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Living Writers Series to feature acclaimed alums Elizabeth McKenzie and Kate Schatz

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Elizabeth McKenzie

Elizabeth McKenzie

By Scott Rappaport

Out of Line–the spring edition of the Creative Writing Program’s 2016 Living Writers Series–features eight writers who generally have fun with the unexpected.

“I chose the theme ‘Out of Line’ because it characterizes the way many of these writers work across genres and generally seem to prize the element of surprise in their writing,” says literature professor Micah Perks. “I’m hoping it will encourage our students to think outside the box and have fun with their writing.”

The series kicks off on April 7 with Githa Hariharan, who was born in Coimbatore, India, and grew up in Bombay and Manila. Inspired by Italo Calvino’s writing about journeys and cities, her latest book, Almost Home: Finding A Place in the World From Kashmir to New York, combines memoir, travelogue, history, philosophy, and fiction to create layered stories about places around the globe.

Alumna Kate Schatz is a fiction writer and high school teacher, who combined her double major in feminist studies and creative writing to come up with the bestselling Rad American Women, A-Z. Her book has the distinction of being the first children’s book published by San Francisco’s famed City Lights Publishers in the company’s 60-year history. Schatz returns to UC Santa Cruz for her reading on April 14.

Manuel Gonzales, a writer in the witty tradition of George Saunders and Aimee Bender, will make an appearance on April 21. “He writes stories about wives who are made to feel small—literally–and take their terrible revenge, and passengers who live on a plane that never lands,” Perks noted. Or as one critic put it: “The 18 stories in Gonzales’s exhilarating first book, The Miniature Wife: and Other Stories, render the fantastic commonplace and the ordinary extraordinary.”

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