Master Lecturers

Master Lecturers

SPRING 2016

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program and splits her time between the east coast and Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language.
Natalie Diaz is a current Hodder Fellow at Princeton. She also lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona where she works to revitalize the Mojave language. 

Sophie McManus is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Unfortunates, which was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble 2015 Great Writers Discover Award, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and named a notable book by The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Paste, and Time Out (New York) among others. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Memorious, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Saltonstall Foundation, and the Jentel Foundation. She was born and raised in New York City and teaches writing in Brooklyn, New York.

LB Thompson has won awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, The Southampton Review, Art in America, and Stonecutter among other print and online journals. She also collaborates with visual artist Ellen Wiener, with whom she exhibited a poem sequence at Vanderbilt University in September. She has taught at The New School, NYU, Rutgers, SUNY Purchase, and Suffolk County Community College. Please visit lbthompson.com for more on Thompson’s poems and collaborations.

FALL 2015

Lee Briccetti is a poet and the long-time executive director of Poets House, a national poetry library and literary center, which documents the wealth and diversity of modern poetry and stimulates dialogue about poetry in culture. The author of Day Mark, from Four Way Books, she has received a New York Foundation for the Arts Award for Poetry and has been a poetry fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her articles and essays have appeared widely, including a recent introduction to The Poetic Species, A Conversation with E.O. Wilson and Robert Hass, published by Bellevue Literary Press.

Ethan Shaskan Bumas is a writer (The Price of Tea in China, U Mass), Editor (4:56, Dalkey Archive), and co-translator (of the last three Carlos Fuentes novels, Dalkey Archive). He's had grants from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Fulbright Commission and won awards from the Associated Writers and Writing Programs, Pushcart Press, Southwest Review (fiction), Newman's Own (play writing), and Early American Literature (criticism). He's published fiction, essays, and hybrids in venues that include American LiteratureReview of Contemporary Fiction, Latin American Literary Review, The Daily BeastBoulevard, Gettysburg ReviewEl Espíritu del Valle, Fugue, and Crab Orchard Review. He has taught at Hangzhou University and been visiting writer in residence at Indiana University, Bloomington, and the currently notorious University of Missouri—Columbia. He teaches at New Jersey City University. 

Alexa O'Brien researches and writes about national security. Her work has been published in Vice News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, The Daily Beast, and featured on the BBC, PBS Frontline, On The Media, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK and listed in The Verge 50. 

SPRING 2015

Matthea Harvey is the author of five books of poetry—If the Tabloids are True What Are You?Of Lamb (an illustrated erasure with images by Amy Jean Porter), Modern Life (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book), Sad Little Breathing Machine and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form. She has also published two children’s books, Cecil the Pet Glacier, illustrated by Giselle Potter and The Little General and the Giant Snowflake, illustrated by Elizabeth Zechel. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence and lives in Brooklyn.

Born in London, Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist (2002), Transmission (2004), My Revolutions (2007) and Gods Without Men (2011) as well as a short story collection, Noise (2006) and a novella, Memory Palace (2013). In 2003, Granta named him one of its twenty best young British novelists. His short stories and essays have appeared in diverse publications including The New York TimesNew YorkerGuardianLondon Review of BooksGrantaBook Forum and Frieze. He was a 2008 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library and a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow. He lives in New York City.

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award. She lives in New York City with her husband.

FALL 2014

George Dawes Green is the founder to the not-for-profit storytelling organization The Moth. He is the author of the novels The Caveman's ValentineThe Juror and Ravens.

Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She was raised in bucolic Riverdale, the Bronx. She now lives in Manhattan.

Ayana Mathis received an M.F.A from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is the recipient of the 2011-2012 Michener Copernicus Fellowship and the Iowa Writers' Workshop's Teaching Writing Fellowship. Her novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was named to Oprah's Book Club 2.0 in December 2012. She lives in Brooklyn.

Rahul Mehta’s debut short story collection, Quarantine (Harper Perennial, 2011), won a Lambda Literary Award and the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction. His short stories have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Epoch, The Sun, Noon and New Stories from the South, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, and Marie Claire India. An Out magazine “Out 100” honoree for 2011, Mehta is currently finishing a novel, which is forthcoming from HarperCollins. He teaches creative writing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Flaminia O'Campo has published six books including three works of fiction and two works of nonfiction in Spanish, and a collection of stories in English, Other People’s Phobias in 2013. She has also worked as a screenwriter and journalist.

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, newyorker.com, TheRumpus.net 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 Flesh, The 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: Caribbean 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 vibe.com. Smith is also a former Time Inc. editor-at-large, and has written for NPR, CNN, MySpace, Elle, Time, Essence, The New Yorker, Rolling 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.