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The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series is honored to welcome Melissa Valentine and Michael X Wang. The visiting writers will be reading from their work, followed by a Q&A. Their books will be available to purchase and have signed. 

Melissa Valentine was born and raised in Oakland, California. Her debut memoir, The Names of All the Flowers is "an intimate portrait of a family fractured by the school-to-prison pipeline and an enduring love letter to an adored older brother." Alicia Gonzalez, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, says, "[This book] encourages us to be brave... enough to imagine a world that loves black people, in all of our complexities." Valentine lives in Brooklyn and is an executive editor for Callisto Media. 
 
Michael X. Wang was born in China and immigrated to the U.S. as a child. Wang's debut, Further News of Defeat, is "a collection of deeply researched and engrossing, wonderfully evocative and moving short stories about the people of a particular village in China and the migration of their descendants to urban centers and new lands." PEN America says, "[This book of stories] is intensely interested in the questions and sorrows and strange jokes of being a human being in the world.” Wang is at work on two novels and teaches creative writing at Arkansas Tech. 

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