MFA Creative Writing Faculty Bios
Benjamin Nugent - Director of MFA, Assistant Professor
Benjamin Nugent, Director of the Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction, is the author of the novel "Good Kids" (Scribner), and the cultural history "American Nerd" (Scribner). His short stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House and Vice, and will appear in The Best American Short Stories 2014. His journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Op/Ed Page, Time, GQ, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and n+1. He earned his bachelor's in English from Reed College, and was an Iowa Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he earned his MFA in fiction.
Richard Adams Carey - Faculty
Assistant Director of the MFA program, is the author of four nonfiction books including ''Raven's Children: An Alaskan Culture at Twilight,'' chosen as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Public Library; ''Against the Tide: The Fate of the New England Fisherman,'' awarded a New Hampshire Writers' Project Nonfiction Prize; and “The Philosopher Fish: Sturgeon, Caviar, and the Geography of Desire.'' The author of numerous essays and articles, his journalism addresses natural history, ecology, and environmental affairs. His short fiction has appeared in the Hunger Mountain Review, Meeting House, and Turnrow.
Carey holds a bachelor's in English from Harvard College and a master's in Educational Administration from Lesley College. His varied career includes cannery worker, commercial fisherman, farm hand, museum curatorial assistant, bookstore clerk, market researcher, actor, musician, teacher, freelance journalist, and president ex officio of the New Hampshire Writers Project board of trustees. His current book concerns a series of murders in New Hampshire's North Country in 1997.
Wiley Cash - Faculty
Wiley Cash is "The New York Times" bestselling author of the novels "A Land More Kind Than Home" (2012) and "This Dark Road to Mercy" (2014), which are both available from William Morrow/HarperCollins. He is the recipient of the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliances' Fiction Prize, the John Creasey Award from the UK's Crime Writers' Association, the Maine Readers' Choice Award, the Appalachian Writers' Association's Book of the Year, The Crooks Corner Book Prize, and the Thomas Wolfe Prize from the Western North Carolina Historical Society. He has also been a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and the America Booksellers' Association's Debut Fiction Prize. His short fiction and essays on American literature have appeared in "Carolina Quarterly", "Crab Orchard Review", and other publications. A native of western North Carolina, a region that if featured prominently in his fiction, Cash holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He and his wife live in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Craig Childs - Faculty
Craig Childs, naturalist, adventurer, and frequent contributor to National Public Radio's ''Morning Edition,'' has published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books. The New York Times says ''Childs's feats of asceticism are nothing if not awe inspiring: he's a modern-day desert father.'' He has been called a born storyteller by the New York Sun, and the Los Angeles Times says his writing is like "pure oxygen" and "stings like a slap in the face.'' Childs has won several key awards, including the 2008 Rowell Art of Adventure Award, the 2007 Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, and the 2003 Spirit of the West Award for his body of work, an honor he shares with Wallace Stegner, Terry Tempest Williams and N. Scott Momaday.
Childs, with an master's in Desert Studies from Prescott College, is an Arizona native, and grew up back and forth between there and Colorado. He began working as a river guide in his teens, and has since held numerous jobs from gas station attendant to journalist to beer bottler. He now makes his living as a writer and lives off the grid in Colorado with his wife and two young sons.
Merle Drown - Faculty
Merle Drown is the author of two novels, ''Plowing Up a Snake'' (DoubleDay) and ''The Suburbs of Heaven'' (Soho Press, and Berkley Publishing Group), the latter being a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. The San Francisco Chronicle called ''The Suburbs of Heaven'' ''compelling reading, the kind of fiction you stay up with half the night.'' And Gallery called it ''brutal and hilarious
Drown has worked as an editor, actor, and ghost writer, and has published his short fiction in Amoskeag, Meetinghouse, 971 Menu, Night Train, Rumble, Sub-Lit, Word Riot, The Kenyon Review, JMWW, Bound Off, Eclectica, Toasted Cheese, SN Review, Foliate Oak, and Knock. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College.
Ann Garvin - Faculty
Ann Garvin understands flawed characters, and knows how to write humor. ''On Maggie’s Watch'' (Berkley Penguin), ''shows how we thrive, how we go on, in a life that's neither perfect nor fair,'' writes bestselling author, Luanne Rice. ''[Garvin] has such deep understanding for her flawed and trying-to-get better characters; she obviously loves them, and so do we.'' Garvin's second novel, ''I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around,'' is anticipated to be released by Berkley in 2013.
After working as a nurse for fifteen years, Garvin completed her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, publishing extensively in the area of exercise, mental health, and media. Decades of teaching and studying characters in their natural habitat proved a perfect backdrop for this scientist turned novelist. She has enjoyed acting, backpacking through Europe, swimming in Jamaica, Greece, Hawaii, Kuai, and eating her way through Egypt. Known for her humor and passion, she is a sought after speaker and educator at conferences and festivals, and has won awards for her stories and lectures on health and writing.
Leslie Jamison - Faculty
Leslie Jamison's debut novel, The Gin Closet,'' was named one of San Francisco Chronicle’s Best Books of the Year and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Prize. Her second book, a collection of essays called The Empathy Exams,'' won the 2012 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize and will be published in early 2014. Her work has appeared in The Believer, A Public Space, Tin House, L Magazine, Salt Hill, Black Warrior Review, The San Francisco Chronicle, and VICE Magazine. She has received fellowships from the Yaddo Corporation, the UCross Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Black Mountain Institute.
Jamison earned her bachelor's in English from Harvard College, her MFA in Fiction from The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is currently working toward a PhD in American Literature, at Yale University, with her dissertation on addiction narratives. She has worked blending smoothies as a juice barista, peddling jeans at the GAP, typing data entry as a temp, teaching arithmetic to second-graders in Nicaragua, and playing house as an innkeeper in a bed and breakfast by the sea. Her work as a writer has taken her far and wide – to an ultra-marathon in Tennessee, a skin disease conference in Austin, a West Virginian prison, and a Bolivian silver mine.
Jo Knowles - Faculty
Jo Knowles is an award-winning young adult and middle-grade novelist. Her books include "Living with Jackie Chan," "See You At Harry's", "Pearl", "Jumping Off Swings", "Lessons from a Dead Girl" and "Read Between The Lines" (Coming March 2015). Some of her awards include a New York Times Editor's Choice and Notable Book, an American Library Association Notable Book, an IndieBound Summer Top 10, Amazon's Best Middle Grades, an International Reading Association Favorite, New England Children's Booksellers Advisory Top Title, two SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards, Kirkus's Best Teen Books, the PEN New England Children's Book Discovery Award, and YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her books have appeared on numerous state book award lists for schools and libraries.
Jo grew up in Meredith, New Hampshire and earned her undergraduate degree at Simmons College in Boston, where she majored in English with a concentration in writing. She went on to earn a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons College. She now lives in Vermont with her family where she writes, leads writing workshops for teens and adults, and visits schools and libraries to talk about books and writing with students.
Diane Les Becquets - Associate Professor
Les Becquets, Associate Professor of English, was hailed by Publisher's Weekly as a "writer to watch" after her debut novel, ''The Stones of Mourning Creek'' (YA Kirkus Star Review). Since then she has published two other novels: ''Love, Cajun Style'' (Bloomsbury, Booklist Star Review) and ''Season of Ice'' (Bloomsbury), the latter being the recipient of a PEN American Fellowship. Other awards she has received include BBYA Blue Ribbon Award, ALA Best Book of the Year, Foreward Independent Bookseller Gold Winner Book of the Year, Volunteer State Book Award Selection, and Garden State Book Award finalist. Her nonfiction essays have been published in Idaho Review, Amoskeag, and several anthologies.
She has served as a judge for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the Maine Arts Commission, and has taught writing workshops at venues across the country, including the University of Mississippi, Auburn University, the New Hampshire Writers' Project, the Department of Forestry, Writers Conference at Ocean Park, Writers in Paradise, the Arkansas Writers Festival, the Telluride Arts Organization, and shelters for Katrina victims.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Les Becquets received her bachelor's in English from Auburn University and her MFA in Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She has worked in the field with archaeologists, taught reading, math, and music in the schools in Colorado, and was a medical journalist for almost ten years. She is an avid outdoors’ woman, enjoying archery, bicycling, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, backpacking, and hiking in the woods with her Labrador, Lacey. Before moving to New Hampshire she lived in a small ranching town in Northwestern Colorado, where she raised her three sons.
Chinelo Okparanta - Faculty
Born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Chinelo Okparanta is the author of "Happiness", "Like Water", a 2014 O. Henry Prize winner and a 2014 Lambda Literary Award winner for Fiction. She was a finalist for the 2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and for the 2014 Rolex Mentors and Protégés Arts Initiative. Her stories have appeared in "Granta", "The New Yorker", and "Tin House", among other journals.
Lydia Peelle - Faculty
Lydia Peelle's first published short story, ''Mule Killers,'' won an O. Henry Award in 2006. Since then her stories have appeared in publications such as Granta, the Sun, Orion, and Prairie Schooner, and have been awarded two Pushcart Prizes and twice been featured in Best New American Voices. Her debut story collection, Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice book, a finalist for the Orion Book Award, and received an honorable mention for the 2010 PEN/Hemingway Award. A 2009 National Book Foundation ''5 under 35'' honoree and a 2010 recipient of a Whiting Award, Peelle is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Virginia, and has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Corporation of Yaddo, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Ucross Foundation. She is a former speechwriter for the Governor of Tennessee and has also worked as a wildlife rehabilitator and English teacher. She lives in Nashville.
Mark Sundeen - Faculty
Mark Sundeen's first book landed in the publishing world in 2000 from a dusty trailer in the Utah desert. ''A riotous, beautiful, totally original road novel masquerading as a travel book,'' wrote George Saunders of ''Car Camping'' (HarperCollins). His second book, ''The Making of Toro'' (Simon & Schuster) garnered comparisons to Hunter S. Thompson and David Sedaris, and introduced readers to the would-be literary hero, Travis LaFrance. With ''The Man Who Quit Money” (Riverhead), winner of a Montana Arts Council Innovation Award, Sundeen established himself as one of the day's most innovative writers of creative nonfiction. ''This is a beautiful, thoughtful and wonderful book,'' wrote Elizabeth Gilbert. ''I suspect I may find myself thinking about it every day for the rest of my life.'' Sundeen's award-winning features and essays appear in the New York Times Magazine, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, McSweeney’s and The Believer.
Sundeen was born in Harbor City, California. After graduating from Stanford University with a bachelor's in English, he spent 10 years in Moab, Utah, sometimes homeless, working odd jobs, river guiding, and leading Outward Bound wilderness courses. Sundeen holds a master's in Writing from the University of Southern California. Since moving to Montana in 2005, he splits his time between Missoula and Moab.
Katherine Towler - Faculty
Katherine Towler, is author of a trilogy of novels: ''Snow Island,'' ''Evening Ferry,'' and ''Island Light.'' This New England trilogy set on a fictional island chronicles the lives of two generations of two island families and the impact of the wars of the 20th century on the island community. Praised by the Boston Globe as "luminous and moving,'' ''Snow Island'' was chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers title, a Borders Original Voices title, and an Indiebound selection. Towler is the co-editor, with Ilya Kaminsky, of ''A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith,” a collection of interviews with prominent American poets. Her essays can be found in two recently published anthologies – ''Choice,'' a collection of essays by women writers on reproductive choices, and ''Writers and Their Notebooks.'' Her reflections in finding a spiritual home are published regularly on her blog for the Huffington Post. She has published poetry, short stories, essays, and interviews with writers in literary magazines including The Sun, The Worcester Review, The Tusculum Review, and In Posse Review.
Towler earned a bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan, a master's in Writing from Johns Hopkins, and a master's in English Literature from Middlebury College. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the New Hampshire Council on the Arts. She was awarded the George Bennett Fellowship at Phillips Exeter Academy and served as the school's writer-in-residence. She has taught creative writing to students of all ages and works as a freelance writer in addition to teaching.
Robin Wasserman - Faculty
Robin Wasserman is the author of fifteen books for children and young adults, including the Cold Awakening Trilogy (Simon & Schuster/Pulse), the Chasing Yesterday Trilogy (Scholastic), ''Hacking Harvard'' (Simon & Schuster/Pulse), and the Seven Deadly Sins series (Simon & Schuster/Pulse), which was adapted into a popular television miniseries. Her latest novel, ''The Book of Blood and Shadow'' (Random House/Knopf), received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, was an Indie Next pick and Amazon Best Book of the Month, and is featured on several best of 2012 lists. Wasserman’s essays and short fiction have appeared in the anthologies ''Under the Moons of Mars,'' ''A Friday Night Lights Companion,'' and ''Oz Reimagined,'' as well as The New York Times.
Wasserman grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard College, where she tried to wrap her brain around quantum physics and wrote a thesis about LSD. After graduating, she spent several years as a children’s book editor with Scholastic, working on bestselling novels and classic book series. She left publishing to pursue a graduate degree, and earned her master’s in the History of Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. After accidentally writing a novel instead of a dissertation, she returned to Brooklyn, where she now lives and writes.
Mitch Wieland - Faculty
Mitch Wieland is the author of ''Willy Slater's Lane'' and ''God's Dogs.'' Willy Slater's Lane received starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly and Booklist, and was optioned for a film. The New York Times called the novel ''immensely moving.'' ''God's Dogs'' was named the Idaho Book of the Year in 2010, and was featured in the Best of the West 2009 prize anthology. ''God's Dogs'' was also a finalist for the 2010 John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and was cited as a Book of the Year by New West. Wieland's short stories have appeared in The Best of the West, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, TriQuarterly, The Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, StoryQuarterly, and Prairie Schooner.
Wieland is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, and two Literature Fellowships from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. As a Boise State University Arts and Humanities Fellow, he is currently working on a novel set in Japan, where he lived for several years. Wieland, who holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama, founded and continues to serve as editor for The Idaho Review.
Amy Irvine McHarg - 2013-2015 Faculty Fellow
Amy Irvine McHarg is a sixth-generation Utahn and longtime wilderness advocate, who for seven years worked for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Her work has appeared in Orion, Climbing, High Desert Journal and in numerous western, nature, and environmental anthologies. Irvine's first book, ''Making A Difference: Stories of how our Outdoor Industry and Individuals are Working to Preserve America’s Natural Places,'' was one of three books featured in the Washington Post for Earth Day 2002. Her second book, ''Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land'' (Farrar, Straus & Giroux/ North Point Press), received the Orion Book Award and Colorado Book Award-while the Los Angeles Times wrote that it "might very well be ‘Desert Solitaire's’ literary heir." In a starred review, Booklist characterized ''Trepass'' as "a penetrating critique of Mormon sovereignty" and called Irvine McHarg "bold and original in her thinking, candid and lyrical in expression," claiming that she "joins red-rock heroes Edward Abbey and Terry Tempest Williams in breaking ranks and speaking up for the living world." Her recent essay ''Spectral Light'' (Orion, January-February 2010 /The Best American Science and Nature Writing of 2011), was a finalist for the Pen Award in Journalism. Her third book, ''Terra Firma,'' is forthcoming from Counterpoint Press. Irvine McHarg has taught non-fiction creative writing and memoir workshops throughout the West.
Our affiliate faculty, one in nonfiction and one in fiction, are regular contributors to our program, teaching workshops, giving readings, and consulting with students.
Sy Montgomery - Affiliate Faculty - Nonfiction
Sy Montgomery, international best-selling author, has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire and bitten by a vampire bat in Costa Rica, worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba and handled a wild tarantula in French Guiana. She has been deftly undressed by an orangutan in Borneo, hunted by a tiger in India, and swum with piranhas, electric eels and dolphins in the Amazon. She has searched the Altai Mountains of Mongolia’s Gobi for snow leopards and hiked into the trackless cloud forest of Papua New Guinea to radiocollar tree kangaroos. Sy's 15 books for both adults and children have garnered many honors. ''The Good Good Pig,'' her memoir of life with her pig, Christopher Hogwood, is an international bestseller. She is the winner of the 2009 New England Independent Booksellers Association Nonfiction Award, the 2010 Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Henry Bergh Award for Nonfiction (given by the ASPCA for Humane Education) and dozens of other honors.
Her work with the man-eating tigers, the subject of her book ''Spell of the Tiger,'' was made into in a National Geographic television documentary that she scripted and narrated. Also for National Geographic TV she developed and scripted ''Mother Bear Man,'' about her friend, Ben Kilham, who raises and releases orphaned bear cubs, which won a Chris award. Her latest book for children, ''Kakapo Rescue,'' won the Sibert Medal, the highest honor awarded in the nation for a nonfiction children's book.
An ardent conservationist, she is a board member of the Rainforest Conservation Fund, RESTORE! The North Woods, and the Center for Tropical Conservation.
John Searles - Affiliate Faculty - Fiction
John Searles began writing his first novel, ''Boy Still Missing,'' after the opening sentence came to him while cleaning under his bed. The book was published by HarperCollins and went onto become a national bestseller. Hailed as "riveting" by the New York Times and "hypnotic" by Entertainment Weekly, the novel inspired Time magazine to name him a Person to Watch and the New York Daily News to name him a New Yorker to Watch. His second novel, ''Strange But True,'' also a national bestseller, was praised as "sinister and complex" by Janet Maslin of The New York Times and "extraordinary" by Publishers Weekly. Both novels have been optioned for film. John wrote the screenplay to ''Strange But True,'' which has been purchased by GreeneStreet Films in partnership with award-winning producer Ross Katz. John recently signed a two-book contract with HarperCollins. He is at work on his third novel, which will be published in 2013. In addition to his career as a novelist, John is an on-air book critic on ''NBC’s Today Show,'' where he appears regularly to announce his favorite book selections. He has also appeared on CBS’s ''The Early Show,'' ''NPR’s Fresh Air,'' ''Live! With Regis and Kelly,'' and ''CNN.'' He is an Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan magazine, where he has served as the books editor for nearly fifteen years. His essays, articles and reviews have been published in the Washington Post, The New York Times, Redbook, Out and many other national magazines and newspapers. John holds a MFA in Creative Writing from New York University.
During the summer and winter residencies for SNHU's MFA in fiction and nonfiction writing, students attend classes and at least one reading by a prominent writer who serves as a visiting faculty member.
Jane Hamilton - 2014 Visiting Faculty
Jane Hamilton is the author of six award-winning and bestselling novels. Her first novel, ''The Book of Ruth,'' won a PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation award, was an Oprah Book Club selection, and was made into a television movie. Her second novel, ''Map of the World,'' was made into a major motion picture and was also an Oprah Book Club selection. Her third novel, ''The Short History of a Prince,'' was a Publishers Weekly Best Book, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. ''Disobedience'' was recognized by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year, and ''When Madeline Was Young'' was selected as a Best Book by Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and Seattle Times. Other awards Hamilton has received include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Heartland Prize, and The Wisconsin Library Association’s Banta Award for Distinguished Work. Hamilton has held teaching appointments through the Ragdale Foundation, Carleton College – Visiting Benedict Professor of English, Vermont Studio Art Center, and Warren Wilson MFA Program.
Andre Dubus III - 2013 Visiting Faculty
Andre Dubus III is the author of five books: ''The Cage Keeper and Other Stories''; ''Bluesman''; and The New York Times Best Sellers, ''House of Sand and Fog,'' ''The Garden of Last Days,'' and his memoir, ''Townie.'' A #4 New York Times Best Seller, it is a New York Times Editors’ Choice and is named on many top non-fiction books of 2011 lists including The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Esquire magazine. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for fiction, the Pushcart Prize, and was a finalist for the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. An Academy Award-nominated motion picture and published in 20 languages, his novel ''House of Sand and Fog'' was a fiction finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Book Sense Book of the Year, and was an Oprah Book Club Selection and #1 New York Times Best Seller.
Chris Bohjalian - 2012 Visiting Faculty
Chris Bohjalian is the author of fourteen books, including his newest novel, The Night Strangers. Before Night Strangers, Bohjalian’s novel, Secrets of Eden, debuted at # 6 on both the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. His other novels include the bestsellers, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, Before You Know Kindness, The Law of Similars, and Midwives. Chris won the New England Book Award in 2002, and his novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, a Publishers Weekly ''Best Book,'' and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. His work has been translated into over 25 languages and twice become movies (''Midwives'' and ''Past the Bleachers''). He has written for a wide variety of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and has been a Sunday columnist for Gannett's Burlington Free Press since 1992. Chris graduated from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter. You can learn more about him here and on Facebook . And, if you like, follow him on twitter as well.
David Carroll - 2011 Visiting Faculty
Naturalist-artist David M. Carroll, who in 2006 was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, is the author of three acclaimed natural histories ''The Year of the Turtle,'' ''Trout Reflections,'' and ''Swamp-Walker's Journal.'' The latter was awarded the John Burroughs medal for distinguished nature writing. This ''wet-sneaker trilogy'' was expanded to a quartet with the publication of his memoir, centered on his lifelong connection with turtles and their habitats, ''Self-Portrait with Turtles.''
His fifth book, ''Following the Water, a Hyrdromancer's Notebook,'' published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in August 2009, was awarded a National Book Foundation Finalist Medal in the nonfiction category.
In addition to his own field work, Carroll has conducted investigations for the endangered species programs of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, as well as for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service. His fieldwork has been published in scientific journals, including Chelonian Conservation and Biology and Northeastern Naturalist.
Carroll and his work have been the subject of numerous articles and interviews, and his artwork has been widely exhibited. He is a lecturer and turtle and wetlands preservation advocate, and has received are the Environmental Merit Award from the U.S. EPA and the New Hampshire Audubon Society’s Tudor Richards Award.
Carroll is a graduate of the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. He received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of New Hampshire and an honorary master’s in environmental science from New England College.
Ann Hood - 2010 Visiting Faculty
The author of 10 books, including most recently the bestselling novel ''The Knitting Circle'' and the memoir ''Comfort: A Journey Through Grief,'' which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and was chosen as one of the top 10 nonfiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. Her short stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Traveler, Food and Wine, More, Tin House, Glimmertrain and The Paris Review. She has won a Best Spiritual Writing Award and two Pushcart Prizes.
Joyce Maynard - 2010 Visiting Faculty
The author of eight books, including the novel ''To Die For,'' which was adapted into a screenplay and became a box-office hit starring Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon and Joaquin Phoenix. She is also the author of the bestselling memoir, ''At Home in the World,'' in which she broke her silence about her years-long affair with reclusive author J.D. Salinger; it has been translated into 11 languages. Her novel, ''The Usual Rules'' - a story about surviving loss - has been a favorite of book club audiences of all ages and was chosen as one of the 10 best books for young readers for 2003. Her latest work, ''Labor Day,'' will be published by William Morrow in August 2009.
Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, ''An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life,'' in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a contributor to the CBS program ''Spectrum,'' a syndicated newspaper columnist whose ''Domestic Affairs'' column appeared in more than 50 papers nationwide, and a regular contributor to National Public Radio and national magazines, including Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Salon, San Francisco Magazine and many more.
Her essays have been widely published in collections and featured in The New York Times. She is a contributing writer at MORE magazine.
A native of New Hampshire, Maynard now makes her home in Mill Valley, Calif., and at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where she runs the Lake Atitlan Writing Workshop, which she founded in 2002.
Francine Prose - 2009 Visiting Faculty
Francine Prose is the author of numerous novels, including My New American Life (HarperCollins, 2011); Goldengrove, a profoundly moving novel about a young girl plunged into adult grief and obsession after the drowning death of her sister; A Changed Man, for which she won the first Dayton Literary Peace Prize in fiction; and Blue Angel, which was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award. About My New American Life, Donna Seaman wrote, ''Prose is dazzling in her sixteenth book of spiky fiction, a fast-flowing, bittersweet, brilliantly satirical immigrant story that subtly embodies the cultural complexity and political horrors of the Balkans and Bush-Cheney America.''
Prose's nonfiction books include, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (HarperCollins, 2009); Reading Like A Writer (2006), a New York Times bestseller The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired, a national bestseller; Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles, a biography of the painter for the Eminent Lives series; Sicilian Odyssey, a travel book; and; Gluttony, a meditation on a deadly sin. Her award-winning young adult novels include Bullyville and After. She is also the author of Hunters and Gatherers, Bigfoot Dreams and Primitive People, two story collections, and a collection of novellas, Guided Tours of Hell. Prose has also written four children's books and co-translated three volumes of fiction. Her stories, reviews and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Best American Short Stories, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Observer, Art News, The Yale Review, The New Republic, and numerous other publications.
Anne Fadiman - 2008 Visiting Faculty
Visiting writer for 2008, Fadiman won a National Book Critics' Circle Award for her first book, ''The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down,'' about an epileptic Hmong child and her family in Merced, Calif. “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader,'' her best-selling book, is a collection of essays originally published in the Library of Congress's Civilization magazine, of which Fadiman served as a founding editor. She also served as the long-time editor of ''The American Scholar.''
Fadiman is the first Francis Writer in Residence, Yale University's chair in nonfiction writing. She serves as an English professor and a mentor to students considering careers in writing or editing.
Fadiman's work has appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker and The New York Times, among many other publications. She has won National Magazine Awards for reporting and essays. Anne Fadiman was the editor of the 2003 edition of ''Best American Essays and Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love.'' Her latest essay collection, ''At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays,'' came out in 2007.
Richard Rhodes - 2007 Visiting Faculty
Rhodes is the author or editor of 22 books, including ''The Making of the Atomic Bomb,'' which won a Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award; ''Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb,'' which was one of three finalists for a Pulitzer Prize for history; ''Why They Kill,'' an investigation of the roots of private violence; ''A Hole in the World,'' a personal memoir; a biography on John James Audubon; and four novels. He has received numerous fellowships for research and writing, including grants from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a host and correspondent for documentaries on public television’s Frontline and American Experience series. An affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, he lectures frequently to audiences in the United States and abroad. His third volume of nuclear history, ''Endgame: The Unmaking of the Nuclear Arms Race,'' which examines the international politics of nuclear weapons in the last years of the Cold War, will be published in fall 2007 by Alfred A. Knopf. He lives with his wife, Ginger, a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco, near Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Russell Banks - 2006 Visiting faculty
Russell Banks, visiting faculty member in the M.F.A. program, has written a dozen novels and short story collections that have won him Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts grants and a St. Lawrence Prize for fiction. Banks' titles include "Affliction" and "The Sweet Hereafter," which were adapted into critically acclaimed, award-winning feature films; Martin Scorcese is producing the film of "Cloudsplitter" for HBO; "Searching for Survivors"; "Family Life"; "Hamilton Stark"; "The New World"; "The Book of Jamaica," which is being adapted into a feature film; "Trailer Park"; "The Relation of My Imprisonment"; "Continental Drift," also being adapted into a feature film; "Success Stories"; and "Rule of the Bone." His latest novel, "The Darling," set in 20th-century Liberia, was selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2004.
Banks' poems, stories and essays have appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Vanity Fair and Harpers.
The New York State Author from 2004 to 2006, he has received numerous awards, including the Ingram Merrill Award, the John Dos Passos Award and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is president of the International Parliament of Writers and the founding president of the North American Network of Cities of Asylum.