Shelterbelt Creative Writing and Publishing Series (CWPS)

The UIS Creative Writing and Publishing Series presents emerging and establish fiction writers and poets of national reputation. We have a special focus on writers with an interest in place. Visiting writers give readings from their work, discuss the writing (and publishing) life, and visit UIS classes. Previous visiting writers have included Erin Elizabeth Smith, T.A. Noonan, Daniel Crocker, Stephen Frech, Mary Jo Bang, and Bonnie Jo Campbell.

All CWPS readings are free and open to the public. Invite your friends!

Shelterbelt is currently funded through the generous support of the UIS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Vachel Lindsay Association, and the Springfield Area Arts Council. For more information, or to help support CWPS, please visit the UIS Development website and donate to the English Department Development Fund.

Fall 2013 – Spring 2014 UIS Creative Writing and Publishing Series Line-Up

Matt Rasmussen ShelterbeltMatt Rasmussen– Thursday, October 3rd 7 pm, Lincoln Residence Hall (LRH) Great Room, UIS

Born in International Falls, Minnesota, Matt Rasmussen holds degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and Emerson College. His poetry collection, Black Aperture, was selected by Jane Hirshfield as the winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and was published by Louisiana State University Press in May 2013. Rasmussen is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Bush Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, The Corporation of Yaddo, the Loft Literary Center, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota, and the McKnight Foundation. – See more at:

  Adam Prince and Charlotte Pence, Thursday, October 24, 6:30 pm, Lincoln Residence Hall (LRH) Great Room, UIS

Adam Prince book coverAdam PrinceBorn and raised in Southern California, Adam Prince earned his B.A. from Vassar College, his M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas, and his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. His award-winning fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, and Narrative Magazine, among others. His debut short story collection The Beautiful Wishes of Ugly Men was published with Black Lawrence Press in 2012. The recipient of the Tickner Fellowship at the Gilman School in Baltimore, he is currently at work on a novel about identity and surveillance that takes place in Jakarta, Indonesia. He also has the good fortune of being married to the poet Charlotte Pence.


Charlotte Pence ShelterbeltCharlotte Pence’s full-length poetry collection, Spike, will be released by Black Lawrence Press in 2014. She is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks,The Branches, the Axe, the Missing (Black Lawrence Press, 2012) and Weaves a Clear Night (Flying Trout Press, 2011). Pence also edited The Poetics of American Song Lyrics (University Press of Mississippi, 2012) that explores the similarities and differences between poetry and songs. New poetry is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, and The Southern Poetry Anthology. She is a professor at Eastern Illinois University.

Lania Knight, Wednesday, March 26, 7:00 pm, Lincoln Residence Hall Great RoomLania Knight Image

Lania Knight’s first book, Three Cubic Feet, is a Finalist for the 2012 Lambda Literary Award in Debut Fiction. Her stories, essays and reviews can be found in Fourth Genre, The Missouri Review, New Stories from the Midwest, PANK, Literary Mama, Jabberwock Review, and elsewhere. She is the Fiction Editor for Bluestem, and she currently teaches creative writing at Eastern Illinois University. Read more about her

Dorothy Allison (StARS Keynote), Friday, April 11, 7:00 pm, Brookens Auditorium


Dorothy Allison received mainstream recognition with her novel Bastard Out of Carolina, (1992) a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award. The novel won the Ferro Grumley prize, an ALA Award for Lesbian and Gay Writing, became a best seller, and an award-winning movie. It has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her short story collection, Trash (1988) was published by Firebrand Books. Trash won two Lambda Literary Awards and the American Library Association Prize for Lesbian and Gay Writing. Cavedweller (1998) became a national bestseller, NY Times Notable book of the year, finalist for the Lillian Smith prize, and an ALA prize winner. Adapted for the stage by Kate Moira Ryan, the play was directed by Michael Greif, and featured music by Hedwig composer, Stephen Trask.  In 2003, Lisa Cholendenko directed a movie version featuring Krya Sedwick. The expanded edition of Trash (2002) included the prize winning short story, “Compassion” selected for both Best American Short Stories 2003 and Best New Stories from the South 2003.

 Judy Jordon, Thursday, May 1, 7:00pm, Lincoln Residence Hall Great Room

Judy Jordan Photo

Judy Jordan’s first book of poetry, Carolina Ghost Woods, won the 1999 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, the 2000 National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as the Utah Book of the Year Award, the OAY Award from the Poetry Council of North Carolina, and the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. Her second book of poetry, Sixty Cent Coffee and a Quarter to Dance, was published by LSU press. Jordan’s third manuscript, Hunger, which is about the two years she spent in semi-homelessness living in a greenhouse is at LSU press and she just completed a fourth book of poetry, Children of Salt and is currently working on a fifth and sixth manuscript. Jordan built her own environmentally friendly house out of cob and earthbag while living in a tent, founded SIPRAW, which rescued dogs out of puppy mills, lives off the grid, is a vegan, and teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.