 25 years of experience in social justice, writing, and education. Her writing is featured in the New York Times Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, Huizache, Nepantla, the Los Angeles Review of Books, among many others.

Cati Porter is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the California Arts Council for 2023-24. Additionally, Cati Porter’s poetry has won or been a finalist in contests by: So To Speak, judged by Arielle Greenberg; Crab Creek Review, judged by Aimee Nezhukumatathil; and Gravity & Light, judged by Chella Courington. Cati Porter lives in Inland Southern California where she runs her Poemeleon: A Journal of Poetry and directs Inlandia Institute, a 501(c)(3) literary nonprofit.

Issam Zineh is a Palestinian-American poet and scientist. He is author of Unceded Land (Trio House Press, 2022), finalist for the Trio Award, Medal Provocateur, Housatonic Book Award, and Balcones Prize for Poetry, and the chapbook The Moment of Greatest Alienation (Ethel Press, 2021). His poems appear or are forthcoming in AGNI, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Tahoma Literary Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

Melissa Studdard is the author of five books, including the poetry collections Dear Selection Committee. Her work has been featured by NPR, PBS, The New York Times, The Guardian, Ms. Magazine, and Houston Matters, and more. 

Minda Honey is the editor of Black Joy at Reckon, a newsletter has nearly 60K subscribers. Her essays on politics and relationships have appeared in Harper’s Baazar, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Oxford American, Teen Vogue, and Longreads

Daisy Ocampo Diaz (Caxcan, or Caz’ Ahmo, Indigenous Nation of Zacatecas, Mexico) earned her PhD in History from the University of California, Riverside in 2019. Her research in Native and Public History informs her work with museum exhibits, historical preservation projects, and community-based archives. 

Elena Karina Byrne is a screenwriter, essayist, reviewer, multi-media artist, and editor. She is The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Programming Consultant & Poetry Stage Manager and Literary Programs Director for the historic The Ruskin Art Club. She is the author of five poetry collections.

Farnaz Fatemi is an Iranian American writer and editor in Santa Cruz, California. Her debut book, Sister Tongue زبان خواهر , was published in September 2022. It won the 2021 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, selected by Tracy K. Smith, from Kent State University Press, and received a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly. 

Lisa Teasley is a graduate of UCLA and a native of Los Angeles. Her critically acclaimed debut, Glow in the Dark, is winner of the Gold Pen Award and Pacificus Literary Foundation awards for fiction. She has also won the May Merrill Miller and the National Society of Arts & Letters Short Story awards. Teasley has a new story collection, Fluid, which was released on Cune Press, September 26, 2023.

Quincy Troupe is an awarding-winning author of 12 volumes of poetry, three children’s books, and six non-fiction works. In 2010 Troupe received the American Book Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement. Quincy Troupe is professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego, formerly editor Code magazine and Black Renaissance Noire, a literary journal of the Institute of Africana Studies at New York University, and poetry editor of A Gathering of the Tribes online magazine.

Reza Aslan is s a renowned writer, commentator, professor, Emmy- and Peabody-nominated producer, and scholar of religions. A recipient of the prestigious James Joyce award, Aslan is the author of three internationally best-selling books, including the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Aslan is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside and serves on the board of trustees for the Chicago Theological Seminary and The Yale Humanist Community.

Rigoberto González earned a degree in humanities and social sciences interdisciplinary studies from the University of California, Riverside, and an MFA from Arizona State University in Tempe. González is the author of five poetry collections, including The Book of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2019); Unpeopled Eden (Four Way Books, 2013), winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the 2014 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Donato Martinez teaches English Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing at Santa Ana College. His first full collection of poetry, Touch the Sky, was published in June by El Martillo Press. 

Jason Magabo Perez holds an MFA in writing and consciousness from New College of California, formerly in San Francisco, and a dual PhD in ethnic studies and communication from the University of California, San Diego. Perez is the author of I ask about what falls away, forthcoming in 2024; This is for the mostless (WordTech Editions, 2017); and Phenomenology of Superhero (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2016). 

Dave Eggers is the author of many books, among them The Eyes and the Impossible, The Circle, The Monk of Mokha, Heroes of the Frontier, A Hologram for the King, and What Is the What. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Kimberly Blaeser, writer, photographer, and scholar, is a past Wisconsin Poet Laureate. She is the author of five poetry collections, most recently the bi-lingual Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance (2020), Copper Yearning (2019), and Apprenticed to Justice.

Marsha de la O was born and raised in Southern California. She earned her MFA from Vermont College and is the author of two collections of poetry: Black Hope (1997), winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize, and Antidote for Night (2015), winner of the Isabella Gardner Prize from BOA Editions. 

Cindy Juyoung Ok is a poet, former high school physics teacher, and university creative writing instructor. Her collection of poems, Ward Toward, won the Yale Younger Poets Prize.