Literary Festival

Sustaining Community: The 45th Annual ODU Literary Festival

October 2 - 6, 2022

You say you love the world, so love the world. —Ada Limón, 24th Poet Laureate of the United States

Logo by SuperCompStudios

In times of difficulty— of suffering and trauma, violence and grief— our connections to one another become an engine of survival, and the work of cultivating and sustaining those bonds becomes both vital and deeply complex. In times of comfort, peace, and celebration, our communities extend and magnify our joy. No matter the state of the world, we are responsible to one another: interconnected and interdependent. Join us for the 45th Annual ODU Literary Festival, as we celebrate literature's capacity to forge and preserve community, work that examines the ways we live in relationship to one another, and remarkable writers who sustain—and are sustained by—the communities in which they live, work, and make.

Kent Wascom & Molly McCully Brown
2022 ODU Literary Festival Co-directors

All events are free and open to the community!

Free parking available in Constant Center/45th Street Garage for events in University Theatre and in the 43rd Street Garage for the Barry Art Museum.

For more information, please contact the Old Dominion University English Department at (757) 683-3991 or email

Follow the Literary Festival on Facebook @ODULitFest and on Instagram @olddominionmfa

Schedule & Participants

Online events will be livestreamed at | Purchase books by our featured writers at the University Village Bookstore!


4 p.m., Opening Reception

The Green Onion Restaurant, 1603 Colley Avenue



4 p.m., Faculty Reading

University Theatre + Online

Alicia DeFonzo is the author of The Time Left Between Us, published by Potomac Books in September 2022. She is a Senior Lecturer and Fulbright Specialist at Old Dominion University, having earned an MFA in Nonfiction, MA in Literature, with an undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism. She received the Gettysburg Review Conference Award in Nonfiction and has been published in War, Literature, and the Arts, The Montreal Review, Cobalt Review, Voices in Italian Americana; her most popular academic essay "Banning Sherlock" has been published and translated by the University of Urbino (Italy). She has presented for reading series such as Miss Manhattan Nonfiction and Inner Loop in D.C. and is a frequent literary guest on local and national NPR programs.



Photo by Jennifer Natalie Fish

Remica Bingham-Risher, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is a Cave Canem fellow and Affrilachian Poet. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Writer's Chronicle, Callaloo and Essence. She is the author of Conversion (Lotus, 2006) winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan, 2013) shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Starlight & Error (Diode, 2017) winner of the Diode Editions Book Award and finalist for the Library of Virginia Book Award. Her book Soul Culture: Black Poets, Books and Questions That Grew Me Up was published by Beacon Press In August 2022. She is the Director of Quality Enhancement Plan Initiatives at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where she resides with her husband and children.







7 p.m., Diane Zinna

University Theatre + Online

Diane Zinna is the author of THE ALL-NIGHT SUN (Random House, 2020) which was longlisted for The Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize and the Cabell First Novelist Award. She received her MFA from the University of Florida and was the longtime membership director for AWP, The Association of Writers & Writing Programs. There, she created the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, helping to match more than six hundred writers over twelve seasons. She is also the creator of Grief Writing Sundays, a popular writing class on telling difficult stories that has met every week since the start of the pandemic. Diane is the recipient of an ArtsFairfax Artist Grant, and beginning Fall 2022, she will be the Darden Professor of Creative Writing at Old Dominion University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming at Electric Literature, LiteraryHub, Brevity, Monkeybicycle, and Eat, Darling, Eat. Diane lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband, daughter, and doodle. 


4 p.m., MFA Showcase

University Theatre + Online








7 p.m., David Wright Faladé

University Theatre + Online

David Wright Faladé is the author of three books : the narrative history Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers, and the novels Away Running and most recently, Black Cloud RisingThe New Yorker chose Fire on the Beach as one of its notable selections, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch named it one of its Best Books of 2001. Away Running was named an Outstanding International Book by the US Board on Books for Young People and was selected by the Junior Library Guild and the Texas Library Association for its high school reading lists. A former Fulbright Fellow to Brazil, David Wright Faladé is the 2021-22 Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow of the NY Public Library's Cullman Center for Writers. His work has been recognized by the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Texas Institute of Letters. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Illinois.



4 p.m., Sarah Matthes

University Theatre + Online

Sarah Matthes is a poet from central New Jersey. Her debut collection of poetry Town Crier (Persea, 2021) won the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She has received support for her work from the Yiddish Book Center and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and is the recipient of the 2019 Tor House Prize from the Robinson Jeffers Foundation. A graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, she still lives in Austin, TX, where she serves as the managing editor of Bat City Review and teaches poetry at UT Austin.






7 p.m., E.M. Tran

University Theatre + Online

E.M. Tran is a Vietnamese American writer. Her debut novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE NEW YEAR, is forthcoming from Hanover Square/HarperCollins. Her stories, essays, and reviews can be found in such places as Joyland Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Harvard Review Online. Her essay for Prairie Schooner won their Summer Nonfiction Prize, a Glenna Luschei Award, and was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2018. She completed an MFA at University of Mississippi and a PhD in Creative Writing at Ohio University. She was born, raised, and currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband and two dogs.



12:30 p.m., Tim Seibles

University Theatre + Online

Tim Seibles is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Body Moves (1988), Hurdy-Gurdy (1992), Hammerlock (1999), Buffalo Head Solos (2004), Fast Animal (2012), which won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, received the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and was nominated for a 2012 National Book Award, and One Turn Around The Sun (2017). His latest work of poetry, Voodoo Libretto, was published by Etruscan Press this year. His poems have been published in the Indiana Review, Black Renaissance Noire, Cortland Review, Ploughshares Massachusetts Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and numerous other literary journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry. Seibles lives in Norfolk, Virginia.




3 p.m., J.R. Léveillé

Barry Art Museum + Online

J. R. Léveillé is a renowned figure in Franco-Manitoban and francophone literature. He is the author of over thirty interdisciplinary works of poetry, fiction, television documentaries and theater. He is included in many anthologies and his work is studied in many Canadian schools. His 2001 novel, The Setting Lake Sun (Le soleil du lac qui se couche) won the Prix Rue-Deschambault prize in 2002 and was selected for the 2020 edition of Le Combat des Livres. Some of his recent works include New York Trip (2003); Pierre Lardon (2011); Poème, Pierre, Prière (Poeme, Rock, Prayer, 2011); L'Invocation de Rutebeuf et the Villion (2012); Ganiishomong, ou l'extase du temps (2020) and Ex-Nihilo in 2021 with E.D. Blodgett. He was awarded the Manitoba Arts Council's Award of Distinction in 2012.




5:30 p.m., S.A. Cosby

University Theatre + Online

S. A. Cosby is an Anthony Award-winning writer from Southeastern Virginia. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book, and was named a best book of the year by NPR, The Guardian, and Library Journal, among others. When not writing, he is an avid hiker and chess player.







7 p.m., Closing Reception

Elation Brewing Company, 5104 Colley Avenue


All events are free and open to the community!

Free parking available in Constant Center/45th Street Garage for events in University Theatre and in the 43rd Street Garage for the Barry Art Museum.

For more information, please contact the Old Dominion University English Department at (757) 683-3991 or email

Follow the Literary Festival on Facebook @ODULitFest and on Instagram @olddominionmfa

Special Thanks

  • President Brian Hemphill, Ph.D. and the Office of the President
  • Cullen Strawn and Arts@ODU
  • Michael Khandelwal and The Muse Writers Center
  • Charlotte Potter Kasic and the Barry Art Museum
  • Marc Katz and the University Village Bookstore
  • Edith White and the Forrest P. White Endowment
  • Dean Dr. Laura Delbrugge and the Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Letters
  • Renée Olander and ODU Virginia Beach
  • Shara Weber and the Office of University Design and Publications
  • SuperCompStudios, logo design
ODU Signature Logo Black

Where great writers of the future connect with the great writers of our time

The Old Dominion University Annual Literary Festival is the premier event of our MFA Program in Creative Writing and one of the many reasons to study the writer's craft with us at ODU.

Visit the University Libraries' Annual Literary Festival Digital Archives to view materials from past festivals.