Creative Writing Students Share Poetry, Stories During Gulf Coast Readings

Houston's literature lovers can kick off the new decade by meeting three writers on the rise.

During its first event of 2010, the Gulf Coast Reading Series will showcase free readings by University of Houston Creative Writing Program students Will Donnelly, Briana Rochelle Olson and Rebecca Wadlinger. This event begins at 7 p.m., Jan. 22 in Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet).

Wadlinger is a Ph.D candidate whose poems have appeared in "The Cimarron Review" and the "Best New Poets" anthology. In addition to composing original poetry, she translates the works of contemporary Norwegian writers.

"When people attend readings such as these, they are exposed to new works," she said "I read my translations of contemporary Norwegian poetry because most of the poets I translate haven't been published in English yet, so it's exciting to bring them to America."

A Ph.D. candidate, Donnelly's fiction has been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Hobart, the Potomac Review, Quick Fiction, and Jump! Magazine. At the reading, he will read an excerpt from his story "Whole Worlds." The story focuses on a young man who is obsessed with a role-playing game. When he becomes romantically interested in a woman, he begins to doubt his commitment to gaming.

Olson is a master of fine arts candidate. She has contributed fiction to publications such as Pindeldyboz and The American Drivel Review.

The Gulf Coast Reading Series is an extension of Gulf Coast, A Journal of Literature and Fine Art. Founded in 1986 by Donald Barthelme and Philip Lopate, the journal is a partnership between the Creative Writing Program, the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston and the Menil Collection. It reviews submissions from artists and writers from around the country. To learn more about the Gulf Coast journal and reading series, visit

As part of UH's English department, CWP offers poets, fiction writers and non-fiction writers intensive training in both creative writing and literary studies. It offers two graduate degrees: the Master of Fine Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. CWP's noted faculty includes award-winning authors and poets such as novelist Antonya Nelson, poet and non-fiction writer Nick Flynn, graphic novelist Mat Johnson and poet Tony Hoagland. To learn more about the program, visit