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Poetry Faculty

Jennifer Chang is the author of The History of Anonymity and Some Say the Lark, winner of the 2018 William Carlos Williams Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Poetry, Georgia Review, The Believer, The New York Times, and Yale Review, and she has published essays on poetry and culture in New Literary History, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature and Culture, The Volta, Blackwell’s Companion to the Harlem Renaissance, New England Review, and Los Angeles Review of Books. She serves as the poetry editor of New England Review and since 2003 has been on the staff of Kundiman.

Lisa Olstein, NWP Associate Director, is the author of Pain Studies, a book-length lyric essay (Bellevue Literary Press 2020), and four poetry collections: Radio Crackling, Radio Gone (Copper Canyon Press 2006), winner of the Hayden Carruth Award; Lost Alphabet (Copper Canyon Press 2009), a Library Journal best book of the year; Little Stranger (Copper Canyon Press 2013), a Lannan Literary Selection; and Late Empire (Copper Canyon Press 2017). The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Writing Residency, an Essay Press Chapbook prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Centrum, her work has been widely published in periodicals and anthologies including The Nation, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Story Quarterly, New Voices, and The Echoing Green. In 2020 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. 

Roger Reeves’s poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Best American Poetry, and Tin House, among others. He was awarded a 2015 Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a 2013 NEA Fellowship, and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. His first book is King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), which won the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Zacharis Prize from Ploughshares, and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award.

Fiction Faculty

Edward Carey is a writer and illustrator whose books include The Iremonger Trilogy: Heap House, Foulsham, and Lungdon (Overlook 2014-2016); Observatory Mansions (Crown 2001); Alva & Irva: The Twins Who Saved a City (Harcourt 2003)and Little (Riverhead 2018), which has been sold in 20 countries and was shortlisted and longlisted for many prizes. His artwork has been exhibited in Florence, Collodi, Kilkenny, Milan, London, and Austin; his essays and reviews have been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Observer, Corriere della Serra, La Repubblica, and other places. His new novel, The Swallowed Man, will be published by Riverhead in 2020. He is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow.

Oscar Cásares writes about life on the U.S.-Mexico border, but in a larger sense, he gives voice to what it means to live simultaneously in two worlds, moving amid languages, cultures, and identities. He is the author of the short story collection Brownsville (Back Bay Books 2003), which was selected by the American Library Association as a Notable Book of 2004, and is used widely at universities across the country. His first novel Amigoland (Little, Brown 2009) was the 2009 selection for the Mayor's Book Club of Austin, a citywide reading campaign. His most recent book, Where We Come From (Knopf 2019) was described by one reviewer as a "potent novel about the complexities of immigration and the lies we tell ourselves and our families.” His fiction has earned him fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Copernicus Society of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the internationally bestselling novel Remember Me Like This and the multi-award-winning collection Corpus Christi: Stories. He is the editor of Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer, and he wrote the documentary film, Waiting for Lightning. His work appears in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Best American Short Stories, and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. His many honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the world’s “richest and most prestigious prize for a single short story.”

Peter LaSalle is the author of two novels and five short story collections, most recently Sleeping Mask (Bellevue Literary Press, 2017) and What I Found Out About Her (University of Notre Dame Press, 2014), as well as two collections of essays on literature and travel, The City at Three P.M. (Dzanc Books, 2015) and The World is a Book, Indeed (LSU Press 2020). His fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, such as TheParis Review, Tin House, Zoetrope, Best American Short Stories, Best of the West, Sports’ Best Short Stories, Best American Fantasy, Best American Mystery Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. His nonfiction (essays, articles, and reviews) has been published in The Nation, Africa Today, The Progressive, Commonweal, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Best American Travel Writing. He has received an NEA Fellowship, the Flannery O’Connor Award, the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, and the Award for Distinguished Prose from The Antioch Review.

Elizabeth McCracken, NWP Director, is the author of two story collections, Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry (Turtle Bay 1993) and Thunderstruck (The Dial Press 2014), winner of The Story Prize; three novels, The Giant’s House (The Dial Press 1996), a finalist for the National Book Award in 1996, Niagara Falls All Over Again (The Dial Press 2001) and Bowlaway (Ecco 2019); and a memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. She has received grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, among other places. Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and The O. Henry Prize Stories, among other places. The Souvenir Museum, a short story collection, will be published in 2021.

Deb Olin Unferth is the author of six books, most recently, the novel Barn 8 (Graywolf 2020) and the story collection Wait Till You See Me Dance (Graywolf 2017). Her fiction and essays have appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, Granta, Vice, the New York Times, and McSweeney’s. She has received a Guggenheim fellowship, three Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Capital Grant, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She runs the Pen City Writers, a series of creative writing workshops, at the John B. Connally Unit, a prison in south Texas.

Visiting Faculty

In addition to our resident faculty, visiting faculty hosted by both the New Writers Project and the Michener Center for Writers add to the range of perspectives and offerings available to our students. Recent New Writers Project visiting faculty include Brian Van Reet (Fall 2019), Kendra Fortmeyer (Spring 2019), Paul Lisicky (Fall 2018), Antonio Ruiz-Camacho (Spring 2018), Karan Mahajan (Spring 2017), Natalie Diaz (Fall 2017), Nina McConigley (Spring 2016), Noelle Kocot (Fall 2016), and Heather Christle (Fall 2015). Previous visitors also include Dobby Gibson, Alexander Chee, Mary Ruefle, and Matt Hart. A list of recent Michener Center visiting faculty can be found here.

New Writers Project students additionally take courses with faculty in the Department of English, who have expertise in a wide range of subjects, periods, and genres, including reading and writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as literary criticism and theory.