Master Lecturers

spring 2014

Sheri Holman is the author of four novels: A Stolen Tongue, The Mammoth Cheese, Witches on the Road Tonight and The Dress Lodger, which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2000. She is also the author of the young adult book Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars. Before publishing her first novel in 1997, she received a degree in theater from The College of William and Mary and worked in the publishing industry. Holman is a founding member of the storytelling collective The Moth. She lives in Brooklyn. 

Marie Howe is a poet whose collections include The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, What the Living Do and The Good Thief, which was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares and Harvard Review. Howe is also the co-editor of the anthology In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. In 2012, she was named the State Poet of New York. Before receiving her MFA from Columbia in 1983, she worked as a newspaper reporter and a high school English teacher. Howe currently teaches writing at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College and New York University. 

Brighde Mullins’ plays have been produced in New York, London, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Among them are Monkey in the Middle; Topographical Eden; Pathological Venus; CLICK; Increase; Meatless Friday; Baby Hades; Where Dante Would Put the Bush; Dear Utopia; Rare Bird; Those Who Can, Do; and Fire Eater. The recipient of numerous playwriting honors — including a Guggenheim Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts — Mullins is also a poet. Her collection Water Stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2003. She currently teaches at the University of Southern California, where she also directs the school’s Master of Professional Writing Program. 

Taylor Plimpton is the author of Notes from the Night: A Life After Dark and the co-editor of The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays. He is currently the literary editor of Manhattan Magazine. His writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, Town & Country, Dan’s Papers,, and elsewhere. He graduated with a degree in English from Reed College and has taught at The Writer’s Foundry. 

Donald Ray Pollock is the author of Knockemstiff, a short story collection, and The Devil All the Time, a novel. Both books were published after Pollock’s long career as a laborer and truck driver for the Mead Paper Mill in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he lives. Knockemstiff was the winner of the 2009 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and The Devil All the Time was named one of Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten Books of the Year in 2012. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, his work has also appeared in a number of literary journals, including Epoch, Sou’wester, Granta, Third Coast, River Styx, The Journal, Boulevard and PEN America.  

Peter Trachtenberg is the author of the 7 Tattoos: A Memoir in the FleshThe Book of Calamities: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning, and Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons. The recipient of a NYFA artist’s fellowship and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship, among other awards, his essays, journalism, and short fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, BOMB, TriQuarterly, O, The New York Times Travel Magazine and A Public Space. Trachtenberg has taught creative writing at numerous colleges and is currently an assistant professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

Fall 2013

David Gates is a journalist and novelist. His first novel Jernigan, about a dysfunctional one-parent family, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1992. He went on to publish the novel Preston Falls and the short story collection The Wonders of the Invisible World. His stories have also appeared in Esquire, Ploughshares, GQ, Grand Street and TriQuarterly. He is a former senior writer in the arts section at Newsweek, where he specialized in articles on books and music. Gates teaches in the graduate writing program at The University of Montana.

Paul Harding is the author of the novel Tinkers, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and the 2010 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, among other awards. His short fiction has appeared in Shakepainter and the Harvard Review. He received an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2000 and was a 2000-2001 Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. He currently teaches writing at Harvard University.

Victor LaValle
is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, which received a PEN Open Book Award and the key to Jamaica, Queens. He has also written the novels The Ecstatic and Big Machine and has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. LaValle was raised in Queens. His essays and book reviews have appeared in GQ, Essence Magazine, The Fader and The Washington Post, among others. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor and the acting fiction director of the university’s School of the Arts. He lives in New York. 

Elizabeth Nunez is the author of eight novels. Boundaries, her most recent novel, was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her novel Anna In-Between, which was also selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, won the 2010 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence. Her other novels include Prospero’s Daughter, Bruised Hibiscus, Discretion, Grace, Beyond the Limbo Silence and When Rocks Dance. Nunez has also written several monographs of literary criticism published in scholarly journals and is co-editor of the anthology, "Blue Latitudes: Carribbean Woman Writers at Home and Abroad." She was also the executive producer for the 2004 Emmy-nominated CUNY TV series Black Writers in America and was awarded the 2011 Barnes and Noble Poets and Writers, Writers for Writers Award. In 2012, Nunez was among twelve writers selected by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the PEN Faulkner Foundation, whose essays will appear in a chapbook celebrating the exhibition in Washington, D.C. on “Shakespeare's Sisters.” Nunez immigrated to the United States from Trinidad after completing high school there. She received her Ph.D. in English from New York University and is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College, the City University of New York.

Danyel Smith is the author of the novels More Like Wrestling and Bliss. She is the former editor of Billboard, former chief content officer of VIBE Media Group, and former editor-in-chief of Vibe and Smith is also a former Time Inc. editor-at-large, and has written for NPR, CNN, MySpace, ElleTimeEssenceThe New YorkerRolling Stone, Condé Nast Media Group, and The New York Times. A 2013-14 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, she often comments on music and culture for NPR, CNN, VH1, and ABC, and is currently working on a history of black women in pop music. 

Justin Torres
 grew up in upstate New York and is the author of the novel We the Animals. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Glimmer Train and other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is a recipient of the Rolón United States Artist Fellowship in Literature, and is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He has worked as a farmhand, a dog-walker, a creative writing teacher and a bookseller.

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8/21: Long Island. For adult-learner undergraduate programs.
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8/23: Brooklyn. Interested in returning to college?
Late Night Admissions Hours
8/28: Brooklyn. For prospective adult undergraduate students.