Directors Robert Boyers and Adam Braver lead an extraordinary faculty of distinguished writers, among them winners of such major honors as the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award.
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, The Practice of Deceit 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 Rewriting Illness.
James Hannaham is a writer, performer and visual artist. His novel Delicious Foods (2015), which deals with human trafficking, won the PEN/Faulkner Award and Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Ten Best Books of the Year. The New York Times called it “an ambitious, sweeping novel of American captivity and exploitation.” Hannaham wrote about the visual arts and the art scene for The Village Voice and later got an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas. His debut novel, God Says No (2009), was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His most recent book (2022) is Didn't Nobody Give A Shit What Happened To Carlotta. He teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Amy Hempel is the author of five collections of stories, most recently Sing To It. Her Collected Stories won The Ambassador Award for Best Fiction of the Year in 2006, and was one of the top five books of fiction in the NYTBR that year. Her stories have appeared in Harper's, Vanity Fair, the Harvard Review, The Yale Review, and many other publications, and have been included in the Best American Short Stories and other prize anthologies. She is a memberof The American Academy of Arts & Letters, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and United States Artists Foundation, and was awarded the REA Award and the PEN/Malamud Award. She teaches at The MIchener Center in Austin, and in the graduate writing program at Bennington College.
Novelist Madeline Miller has a BA and MA from Brown University in Latin and Ancient Greek, and has been teaching both for over fifteen years. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama, specializing in adapting classical tales to a modern audience. Her first novel, The Song of Achilles, was the winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. Her second novel, Circe, was a New York Times bestseller and drew praise from classic scholars and novelists. Miller’s novels have been translated into over twenty-five languages and her essays have appeared in the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post among others.
Rick Moody is author of several novels including 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 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. Moody’s acclaimed recent novel is Hotels Of North America (2016).
Jenny Offill is Writer In Residence at Bard College and taught previously at several MFA programs. Her first book (1999) was Last Things, a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angels Times Book Prizes. Her second novel, Department Of Speculation (2014), was named one of the Ten best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and shortlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her third novel, Weather (2020), was shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Of her novel, Department Of Speculation, James Wood wrote in The New Yorker: “Often extremely funny, earnestly direct but glancingly ironic…an exquisite and painful precision.”
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 To Show and Tell, Portrait Inside My Head, 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. “He is our Montaigne,” writes Robert Boyers.
Thomas Chatterton Williams is one of the leading memoirists and cultural critics in the country, the author of Self-Portrait in Black & White (Norton, 2019) and Losing My Cool (Penguin-Random House, 2010). A contributing writer at The New York Times, where several of his feature articles have been published in the Sunday Times Magazine, he is also a regular columnist for Harper’s Magazine. In January of 2021 he delivered the Annual Martin Luther King Address, and in 2019 he won the Berlin Prize. Though he lives with his family in France, he is a non-resident Fellow at The American Enterprise Institute and has taught as a visiting professor at Bard College’s Hannah Arendt Center.
Richard Blanco is the fifth poet to read at a US Presidential inaugural, having read the poem “One Today” for Barack Obama’s second inaugural in 2013. He is the first immigrant, first Latino, and first openly gay person to be a US inaugural poet. His books include How To Love A Country, City Of A Hundred Fires, Directions To The Beach Of The Dead (which won the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center), and Looking For The Gulf Motel (Thom Gunn Award). He teaches at Florida International University and serves as the first Education Ambassador for the Academy of American Poets.
Peg Boyers is the author of three volumes of poems, all 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 third book, entitled To Forget Venice, came out in October of 2014 and was hailed for its “disarming flights of imagination” and “inspired ventriloquism.” Her most recent book, The Album, was published by Dos Madres Press in the fall of 2021.
Henri Cole is the author of seven books of poems, including The Look of Things, The Marble Queen, The Visible Man and 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. His most recent books are Blackbird & Wolf and Pierce The Skin, a volume of Selected Poems: 1982-2007.
Megan Fernandez is a South-Asian American writer living in New York City. She earned a Ph.D from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MFA from Boston University. Her second book of poems, Good Boys (Tin House, 2020) was a finalist for the Kundiman Book Prize and the Saturnalia Book Prize. Her most recent book, I Do Everthing I'm Told, was reviewed in the June 19, 2023 issue of The New Yorker Magazine. She teaches at Lafayette College, where she is writer in residence.
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. McGrath’s latest book XX: Poems For The 20th Century has been celebrated as a “tour de force” and “an improbable feat of the imagination.”
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.” Until recently Rosanna Warren was University Professor at Boston University and is now a Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at University of Chicago.
Edward J. Delaney is an award-winning author, journalist, filmmaker, and educator. He was a 2008 National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellow, winner of the 2005 PEN/Winship Award for Fiction, a National Magazine Award finalist, and a past recipient of an O. Henry Prize for short story writing. In addition to having published seven books—most recently The Acrobat, his work has appeared regularly in The Atlantic and other magazines and journals, and has appeared in Best American Short Stories. Of Delaney’s book Follow the Sun, Phillip Lopate writes, “His control of the material is masterful.”
Lorrie Goldensohn is the author of Dismantling Glory and Elizabeth Bishop: The Biography of a Poetry. She has published memoirs in a wide range of magazines, including Yale Review and Salmagundi. A book of her poems is entitled The Tether. She taught for many years at Vassar College.
Amy Wallen MFA is the author of the bestselling novel, MoonPies & Movie Stars (2007 Penguin), and more recently the memoir, When We Were Ghouls (2018 UNP). Her collaborative book with illustrator Emil Wilson How to Write a Novel in 20 Pies: The Sweet & Savory Secrets of the Writing Life will be published Fall 2022 by AMP. Her essays can be found in The Gettysburg Review, Normal School, The Writer, Los Angeles Times, and other anthologies. She teaches personal narrative to disenfranchised youth at the renowned Ocean Discovery Institute in San Diego, CA. She also edits book manuscripts and offers quarterly book-length manuscript workshops online and in-person.
Robert Boyers, Director is editor of the influential quarterly magazine Salmagundi, professor of English at Skidmore College, and director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute. He is the author of eleven books, including a volume of short stories called Excitable Women, Damaged Men. He writes often for such magazines as Harper’s, The New Republic, The Nation, Yale Review, and Granta. His latest book is Maestros & Monsters.
Faculty Awards Received
- Pulitzer Prize
- National Book Award
- PEN/Faulkner Award
- Pushcart Prize
- Mac Arthur Genius Award
- National Book Critics Circle Award
- Lamont Poetry Prize
- Poet-Laureate of the U.S.
- L.A. Times Book Award
- New York Arts Award
- Martin Luther King Memorial Prize
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize
- Lambda Literary Award in Poetry
- Berlin Prize
- Orange Prize
- Hurston/Wright Legacy Award
- Morton Dauwen Zabel Award (from American Academy of Arts & Letters)
- Green Carnation Prize
- Grolie Poetry Prize
- PEN/Malamud Award
- Flannery O’Connor Award
- Notable from Best American Short Stories
- Addison Metcalf Award (from American Academy of Arts & Letters)
- Brandeis Creative Arts Award
- The Booker Prize for Fiction
- The Irish Times International Prize for Fiction
- Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize
- Prix Medicis
- Governor-General’s Award
- Giller Prize
- Cannes Film Festival Awards (novels adapted into films)