All events are free and take place at UMMA unless otherwise noted.

Oct 7
Zoom Event / Virtual Event

Zell Visiting Writers Series: Fiction Author Kate Milliken

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All Fall 2021 Zell Visiting Writers Series events will be offered live in a Zoom webinar format. Pending public health considerations and guidance from the university, readings and Q&As may also take place in person (with limited capacity) at the University of Michigan Museum of Art's Stern Auditorium. Details will be announced closer to the event date. Please contact with any questions or accommodation needs.

Kate Milliken’s collection of stories, If I'd Known You Were Coming, won the Iowa Award for Short Fiction in 2013. Her debut novel, Kept Animals, published by Scribner Books, centers on a real-life wildfire in Topanga Canyon, California, in 1993, which Kate experienced firsthand. Heralded as “an event-packed novel of class, desire, coming-of-age and familial disintegration,” by Janet Fitch in the New York Times Book Review and named one of the best LGBTQ books of 2020 by O, the Oprah Magazine, Kept Animals was longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.

Kate was born into a theatre family, her mother a playwright, her father an aspiring actor and director. After her parent’s divorce, Kate bounced between the glamour of 1980s Hollywood and a subsistent, working class home in Chicago. No matter where she was, the conversation was always about storytelling: from mythology, to character motivations in John Cassavetes’s films. As a junior in high school, Kate wrote an essay about her recovery from an eating disorder, her family’s struggle with substance abuse, and the inherent void created by fame. That essay won her acceptance to an experimental five-year undergraduate program, enabling her to leave high school and a troubled home life early, and cemented her belief in the power of storytelling.

A graduate of the Bennington College Writing Seminars, Kate’s writing has been published in numerous literary magazines, anthologized, and supported by fellowships from Yaddo, Tin House, and the Vermont Studio Center. Informed by her early awareness of economic inequities, addiction, and her experience of growing up queer in an era of overt homophobia, Kate’s work aims to explore character dualities and the power of our appetites: from true hunger to our most unwieldy desires.