Faculty Henri Cole & Rick Moody – photo by Jim McLaughlin
2017 Writers Institute Faculty
Fiction | Non-Fiction | Poetry | Writers-In-Residence
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.
Adam 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 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 such acclaimed novels as The Mare and Veronica. Of 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, Because They Wanted To and Don’t Cry. (“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.)
Cristina Garcia is the author of six novels. Her first novel, Dreaming in Cuban (1992), was a finalist for The National Book Award and inspired a reviewer in The Nation to write: “Her work is renewing American fiction.” Of her later novels, Edwidge Danticat wrote: “Cristina Garcia enchants us with lyricism and humor and political engagement.” Of her most recent novel, King Of Cuba (2013), the New York Times reviewer wrote: “Garcia has allowed herself to love her despot as much as she loves his enemy… [The novel] is a gift Garcia has given to the country of her birth—and to us.” Garcia was born in Cuba and was for some years the TIME magazine Bureau Chief in Miami before becoming a full-time novelist. She has won the Kafka Award, Guggenheim and Hodder Fellowships and other prizes. She was a student at the New York State Summer Writers Institute in 1990.
Garth Greenwell is an American poet, author, literary critic, and educator. His debut novel, What Belongs to You, has been called the "first great novel of 2016" by Publishers Weekly. James Wood wrote of this book in The New Yorker that it is “a work of originality and power,” “consummate in its mastery of pacing,” and with “a rare delicacy.” The reviewer for The NY Times wrote of it as “a masterly debut novel” and “an instant classic…on a gay man’s endeavor to fathom his own heart.” Edmund White describes the novel as “simply a masterpiece.” In 2013, Greenwell returned to the United States after living in Bulgaria to attend the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop as an Arts Fellow. He has published stories in The Paris Review and A Public Space and writes criticism for The New Yorker and The Atlantic. Greenwell studied at the Eastman School of Music and received a BA in Literature with a minor in Lesbian and Gay Studies from the State University of New York at Purchase in 2001, where he received the 2000 Grolier Poetry Prize.He received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MA in English and American Literature from Harvard University. He has taught at several programs in this country and in Europe. Greenwell's first novella, Mitko, won the Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award as well as the Lambda Award. His work has appeared in Yale Review, Boston Review, Salmagundi, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry International, among others.
Adam Haslett is a graduate of Swarthmore College (B.A., 1992), the University of Iowa (M.F.A., 1999), and Yale Law School (J.D., 2003). He has been a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Colombia University. His first book, a collection of short stories entitled You Are Not a Stranger Here, was released in 2002 and was a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award and the 2003 Pulitzer Prize and spent some time on The New York Times Best Seller List. It won the PEN/ Malamud Award for the best book of short fiction in 2002. It was also named one of the five best books of the year by Time. Haslett has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Nation, The Atlantic and The Best American Short Stories as well as National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts. His first novel, Union Atlantic, was released in February 2010. It has been translated into twelve languages and won a Lambda Literary Award for best work of gay men's fiction published in 2010. Haslett’s most recent novel, Imagine Me Gone, was published in 2016. Reviewers have the following to say of Haslett’s fiction: “Adam Haslett may be our F. Scott Fitzgerald.” (Washington Post Book World) “Union Atlantic is the first great novel of the new century that takes the new century as its subject.” (Esquire) “Imagine Me Gone offers “a full and luminous depiction of the mind under siege” in a book “refreshingly replete with surprise, with a dark and winning humor and sentences so astute that they lift the spirit even when they’re awfully sad.” (The New York Times Book Review) “Haslett is a major talent. It’s been years since a novel has captured the zeitgeist of contemporary America this well.” (Bookslut)
Paul Harding won the Pulitzer Prize for his debut novel Tinkers in 2010, and his recent 2013 novel Enon has inspired comparable praise. In the New York Times Mark Slouka wrote: “One might have to go as far back as Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping to find a first novel that declared itself with such authority. Harding’s associative flights—his twisting, turning lyricism—were stunning, his ability to stress the physical world into extended metaphor downright Melvillean…In Enon, Harding’s gifts are again everywhere on display.” Tinkers also won the PEN Bingham Prize, and inspired the following citation: “An exquisite novel, at once fresh and hauntingly familiar, simple and profound.” More recently, the New Yorker reviewer said of Enon: “An extraordinary follow-up to Tinkers…a darkly intoxicating read.” Harding was a student at the New York State Summer Writers Institute and received an MFA from Iowa. In recent years he has taught at Harvard University and in the MFA program at Iowa.
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 taught for several years at Harvard.
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)
Howard Norman is the author of seven 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 Next Life Might Be Kinder.
Joanna Scott won a MacArthur “Genius” Award when she was 31 years old, and has also won many other awards, from a Lannan Foundation Prize to a Guggenheim Fellowship and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of many books, including the novels Follow Me, Tourmaline, Make Believe, The Manikin, Liberation and others. She is also the author of two volumes of short stories entitled Various Antidotes and Everybody Loves Somebody, and won the Aga Khan Prize for short fiction from the Paris Review. “An elegant, completely spellbinding writer,” says the Washington Post. “One of the really important contemporary voices,” writes Rick Moody…..”vital, passionate fiction about how we live our lives.” Scott is the Burrows Professor at The University of Rochester and has taught at the New York State Summer Writers Institute in ten previous summers.