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UW Libraries

Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writers Fellow: Rena Priest

Tues. Oct. 18, 2022       6–7 p.m. PT


Presented by UW Libraries

Join us online for an evening with Rena Priest, our Washington State Poet Laureate! University of Washington Libraries is proud to host her as the Maxine Cushing Grey Distinguished Writers Fellow this year. Priest has received numerous awards for her writing, including an American Book Award for her debut poetry collection, “Patriarchy Blues.” An enrolled member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, Priest is the first Indigenous person to receive the Maxine Cushing Gray Visiting Writers Fellowship.

Rena Priest will share a reading followed by a conversation with UW Tacoma professor Danica Miller (Puyallup), with an opportunity for audience questions afterward. The emcee for the event will be Annie Downey and the discussion moderator will be Anne Jenner, ’93, both from University Libraries.

Registration is free for this event!

Rena Priest

Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writing Fellow

Rena Priest is a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She is the first Indigenous Washington State Poet Laureate and the Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writing Fellow. Priest is also the recipient of an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, Indigenous Nations Poets and the Vadon Foundation. Her debut poetry collection, “Patriarchy Blues,” received an American Book Award. Her second collection, “Sublime Subliminal,” was published as the finalist for the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. Her most recent book, “Northwest Know-How: Beaches,” includes poems, legends and descriptions of 29 of the most beloved beaches in Washington and Oregon. She was awarded a National Geographic Explorer grant to explore wildlife conservation issues around orca and salmon habitat in the Salish Sea. Priest’s nonfiction has appeared in High Country News, YES! Magazine, Seattle Met and beyond. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Meet the additional presenters

About the Fellowship

The Maxine Cushing Gray Endowed Libraries Visiting Writers Fellowship was established in 1985 at The Seattle Foundation by friends and admirers of the late Maxine Cushing Gray. The Fund was established to honor her wide-ranging contributions and to recognize future generations of established writers of exceptional merit.

Maxine Cushing Gray was a prominent Northwest critic and editor for nearly 40 years. Gray worked tirelessly to see that all artists, as well as writers, were given just recognition and financial compensation for their work. As a music and dance critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Argus, and founding editor/publisher of Northwest Arts, she not only nurtured the development of artists in the Northwest, but often acted as their conscience. She sought to keep all public bodies accountable and was an advocate for artists seeking an individual voice. She set standards of criticism, fought acceptance of the mediocre and encouraged the young.

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