Sophomore Seminars

Imagining Women: Writers in Print and in Person

Completion of PWR 1 or other WR 1 course.

This seminar is designed to introduce students to the lively world of contemporary literature through the reading of recent texts and through intimate conversations with the authors. Visitors change each year. The visitors for autumn 2019 are Camille Dungy, Amber Flora Thomas, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Patricia Powell, Xochiquetzal Candelaria, and Aimee Phan. We discuss the book in Monday's class and meet the writer in Wednesday's session.  Each author will speak briefly about her book and her writing life. Then we will open the session to questions and discussions with the students. Students will make oral and written seminar presentations. The course will end with a focus on the students' projects as the "final texts." Students who will benefit most from the course are those who enter it with an enjoyment of literature and a curiosity about writing and gender and the diverse lives of contemporary women.

This course fulfills the second-level Writing and Rhetoric Requirement (WRITE 2) and will emphasize oral and written presentations.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Valerie Miner

Valerie Miner is an award-winning author. Her latest novel is Traveling with Spirits. Other novels include After EdenRange of LightA Walking FireWinter's EdgeBlood SistersAll Good WomenMovement: A Novel in Stories, and Murder in the English Department. Her short fiction books include Abundant LightThe Night Singers, and Trespassing. Her collection of essays is Rumors from the Cauldron: Selected Essays, Reviews and Reportage. The Low Road: A Scottish Family Memoir was a Finalist for the PEN USA Creative Non-Fiction Award. Abundant Light was a fiction finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards.

Valerie Miner's work has appeared in The Georgia ReviewTriquarterlySalmagundiNew LettersPloughsharesThe Village VoicePrairie SchoonerGettysburg ReviewThe T.L.S., The Women's Review of BooksThe Nation, and other journals. Her stories and essays are published in more than 60 anthologies. A number of her pieces have been dramatized on BBC Radio 4. Her work has been translated into German, Turkish, Danish, Italian, Spanish, French, Swedish, and Dutch. In addition to single-authored projects, she has collaborated on books and museum exhibits, as well as theatre.

She has won fellowships and awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, Fondazione Bogliasco, Fundación Valparaiso, the McKnight Foundation, the NEA, the Jerome Foundation, the Heinz Foundation, the Australia Council Literary Arts Board, and numerous other sources. She has received Fulbright Fellowships to India, Tunisia, Indonesia, and Spain.

Winner of a Distinguished Teaching Award, she has taught for over 25 years and is now a professor and artist-in-residence at Stanford University. She travels internationally giving readings, lectures, and workshops. She and her partner live in San Francisco and Mendocino County, Calif. Her website is