Tyler Barton is the author of the story collection Eternal Night at the Nature Museum (Sarabande Books, 2021) and the flash fiction collection The Quiet Part Loud (Split Lip Press, 2019). His stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Electric Literature and were twice listed as distinguished by Best American Short Stories. He lives in a six-million acre forever-wild park in upstate New York where he serves as the communications manager for the Adirondack Center for Writing and leads writing workshops for the incarcerated elderly. With Erin Dorney he co-curates Hidden Museum, an ongoing, site-specific, conceptual literary art installation, which is currently on view at Susquehanna Museum of Art in Harrisburg, PA. Find him at tsbarton.com or at @goftyler.
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, which was published by One World Random House in August 2021. It was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and longlisted for the Story Prize. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. It was longlisted for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award, the Center for Fiction Prize, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. The novel was also a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ruffin is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Iowa Review Award in fiction and the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Kenyon Review, and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Ruffin is the 2022 Grand Marshal of the Mardi Gras Krewe of House Floats and recipient of the 2022 Louisiana Board of Regents ATLAS grant. Ruffin has taught at numerous residencies and conferences including Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Maine Media, Randolph College MFA, and Longleaf.
Matt Goldman is a New York Times Bestselling author and Emmy Award winning television writer. He has been nominated for the Shamus Award and Nero Award. Matt’s television writing credits include Seinfeld, Ellen, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Matt lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two dogs, and two cats.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet, novelist, and visual artist. Her most recent hybrid collection of poetry and photography, Seeing the Body (W.W. Norton 2020), was selected as the winner of the 2021 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award in Poetry, the 2021 Paterson Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the 2021 NAACP Image Award. Her literary and visual work has appeared widely, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Best American Poetry (2020, 2021), Guernica, The Kenyon Review, Lit Hub, and many others. Griffiths is the recipient of fellowships, including Cave Canem, Kimbilio, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Civitella Ranieri, and Yaddo. Her debut novel, Promise (Random House), is forthcoming in 2023
Gwen Westerman’s poems, essays, and short stories appear in numerous publications, including the Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (2020); the Minnesota issue of Quiltfolk (January 2020); and New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf Press, 2018). Her poetry collection Follow the Blackbirds (2013) was published by Michigan State University Press. She was appointed Minnesota’s third Poet Laureate in September 2021.
Toni Jensen is the author of Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land, a finalist for the Dayton Peace Prize and a New York Times Editors’ Choice book (Ballantine 2020). An NEA Creative Writing Fellowship recipient in 2020, Jensen’s essays have appeared in Orion, Catapult and Ecotone, among others. She is also the author of the story collection From the Hilltop. She teaches at the University of Arkansas and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Métis.
Karen Russell, born and raised in Miami, FL, won the 2012 and 2018 National Magazine Award for fiction, and her first novel, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship, the “5 under 35” prize from the National Book Foundation, the NYPL Young Lions Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, and is a former fellow of the Cullman Center and the American Academy in Berlin. Russell is also the author of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, Sleep Donation: A Novella, and most recently, Orange World. She currently holds the Endowed Chair at Texas State University’s MFA program, and lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children.
The Good Thunder Reading Series’ mission is to promote literature, inspire creativity, and foster lively conversations about why writing matters. We bring acclaimed writers from diverse backgrounds and literary traditions to Mankato, Minnesota. During their visit, each leads a morning workshop, presents an afternoon talk, and gives an evening reading followed by a book signing.
All of our events are free and open to the public.
You can find out more about our upcoming events and community programming by exploring the menu above.