2013 Writers Institute Faculty
Fiction | Poetry | Non-Fiction
Ann Beattie is recent winner of the Rea Award for Short Fiction and the author of many novels,
including Picturing Will, Love Always, and Another You. Her stories are collected in Park City, Perfect Recall, and Follies. (“Her ear is faultless, her eye ruthless as a hawk’s,” says the New York Times.)
Elizabeth Benedict is the author of Almost, a novel described by Edmund White as “a fast-paced, funny, and splendidly intelligent drama[with] a varied, unforgettable cast of characters.” Her earlier books include Slow Dancing (a finalist for the National Book Award), The Beginner’s Book of Dreams, Safe Conduct, and The Joy of Writing Sex (“Read it because it will teach you everything you need to know about writing good fiction,’’ suggests Peter Carey). Benedict has taught at Princeton University, Swarthmore College, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. Her latest novel is The Practice of Deceit.
Clark Blaise has taught at Columbia University, Iowa, NYU, UCAL-Berkeley, Sarah Lawrence and Emory. For several years he directed the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. In 2002, he was elected president of the Society for the Study of the Short Story, and in 2003, he was given an award for exceptional achievement by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2009, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian letters. Blaise’s fiction includes A North American Education, Tribal Justice, Lunar Attractions and Lusts. His short stories are collected in a uniform four-volume edition which includes Pittsburgh Stories and Montreal Stories. His memoirs include Days and Nights in Calcutta, co-written with his wife, novelist Bharati Mukherjee, Resident Alien and I Had a Father.
Adam Braver is author of several historical novels including Divine Sarah and Mr. Lincoln’s Wars, and Crows Over The Wheatfield. (“Brilliant and inventive work,” wrote a reviewer for the Los Angeles Times Book Review. “A novelist whose works are richly imagined,” says the Washington Post.) Braver’s most recent novels are 1963, which revolves around the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and Misfit. (“Amazing. . .a book about identity, privacy and intimacy that both exposes and conceals its subject – Marilyn Monroe,” writes Ann Beattie).
Mary Gaitskill is the author of two novels and two books of short stories. Of her most recent novel, Veronica, Heidi Julavits has written in Publishers Weekly: “Gaitskill’s style is gorgeously caustic and penetrating, with a honing instinct towards the harrowing; her ability to capture abstract feeling and sensation with a precise and unexpected metaphor is a squirmy delight.” And Janet Maslin writes in the New York Times: “Gaitskill writes so radiantly about violent self-loathing that the very incongruousness of her language has shocking power.” Her earlier books include the novel Two Girls, Fat and Thin and the story volumes Bad Behavior and Because They Wanted To. (“Gaitskill writes with such authority, such radar-perfect details, that she is able to make even the most extreme situations seem real,” writes Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times.) Her latest book is Don’t Cry.
Amy Hempel is the author of several acclaimed volumes of short fiction, including Reasons To Live, At The Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Tumble Home, The Dog of the Marriage, and The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel, the last of which was described in the Village Voice as “the literary event of the year.” The Atlantic Monthly noted that “few fiction writers are as intensely admired by her peers,” while a reviewer for the Chicago Tribune described her “word by word virtuosity” as “off the charts.”In his “Introduction” to Hempel’s Collected Stories Rick Moody speaks of her “bladelike” prose and her “besieged consciousness.” Until recently she directed the creative writing program at Brooklyn College and now teaches at Harvard University.
Claire Messud is the author of several works of fiction, whose most recent novel, The Emperor’s Children, was a best-selling work with a first printing of 100,000 copies. Described by a reviewer for the New Yorker as “a witty examination of New York’s chattering classes,” the book was praised in the following terms in Publishers Weekly: “Her writing is so fluid, her plot so cleverly constructed, that events seem inevitable, yet the narrative is ultimately surprising and masterful as a comedy of manners…The intimacies of Messud’s portraits do not soften the judgments behind them.” Messud’s first two novels were finalists for the Pen/Faulkner award. About When The World Was Steady: “Messud is a novelist of unnerving talent,” according to the New York Times Book Review “This author has daring and assurance,” says the New Yorker. Messud’s The Last Life was an “Editor’s Choice Book” at the Village Voice and a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year.” Recently Messud was awarded the Straus Living Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Bharati Mukherjee was born in Calcutta, West Bengal, India, and graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop with an MFA. She has taught for many years at UCAL-Berkeley and is the author of many works of fiction, including The Holder of the World, Wife, The Tree Bride, Jasmine, Desirable Daughters and other works. She won the National Book Critics Award for her book The Middleman. “This has long been one of the best writers in the country,” wrote Amy Tan.
Rick Moody is author of the novels The Ice Storm, Purple America, and Garden State. He has also written two acclaimed volumes of short fiction, Demonology and The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven.Newsday describes him as “our anthropologist of desolate landscapes,” John Hawkes as “a writer of meticulous originality.” He received the Academy of Arts and Letters Addison Metcalf Award. His recent memoir is The Black Veil (“Moody’s writing rants and raves and roars,” writes a reviewer for the New York Times. “He is an unrepressed quester after meaning,” writes Robert Boyers). Moody’s latest novels are The Diviners (2005) and The Four Fingers of Death (2010), and his latest collection of short fiction is Right Livelihoods (2007). “One of our best writers,” said a reviewer for the Washington Post.
Howard Norman is the author of six novels, including the recent Devotion (“eloquent…a testament to Norman’s immense skill,” Washington Post Book World; “a beautiful story of love gone awry,” Booklist). Among Norman’s earlier fictions are The Northern Lights (a National Book Award finalist) and a book of stories entitled Kiss In The Hotel Joseph Conrad. His books have been translated into 12 languages and include a number of memoirs and non-fiction works as well. Of his novel The Bird Artist—probably his best-known work—Richard Eder wrote in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, “One of the most perfect and original novels that I have read in years.” Michiko Kakutani wrote in the New York Times, “Bewitching…glows like a night light in the reader’s mind.” Norman’s novel The Museum Guard was described by John Banville in the Washington Post as “an impressive and admirable achievement.” His latest novel is What Is The Daughter.
Frank Bidart is the author of five volumes of poetry, most recently Watching The Spring Festival and Star Dust. Previous volumes include Desire—winner of a Theodore Roethke Prize and a Lannan Foundation Prize—and a chapbook titled
Music Like Dirt (2002). His early volumes can be found in In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965–1990. Bidart, who teaches at Wellesley College, has received major awards from the American
Academy of Arts and Letters, the Paris Review, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation, and the Poetry Society of America.
Louise Glück wrote of him: “Certainly he is one of the crucial figures of our time.
…More fiercely, more obsessively, more profoundly than any poet since Berryman (whom
he in no other way resembles), Bidart explores individual guilt, the insoluble dilemma…the
givens of human life.” Recently Bidart won the Wallace Stevens Award, the Bollingen
Award and the Tanning Prize.
Peg Boyers is the author of two volumes of poems, both published by the University of Chicago Press. The first, Hard Bread (2002), was described by Richard Howard as “the most original debut in my experience of contemporary American poetry.” With poems spoken in the invented voice of the late Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg, the book, says Robert Pinsky, “not only surpasses the notion of a merely good first book” but “soars beyond the conventional expectations of ‘persona’ and dramatic monologue.” “The creation of the voice in this book,” wrote Frank Bidart, “stoic, passionate, resigned, insistent on truth—is a brilliant achievement.” Boyers’ second book, Honey With Tobacco (2007), “has a rare power,” wrote George Steiner; “a beautiful book,” wrote Henri Cole. Peg Boyers is executive editor of the quarterly Salmagundi and teaches creative writing at Skidmore College. Her forthcoming book of poems is entitled To Forget Venice.
Henri Cole is the author of six books of poems, including The Look of Things, The Marble Queen, The Visible Man and, in 2003, Middle Earth. (“Henri Cole has become a master poet, with few peers,” writes Harold Bloom. “Middle Earth is [his] epiphany, his Whitmanesque sunrise…[These] are the poems of our climate.”) Of his earlier books, Wayne Koestenbaum wrote in the New Yorker: “a poet not content to remain in the realm of the merely lapidary, the self-consciously coloratura…he produces lines of natural and nonchalant brio…in stanzas as shapely as topiary…; he can write about the soul stumbling against quotidian impediments…[approaching] a variety of subjects, from first love…to family history.” Cole has taught at the Summer Writers Institute since 2004 and is also Professor of Creative Writing at Ohio State. His most recent books are Blackbird & Wolf and Pierce The Skin, a volume of “Selected Poems: 1982-2007.”
Campbell McGrath teaches creative writing at Florida International University and has taught at the Summer Writers Institute since 2007. The winner of a MacArthur “genius” award, he is the author of many books of poetry, including American Noise, Pax Atomica, Spring Comes To Chicago, Seven Notebooks, Florida Poems and Capitalism. “A poet of formal eloquence and rhetorical power,” writes the reviewer for Publishers Weekly, “of vision and engagement….he descends into the maelstrom of American culture and emerges singing.” “He is our Whitman,” writes the reviewer for American Review.
Rosanna Warren has won the Lamont Poetry Prize and many other awards for her poetry. She is the author of five books of poems, including Departure, Stained Glass, Each Leaf Shines Separate and Ghost In A Red Hat. Harold Bloom writes: “Warren is an important poet, beyond the achievement of all but a handful of living American poets.” And Charles Simic writes in The NY Review of Books: “Her work has become stronger and stronger…The new book explores intimacy and separation in poems of difficult love….Masterful and ambitious.” Rosanna Warren is University Professor at Boston University and is also the author of critical books and essays.
Phillip Lopate is a central figure in the recent revival of interest in memoir writing and what
has come to be called “the personal essay.” Lopate is the author of Portrait of My Body, Confessions of Summer, Against Joie de Vivre, The Rug Merchant, Being with Children, and Totally Tenderly Tragically. He is also the editor of The Art of the Personal Essay and was the series editor of The Anchor Essay Annual. Lopate’s work has been included in The Best American Essays and The Pushcart Prize series. His most recent books are Waterfront, Getting Personal: Selected Writings and Notes On Sontag. In 2008 he published a volume of fiction entitled Two Marriages. He directs the non-fiction MFA program at Columbia University.
James Miller is the author of a controversial book about rock and roll, Flowers in the Dustbin (Simon & Schuster). His earlier books include two titles nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award: Democracy Is in the Streets (1987), a study of the American student left in the 1960s, and The Passion of Michel Foucault (1993), a critical biography of the contemporary French thinker. Director of the graduate program in liberal studies at the New School, and, until recently, editor of Daedalus (the magazine of the American Academy of Arts & Letters), Miller writes often for such publications as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the New Republic. He has also written extensively about popular culture, reviewing for Rolling Stone and, for 12 years, serving as book and music critic for Newsweek. Of Miller’s best-selling book Democracy Is in the Streets, critics wrote, “brings the sixties alive in its passion, in its idealism, in its follies” (Ronald Steel); and “an outstanding work” (Hendrick Hertzberg). His latest book, entitled Philosophical Lives, received a rave review on the front page of the New York Times Book Review.