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Skidmore College
New York State Summer Writers Institute

2024 Faculty 

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 BenedictElizabeth 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.

Adam BraverAdam Braver is author of several historical novels including Divine Sarah, 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 NOV 22, 1963, which revolves around the assassination of John F. Kennedy; Misfit (“Amazing...a book about identity, privacy and intimacy that both exposes and conceals its subject – Marilyn Monroe,” writes Ann Beattie), and Rejoice The Head Of Paul McCartney, which "brilliantly captures the fragmented intensity of late '60s California — and the US — in its idealism, exhilaration, violence and despair," says Claire Messud.
Cristina Garcia is a Cuban born American journalist and novelist who worked for Time Magzine as the Miami and Caribbean bureau chief before coming to the NY State Summer Writers Institute and becoming a fiction writer. Her first novel, Dreaming In Cuban (1992), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her later novels include The Aguero Sisters  (winner of the Janet Heidiger Kafka Prize), Monkey Hunting, The Lady Matador's Hotel, King Of Cuba, Here In Berlin and her most recent novel, Vanishing Maps (2023), which returns to the cast of characters she made famous in her first novel.

J.HannahamJames 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.

HempelAmy 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.

Karan Mahajan
Karan Mahajan  is the author of Family Planning, a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and The Association of Small Bombs, which was shortlisted for the 2016 National Book Award and named one of the New York Times Book Review’s "10 Best Books of 2016." In 2017, he was selected as one of Granta’s "Best Young American Novelists." His reporting and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and other venues. He teaches at Brown University. His third novel The Complex will be published in 2025.

Madeline MillerNovelist 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 MoodyRick 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).

Bookforum talks with Jenny Offill - Bookforum Magazine

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 LopatePhillip 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 WilliamsThomas 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 - Blue Flower ArtsRichard 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 ColeHenri 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 FernandesMegan Fernandes is a writer living in New York City. Fernandes has published in The New Yorker, POETRY, The Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, among others. Her third book of poetry, I Do Everything I’m Told, published by Tin House, received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly and was named a Best or Most-Anticipated Book of 2023 by The New Yorker, Time Magazine, The Boston Globe, Vogue, Electric Lit, The Rumpus, Vulture, Autostraddle, LitHub, among others. Fernandes is an Associate Professor of English and the Writer-in-Residence at Lafayette College where she teaches courses on poetry, environmental writing, and critical theory. She has received scholarships and fellowships from the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, the Yaddo Foundation, the Hawthornden Foundation, etc. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, and an MFA in poetry from Boston University.


Campbell McGrathCampbell 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 WarrenRosanna Warren has won the Lamont Poetry Prize, and has been honored with the Award of Merit in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of six books of poems, most recently, So Forth (Norton, 2020), as well as the biography, Max Jacob: A Life in Art and Letters. (Norton, 2020). 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 …. masterful and ambitious.”  Rosanna Warren is Emeritus Professor at University of Chicago.


Edward J. Delaney

Edward J. Delaney (Non-Fiction) 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 writingIn 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.”


Mamta Chaudhry Mamta Chaudhry (Fiction) is the author of the novel Haunting Paris, described as “elegantly wrought” by The New York Times Book Review and “a heart-wrenching love letter to Paris" by Publishers Weekly. Russell Banks called Haunting Paris “audaciously, imaginatively constructed, with a heartbreaking, profoundly adult love story at its center." She has a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Miami, where she has also taught literature and creative writing.



Elisa GonzalezElisa Gonzalez  (Poetry), a recipient of a 2020 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, has had work appear in the New YorkerNew York Times MagazineParis Review and elsewhere.  Of Gonzalez’s 2023 debut poetry collection, Grand Tour, Louise Glück described poems that “make me feel as if poems have never before been written.” Elisa will meet with students in session 1.



Sandra LimSandra Lim  (Poetry) is the author of three poetry collections, most recently The Curious Thing. Her writing has appeared in a range of literary journals, including The New York Review of Books, Poetry, The New Republic, and The New York Times Magazine. "In her hands," writes Ocean Vuong, "percision and audacity meld into a performance of quiet, implacable force." Sandra will meet with students in session 2.






Robert Boyers

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’sThe New RepublicThe NationYale Review, and Granta. His latest book is Maestros & Monsters.



Adam Braver

Adam Braver, Director, has been teaching fiction in the  New York State Writers Institute since 2014. He is the author of seven novels, as well as the editor of the University of New Orleans Press’ Broken Silence book series, which documents first-hand accounts of political dissidents. His latest novel, Rejoice the Head of Paul McCartney, was published in 2022. Of the book, Rick Moody writes that “Adam Braver writes about history and consciousness, and he balances these with gentle and pitch-perfect moral consciousness. The results are sophisticated, subtle, nuanced, and very moving.”

Marc Woodworth

Marc Woodworth, Associate Director is Associate Editor of Samagundi Magazine and author or editor of several books: Arcade (poetry), Solo: Women Singer-Songwriters in Their Own Words, Bee Thousand (in the 33 1/3 series), and How To Write About Music. He teaches for the Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative and Department of English at Skidmore College.

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)