Pines reflected in the lake is the logo for the SNU Tahoe Writers in the Woods literary speaker series.
Writers in the Woods brings exciting authors from across the country to campus for intimate readings and workshops.

Writers in the Woods Literary Speaker Series

Come hear, meet, and exchange ideas with well-known poets and writers from all over the country at SNU Tahoe’s Writers in the Woods readings and workshops.

Readings: Friday evenings, 7 – 9pm. Free and open to the public.
Workshops: Saturday mornings, 10am – noon. Free to students, $50  for community members — REGISTER HERE. Can be taken for credit.
Location: Tahoe Center for Environmental Studies (TCES) Room 139-141

We have hosted writers such as Nick Flynn, Tim O’Brien, Patricia Smith, Denise Duhamel, Tobias Wolff, Kelle Groom, Lola Haskins, Brenda Hillman, Bob Hass, and many others.

2020 – 2021 Season

Justin Torres

Sept 18-19
Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

VIRTUAL READING Details coming soon!

Justin Torres' novel We the Animals is this year's Sierra Nevada University Common Read. It is a blistering debut novel about three brothers tearing their way through childhood in a family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and euphoria.

Torres’s sentences are gymnastic, leaping and twirling . . . always justified by the ferocity and heartbreak and hunger and slap-happy euphoria of these three boys. It’s a knock to the head that will leave your mouth agape.”
— Benjamin Percy, Esquire

Torres has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, Glimmer Train, Flaunt, and other publications, as well as non-fiction pieces in publications like The Guardian and The Advocate. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Justin's novel We the Animals has been translated into fifteen languages and was recently adapted into a film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards.

author website:

Suzanne Roberts & Gailmarie Pahmeier

Oct 9-10

SNU celebrates new work by homegirls Suzanne Roberts and Gailmarie Pahmeier.

author Suzanne Roberts, author of "Bad Tourist: Misadventures in Love and Travel" and other books
Suzanne Roberts

Suzanne Roberts is a travel writer, memoirist, and poet. Her books include the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award-winning Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail (Bison Books, 2012), four collections of poetry, and Bad Tourist: Misadventures in Love and Travel (forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press in October 2020).

“If Michel de Montaigne and Chelsea Handler could get together in a bar in some far-flung part of the world and get good and drunk, they might dream up a book like this. This is not your parents’ travel writing! If you’re thirsting for a literary triple shot of sex, booze, and misadventures, Bad Tourist is your passport to an adventure you won’t want to come home from.”
- Michael P. Branch, author of Rants from the Hill and How to Cuss in Western

​Suzanne was named "The Next Great Travel Writer" by National Geographic Traveler Magazine. Her work has been listed as "Notable" in Best American Essays and published in The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, The Rumpus, CNN, Longreads, ZYZZYVA, ISLE, 1966, River Teeth, Terrain, National Geographic Traveler, The Normal School, and Litro, and multiple anthologies.

author website:

Reno poet Gailmarie Pahmeier
Gailmarie Pahmeier

Gailmarie Pahmeier spent much of 2017 and 2018 spending 2-3 day residencies in Nevada state parks as the 2017-18 recipient of the Nevada Arts Council’s Major Project Fellowship. She gathered and composed narratives about the people she encountered in these often remote locations, and the landscapes they inhabited. It was an act of both imagination and observation; Gailmarie was careful not to impose upon the privacy so many seek in our state parks.

Gailmarie Pahmeier’s most recent poetry collection, The Rural Lives of Nice Girls, was published by Black Rock Press. Other books include With Respect for Distance, Shake It and It Snows and The House on Breakaheart Road. A Nevadan for nearly 30 years, she is a former poet laureate of Reno. Pahmeier teaches at UNR, where she received the Distinguished Teaching Award. She is also the recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts for her contributions to literature.

"Gailmarie's supple poems are tales of family and home - finding it, making it, cooking it, calling it, leaving it. They open the door, invite you in to sit a spell, maybe have a drink, listen to lyric stories of small-town lives off the side of the highway, to hear about the taste of dreams, the importance of makeup and a mother's rhinestone pumps."
- Kirk Robertson, author of How the Light Gets In

Pam Houston

Nov 13-14
Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted, Sight Hound, Cowboys Are My Weakness, and Waltzing the Cat

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton.

“In Pam Houston’s wonderful stories, sex and hunting are somehow confused, as are humans and animals. People wear skins, the animals speak, and those guys―the ones we all thought were extinct, the ones who defined what a man was―turn up, very much alive, and up to their usual tricks. Houston’s women know they should know better, but they don’t, and the result is a beautiful collection about sexual politics, old and new.”
- Charles Baxter

Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Short Stories of the Century, among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award and several teaching awards. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

author website:

Christopher Coake

Feb 5-6
Christopher Coake, author of You Came Back, We're In Trouble, and You Would Have Told Me Not To

Christopher Coake is the author of the novel You Came Back and the story collection We’re in Trouble, which won the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for a first work of fiction. His new collection, You Would Have Told Me Not To, will be published in 2020 by Delphinium.

"The stories in You Would Have Told Me Not To read like miniature thrillers, even when they stay firmly within the realm of the everyday. They are expertly suspenseful, emotionally powerful, and delightfully dark. The last one, in particular, punched me in the heart. I loved this book."
Kristen Roupenian, author of You Know You Want This: “Cat Person" and Other Stories

In 2007 Coake was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. His short fiction has been anthologized in collections such as Best American Mystery Stories 2004; The Best American Noir of the Century; and Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories; and has been published in numerous literary journals. He is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he directs the MFA program in creative writing.

author website:

Wendy J. Fox

March 26-27
Wendy Fox, author of The Seven Stages of Anger and Other Stories, The Pull of It, and If The Ice Had Held

Wendy J. Fox's first book, The Seven Stages of Anger & Other Stories (Press 53) was finalist for the Colorado Book Award, and her debut novel The Pull of It (Underground Voices), was named a top pick by Displaced Nation. Her most recent novel If The Ice Had Held (Santa Fe Writers Project) is a Buzzfeed recommended read and a grand prize winner from the Santa Fe Writers Project.

“In this tale of tragedy, family secrets, and hidden identities, Wendy J. Fox weaves–with taut prose and an unflinching eye–a web of intersecting lives whose deceptions, disillusionments, and desires capture your attention and then your heart. She has a gift for writing the pulse of real people.”
— Jen Michalski, author of The Summer She Was Under Water

Fox was born in rural Washington state, which has inspired much of her writing on class and the west. Published widely in magazines and blogs, she is also a frequent workshop leader and event panelist.

author website:

Annual Tahoe Poetry Slam

April 30

with MC Elisa Garcia of the Reno Spoken Words Collective
"I want to be the person that someday inspires a complete stranger with my words."

Cash prizes are awarded for first, second and third place, with the winner claiming the title of Tahoe Slam Champion of the Year.

Workshop Registration

This program is funded in part by grants from
Nevada Humanities, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities,

the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and from the state of Nevada.
logo for Nevada Humanities, whose grants help support humanities programming at Sierra Nevada Universitylogo for the National Endowment for the Humanities, whose grants help support humanities programming at Sierra Nevada Universitylogo for the Nevada Arts Council, whose grants help support fine arts programming and exhibitions at Sierra Nevada Universitylogo for the National Endowment for the Arts, whose grants help support fine arts programming and exhibitions at Sierra Nevada University

Past Seasons

  • Writer and activist Lacy M Johnson, author of 'The Reckonings'

    Lacy M. Johnson

  • Author and Sierra Nevada University English professor June Saraceno

    June Sylvester Saraceno

  • Headshot of poet Ralph Salisbury

    Ralph Salisbury

  • Amy Franklin-Willis

  • Luis Alberto Urrea

  • Nahid Rachlin

  • Mark Maynard

  • photo of poet and memoirist Alice Anderson

    Alice Anderson

  • Al Maginnes

  • Nevada author and desert rat Mike Branch, author of 'How to Cuss in Western'

    Michael Branch

  • David Lee

  • photo of Natalie Baszile, author of the novel Queen Sugar

    Natalie Baszile

  • Picture of author and activist Shaun Griffin

    Shaun Griffin

  • Rebecca Makkai

  • Terry Allen

  • Chris Ware

  • Author Ingrid Wendt holding copies of her work

    Ingrid Wendt

  • photo of journalist and adventure writer Jeremy Evans

    Jeremy Evans

  • Headshot of poet Robert Hass

    Robert Hass

  • Li Miao Lovett

  • Headshot of author Denis Duhamel

    Denise Duhamel

  • Headshot of Author Gayle Brandeis

    Gayle Brandeis

  • Headshot of author of many young adult novels Catherine Brady

    Catherine Brady

  • Headshot of novelist Sunil Yapa

    Sunil Yapa

  • Reno poet Gailmarie Pahmeier

    Gailmarie Pahmeier

  • Headshot of poet Patricia Smith

    Patricia Smith

  • Author Peter Makuck

    Peter Makuck

  • Nick Flynn

  • Lindsay Wilson

  • Tobias Wolff

  • Headshot of poet and playwright Nathalie Handal

    Nathalie Handal

  • Tom Meschery, author, sitting at home.

    Tom Meschery

  • Baron Wormser

  • Illustration of Kirk Robertson, author

    Kirk Robertson

  • Sholeh Wolpé

  • photo of author Lydia Yuknavitch

    Lidia Yuknavitch

  • photo pf Fresno poet Lee Herrick

    Lee Herrick

  • Jared Stanley

  • Benjamin Percy

  • Kevin Fedarko

  • Headshot of poet and author Lola Haskins

    Lola Haskins

  • Headshot of novelist and screenwriter Chris Millis

    Chris Millis

  • Headshot of poet Brenda Hillman

    Brenda Hillman

  • Headshot of author Gary Short

    Gary Short

  • author Suzanne Roberts, author of "Bad Tourist: Misadventures in Love and Travel" and other books

    Suzanne Roberts

  • Saeed Jones

  • Headshot of poet Laura McCullough

    Laura McCullough

  • photo of author Claire Vaye Watkins

    Claire Vaye Watkins

  • Headshot of author Joanne Meschery

    Joanne Meschery

  • Headshot of poet and novelist Cathy Lin Che

    Cathy Linh Che

  • Headshot of author Indigo Moor

    Indigo Moor

  • Benjamin Busch

  • Kim Wyatt

  • Headshot of author and journalist Marisella Viega

    Marisella Veiga

  • Tim O’Brien

  • Headshot of poet Brian Turner

    Brian Turner

  • Headshot of Kelle Groom, poet

    Kelle Groom

  • Lynne Thompson, author, discussing her published work.

    Lynne Thompson

  • Headshot of Carolyn Forche, author and activist

    Carolyn Forché

  • Headshot of novelist Ellen Hopkins

    Ellen Hopkins

For more information
June Sylvester Saraceno
Program Chair, English
775.831.1314 x7514