Award-Winning Writers Anne Pierson Wiese and Ben Miller Appear at 2 Events on 7/27

The Midwest Writing Center will host two events featuring award-winning writers Anne Pierson Wiese and ben miller on Thursday, July 27.

The first will be a Community Conversation Brown Bag event at the Rock Island Public Library Downtown Branch. The event will start at 12pm, and will feature memoirist and Davenport native Ben Miller, and award-winning poet Ann Pierson Wiese, who will talk about their work, their life together in writing, and why they believe writing is important.

The Community Conversations are events hosted by the Midwest Writing Center that center around a simple question: Why is writing important? Our featured writers will answer this question to illuminate why they write, what it does for their lives outside of publication, professional advancement, etc., what brought them to the page in the first place & what keeps them coming back? Our goal for these events is to encourage more people to find some kind of simple writing practice that can benefit them in their daily lives—mind, body, and spirit. The floor will be open for questions/discussion following the authors’ remarks.

The event is free and open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch. For more information, please contact Sarah Elgatian,

The second event will be a special SPECTRA Reading Series event featuring Wiese, Miller, Great River Writers Retreat winner Dee Robb, and a Young Emerging Writers Showcase.

The event will start at 6pm with a social hour, followed by a feature reading from memoirist and Davenport native Ben Miller, award-winning poet Ann Pierson Wiese, and Dee Robb, winner of the Great River Writer’s Retreat (see bios below). Following the feature reading will be a special Young Emerging Writers showcase, featuring poetry and prose readings from some of the 2023 YEW staff and interns, starting at 8pm.

Event will be livestreamed to Midwest Writing Center’s YouTube page:

Space is limited for this special event. Event is free and open to the public, with a $5 suggested donation to support youth writing programs at MWC.

For more information, or for media queries, please contact Sarah Elgatian,

The SPECTRA Reading Series manifests thanks to the generous support of the Illinois Arts Council Agency and Illinois Humanities. The Great River Writer’s Retreat is generously sponsored by Dr. Nicolas Shammas and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Funding and material support for the 2023 Young Emerging Writers Summer Internship Program generously provided by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Scott County Regional Authority, Modern Woodmen of America, Illinois Humanities, the CD Wiman Memorial Trust, the Melvin McKay Charitable Trust, the Rock Island Public Library, and Rozz-Tox.

Bios for Feature Readers:

Ben Miller is the author of the forthcoming Pandemonium Logs: Sioux Falls, South Dakota 2020-2022 (Rutgers University Press) and River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll Amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa (University of North Carolina Press). His awards include fellowships from the NEA and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, as well as grants from the South Dakota Arts Council and the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.

Anne Pierson Wiese‘s first poetry collection, Floating City (Louisiana State University Press) received the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award. Her second collection, Which Way Was North, is forthcoming in 2023 (Louisiana State University Press). She has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Scholarship, fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the South Dakota Arts Council, and a Discovery/The Nation Poetry Prize.

Dee Robb holds degrees in Communication, Education, and English as a Second Language, with a certificate in Creative Writing from UW-Madison. Her poetry can be found in the Highland Community College press, Oprelle’s Rise Up Anthology, Illinois Reading Today, and The Illinois Reading Council Journal. She was a short story first-place winner of Galesburg Public Library’s Big Write in 2022, and a second-place winner of poetry in 2023. She is a member of the American Academy of Poets, the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Midwest Writing Center. She currently teaches ESL in the Galesburg School District and serves on the Mercer County Family Crisis Center Board of Directors.