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Community & World Literary Series

The CSUSM Community and World Literary Series hosts on-campus literary readings several times a semester. Our visiting authors have produced some of the most innovative and original work in contemporary poetry, fiction, drama and performance art. Some of these writers are local to southern California, while others come from elsewhere in the country and the world. All are at the forefront of developments in contemporary aesthetics and culture.

Students, faculty, staff, and members of the public are invited to experience, live, some of the most exciting literature of the present moment. Whether you think of yourself as a writer, someone who wants to be a writer, or someone who’s interested in any of the amazing possibilities in contemporary literature, art, culture, politics or history, The Community and World Literary Series offers you a chance to hear and interact with writers exploring subjects of crucial contemporary relevance. Their work may very well suggest possibilities for your own future.

Come on out and become part of the CSUSM literary community!  Each event is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required!

Fall 2024 Schedule:

Check back soon!


Past Events:

A.L. Nielsen

csusm palomar bio pics
  • Thursday, May 2nd 
  • 7:00pm
  • Markstein Hall 106

A.L. Nielsen was the first winner of the Larry Neal Award for poetry. His most recent books include Back Pages: Selected Poems, Spider Cone, Sufferhead, and The Inside Songs of Amiri Baraka. His two albums of spoken word and music are Some Times I Wonder Can A Cigar Box Hold My Blues and Spider Cone - More Blues, Rage and Hollers. He’s also a significant scholar of African American literature, and his first book of literary criticism, Reading Race, won the SAMLA Studies Prize, a Myers Citation and the Kayden Award for best book in the humanities. He currently teaches at Penn State University and Central China Normal University.


Erika T. Wurth

csusm palomar bio pics
  • Thursday, April 11th
  • 7:00pm
  • Virtual reading presented via Zoom

Erika T. Wurth’s novel White Horse is a New York Times editors pick, a Good Morning America buzz pick, and an Indie Next, Target book of the Month, and BOTM Pick. She is both a Kenyon and Sewanee fellow, has published in The Kenyon Review, Buzzfeed, and The Writer’s Chronicle, and is a narrative artist for the Meow Wolf Denver installation. She is an urban Native of Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee descent. She lives in Denver with her partner, step-kids and two incredibly fluffy dogs.

In White Horse, Erika tells the story of Kari James, an Urban Native, and a fan of heavy metal, ripped jeans, Stephen King novels, and dive bars. Kari’s journey toward a truth long denied by both her family and law enforcement forces her to confront her dysfunctional relationships, thoughts about a friend she lost in childhood, and her desire for the one thing she’s always wanted but could never have…

White Horse is a gritty, vibrant debut novel about an Indigenous woman who must face her past when she discovers a bracelet haunted by her mother’s spirit.

Author page:

Author’s website:

To purchase author's books visit:


LTWR & Palomar College Faculty Reading

csusm palomar bio pics
  • Oct. 19th
  • 7:00-8:30pm
  • Reading presented in Academic Hall 102
  • No online viewing available

Featuring readings by: Professors Richard Hishmeh, Celeste Morales, Clare Rolens, Rocco Versaci, Monika Birch, Heidi Breuer, Francesco Levato, Andy Stewart, and Mark Wallace.

Faculty Reading Bios


Adam Deutsch and Adam Stutz

Faculty Literary Writing 2022
  • Thurs. April 13th
  • 7:00pm
  • Reading presented in Markstein Hall 125
  • No online viewing available


GennaRose Nethercott

Faculty Literary Writing 2022
  • Thurs. April 20th
  • 7:00pm
  • Reading presented via Zoom
  • Face to face viewing event in Arts 240

Watch the CWLS Recording Here!


Bishakh Som

Faculty Literary Writing 2022

  • Thurs. Mar 2nd
  • 12:00-12:50pm
  • Reading presented via Zoom
  • Face to face viewing event in Markstein Hall 208


Faculty of Horror

Faculty of Horror Podcast


  • Thurs. April 14th at 6pm PST (roundtable discussion with our grad students)
  • Student and Faculty paticipants:
    • Kesly Connolly (Grad Student)
    • Vinnie Bernabeo (Grad Student)
    • Kaila Fergon (Undergraduate Student)
    • Gianna Ramirez (Faculty)

Watch the F.O.H Recording Here!

About Faculty of Horror

Tackling all things horror with a slash of analysis and research, horror journalists and occasional academics Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West are your hosts for brain-plumping discussions on all things that go bump in the night.

Visit Faculty of Horror

About Andrea Subissati (Co-host)

In 2010, Andrea’s masters thesis on the social impact of zombie cinema was published under the title When There’s No More Room In Hell: The Sociology of the Living Dead. Since then, she has been published in The Undead and Theology (2012), The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (2015) and Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television (2017). She joined the staff of Rue Morgue magazine in 2014 and became Executive Editor in 2017. In addition to writing, Andrea has appeared on the TV horror documentary Why Horror? (2014) and is co-founder of the Toronto-based horror lecture series The Black Museum.

About Alexandra West (Co-host)

Alex’s work has appeared in The Toronto Star, Rue Morgue, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and Shock Till You Drop. Her writing has also been published in The Supernatural Cinema of Guillermo del Toro: Critical Essays, Art of the Title and Offscreen Film Journal. She has lectured on theatre and film in schools in Ontario, Québec and Cambridge, Massachusetts, including two lectures as part of The Black Museum lecture series: “Ghosts in the Machine: The Evolution of Found Footage Horror“ (2013) and “Quelle Horreur: The Films of New French Extremity“ (2014). Her books Films of New French Extremity: Visceral Horror and National Identity (2016), and The 1990s Teen Horror Cycle: Final Girls and New Hollywood Formula (2018) are available via McFarland.

Mark Nowak

 Mark Nowak CWLS

Photo by Lisa Arrastia

  • March 17th, 2022
  • Reading 
  • LTWR Student Workshop 
  • CFA Member Workshop 

Watch the Mark Nowak Recording

About Mark Nowak

Nowak is the author of three poetry collections: Coal Mountain Elementary (Coffee House Press, 2009), Shut Up Shut Down (Coffee House Press, 2004), and Revenants (Coffee House Press, 2000). His book Social Poetics is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in 2020.

Also a playwright, essayist, social critic, and labor activist, Nowak’s writing documents the hardships and injustices faced by the global working class.

In the afterword to Shut Up Shut Down Amiri Baraka writes, “Nowak relies on his life as a person … with the sturdy underpinning of class … and brings it back, humming. And sleek with seeing and hearing! We get a sharp eye, a literary & philosophical broadening of what used to be labeled ‘working class poetry,’ … deepened with a hard but contemporary lyric and narrative. A much needed parade.”

Nowak is the recipient of the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism from Split This Rock and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has taught at St. Catherine University and Washington College, where he also worked as director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. He has also led poetry workshops for workers and trade unions in Belgium, the Netherlands, the U.K., the U.S., and South Africa. He is currently Professor of English at Manhattanville College and the founding director, in collaboration with PEN America, of the Worker Writers School. He splits his time between Manhattan and upstate New York.

Visit Mark Nowak's Page on Poets

About Worker Writers School

Worker Writers, an institute founded and directed by poet Mark Nowak, organizes and facilitates poetry workshops with global trade unions, workers’ centers, and other progressive labor organizations. These workshops create a space for participants to re-imagine their working lives, nurture new literary voices directly from the global working class, and produce new tactics and imagine new futures for working class social change. Worker Writers has run workshops with organizations as varied as Domestic Workers United (DWU) in New York City, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in Port Elizabeth and Pretoria, Justice for Domestic Workers (J4DW) in London, and the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU-NL) in Amsterdam and The Hague. For the past four years, Worker Writers has facilitated annual workshops for the PEN World Voices Festival.

Visit Worker Writers

Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse
  • February 24, 2022
  • 12:00-1:00pm
  • Zoom

Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse is the New York Times bestselling author of Trail of Lightning, Storm of Locusts, Black Sun, and Star Wars: Resistance Reborn. She has won the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards for her fiction, and was the recipient of the 2018 Astounding (formerly Campbell) Award for Best New Writer. The next book in her Between Earth and Sky series, Fevered Star, is out in March 2022. She lives in New Mexico with her family.

Twitter: @RoanhorseBex
Instagram: @rebeccaroanhorse

LTWR Alumni Reading

The Little Story cover

Thom Bricke

Elizabeth Roush

Erica Wahlgren

  • November 18, 2021
  • 6:00-7:00pm

Watch the Reading

This project began while Thom Bricke was pursuing his master’s at CSUSM. His thesis, Hans Fallada: The Journey Continues explored the theoretical underpinnings of translation and the The Little Story was part of the translation process he documented. The project itself is a translation of a children’s story from the 1930’s, and part of a larger collection work Geschichten aus der Murkelei. It incorporates original artwork by Elizabeth Roush and both the English and German versions of the text. The project was essentially an opportunity for three grad students, from the Hurricanes, to stretch their own boundaries, both professionally and personally. Working together, figuring out publishing, correct font sizes, and how to organize the book were just a few of the challenges they faced.  

A theoretical part of the project was a deliberate attempt to move beyond gender, which proved difficult to resolve at first. In the original story, the child was nameless. A late summer afternoon brainstorming session with Erica Wahlgren, the editor on the project, gave the project a promising solution, the name Reux and/or by a nonbinary pronoun would be substituted. The captivating illustrations by Elizabeth Roush were a significant part of achieving the goal of creating a story that is neither about a boy or a girl but rather of a childhood moment that the author Hans Fallada so beautifully captured. 

Author Bios: 

Thomas Bricke earned a B.A. with Distinction in English Literature from San Diego State University and an M.A. in Literature and Writing Studies from California State University San Marcos.  For three years he ran the Asphalt Barbecue Art and Reading Series in Vista, CA. Originally from Germany he is also a retired veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and has taught high school in San Diego and Woodland Hills California.  He currently resides and teaches in Maine

Elizabeth Roush graduated from Cal State San Marcos with a Master's in Literature and Writing Studies. Throughout her education, she worked as an art teacher, SEO content writer, and rock climbing coach. She struggled to get a job in the college writing classroom after graduating with her Master's. Finding it hard to make ends meet on part-time work in various capacities (at schools, in art education, coaching, retail, etc.), she moved to New York in 2020 to help open a rock climbing gym. She currently manages the climbing programs at a large bouldering gym in Brooklyn, but she still makes time for writing and reading, and she hopes to eventually return to education.

Erica Wahlgren has her B.A. in English Literature from UC San Diego and her M.A. in Literature & Writing Studies from CSU San Marcos. After graduation, she taught Reading and Writing at West Los Angeles College and helped their Learning Center launch an embedded tutor program. Currently, Erica is working at a literacy center teaching kids with learning disabilities, processing disorders, and Autism to read, write, and spell. In addition, she helped the center develop and manage an Executive Function program.  

Black Took Collective Event

Black Took Collective

  • December 9, 2021
  • 6:00-8:00pm
  • Zoom

The Black Took Collective is a performance group composed of three award-winning LGBTQ Black poet-performers: Duriel Harris, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Ronaldo V. Wilson. This event will consist of live writing, poetry, music, dance, drawing, film, and critical race theory presented in an engaging and lively format designed to encourage reconsideration of identity, language, and embodiment and enlist audience participation and conversation. The Black Took are queer post-theorists who embody intersectionality, perform and write in hybrid experimental forms, and embrace radical poetics and cutting-edge critical theory about race, gender, and sexuality, all while inviting audiences to participate and engage in the same. The Black Took Collective challenges both popular conceptions of racial identity as well as conventional artistic practices. Their performance events are unforgettable.

Please visit the Black Took Collective for more information.

LTWR Faculty Reading

LTWR Faculty

Ready to hear what your faculty have been working on? We're excited to announce readings by: Professors Heidi Breuer, Sandra Doller, Francesco Levato, Andy Stewart, Martha Stoddard Holmes, and Mark Wallace. 

Faculty Bios

Watch the Reading

1913 Press Reading 

 Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi

Megin Jimenez

Watch the Reading

Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi writes dreampop speculative fictions and darkwave minimalist poetry that can be enjoyed on a bus ride or in line for coffee. All his best stories have something to do with talking insects. His best poems are X-Men fan fiction. He is the author of DISINTEGRATION MADE PLAIN AND EASY (1913 Press) and THE BOOK OF KANE AND MARGARET (FC2 / UAP).

t: @annhoggiscoming

Megin Jimenez is a Venezuelan-American translator, poet and writer. Mongrel Tongue, her collection of prose poems and hybrid texts, was selected for the 1913 First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in  Barrelhouse, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, Tarpaulin Sky, and other journals. She works as a translator and editor for international organizations and lives in Leiden, the Netherlands.

t: @meginlj


Bechdel Cast Podcast

 Caitlin Durante

Watch the Event

Caitlin Durante is a Los Angeles-based comedian, writer, and podcaster. She is the creator and co-host of The Bechdel Cast, a podcast that examines movies from an intersectional feminist lens. She performs standup all over the country, including festivals like the New York Comedy Festival, San Francisco SketchFest, and the Women in Comedy Festival. Caitlin also teaches screenwriting classes, and bravely has a Master's degree in Screenwriting from Boston University. In her spare time, Caitlin can be found watching Paddington 2

This event will be held as a roundtable discussion with the following students and faculty from the LTWR program, with an introduction by Hobart Teets (current B.A. student):

Vinnie Bernabeo (M.A. student), Nikole Barnes (M.A. student), Becky Tracey (faculty), Janette Larson (faculty)

Stay tuned for details about our other upcoming events!