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Program Faculty

MA in Writing

Program Faculty

Christine Sneed

Christine Sneed

Faculty Director

Christine Sneed is the author of the novels Paris, He Said and Little Known Facts, and the story collections Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry and The Virginity of Famous Men (Bloomsbury USA & Bloomsbury UK). 

Her stories or essays have been included in The Best American Short StoriesO. Henry Prize StoriesNew Stories from the MidwestNew York TimesSan Francisco ChronicleChicago TribuneNew England ReviewThe Southern ReviewPloughsharesGlimmer TrainGreensboro Review, and a number of other periodicals. 

She has received an Illinois Arts Council fellowship, the Associated Writers & Writing Program’s Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, Ploughshares' Zacharis Prize, the Society of Midland Authors Award in Adult Fiction, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and Book of the Year Award from the Chicago Writers' Association. Little Known Facts was a NYT Editor’s Choice, and Paris, He Said was a 2016 Illinois Reads selection. The Virginity of Famous Men was a finalist for the Chicago Review of Books best book of the year, fiction category, and was named one of the best books of 2016 by Booklist.

Author website: christinesneed.com

Amin Ahmad

Amin Ahmad

Amin Ahmad worked as an international architect before turning to fiction. His essays and stories have been published in literary magazines and listed in Best American Essays. As A.X. Ahmad, he is the author of the suspense novels The Caretaker and The Last Taxi Ride, one of NPR’s ‘Best Books of 2015’. He created the ‘Novel Year’ program at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, and is now a 2017-18 Visiting Artist in Residence at Northwestern University. He also teaches at Story Studio in Chicago. He was awarded a 2015-16 Artist’s Fellowship grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Steve Amick

Steve Amick

Steve Amick is the author of the novels Nothing But a Smile and The Lake, the River & the Other Lake-a Washington Post Book of the Year and cited in the Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook in 2006 as one of three debut novels of note. He is a two-time recipient of the Michigan Notable Book Award. His shorter work has appeared in McSweeney'sStoryPlayboyThe Southern ReviewThe New England ReviewFive ChaptersThe Cincinnati Review, various anthologies, The New York TimesThe Washington Post and on National Public Radio. Amick is the winner of the Lawrence Foundation Prize in 2011. He has had plays produced in Chicago and won a Clio for advertising. He is a graduate of the MFA workshop at George Mason University.

Author website: steve-amick.com

Eula Biss

Eula Biss

Eula Biss is the author, most recently, of On Immunity: An Inoculation, which was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review. Her second book, Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 2010. Her first book, The Balloonists, was published by Hanging Loose Press in 2002. Her writing has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, an NEA Literature Fellowship, and a Jaffe Writers' Award. She holds a B.A. in nonfiction writing from Hampshire College and a M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. Her essays have recently appeared in The Believer, Harper's, and The New York Times Magazine.

Author website: eulabiss.net

Scott Blackwood

Scott Blackwood

Scott Blackwood’s novel We Agreed to Meet Just Here won the AWP Prize for the Novel and the Texas Institute of Letters Award for best fiction and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award. Blackwood, an assistant professor of English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, has also published an award-winning collection of stories, In the Shadow of Our House. His fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, the Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row Journal, the Gettysburg ReviewBoston Review, the New York Times Book Review’s “First Chapters,” Southwest Review and Other Voices, among other journals. He is a former Whiting Writers’ Award recipient and Dobie-Paisano Literature Fellow. Blackwood received his MFA at Texas State University.

Author website: scottblackwood.com

Steve Bogira

Steve Bogira

Steve Bogira is currently a freelance journalist. He recently retired after a long career with the Chicago Reader, for whom he wrote features about poverty and racial disparities. His stories have won awards from the Chicago Headline Club, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the Illinois Mental Health Association, and the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; in 2014, he won a Studs Terkel Community Media Award. His book, Courtroom 302, published by Knopf in 2005, won the Society of Midland Authors nonfiction award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book award. He has been an Alicia Patterson Fellow and a Kaiser Media Fellow, and he has an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Albion College. He is a 1976 Medill graduate.

John Bresland

John Bresland is a writer and documentary filmmaker. Several of his essays have aired on public radio, and his video essays can be seen at Ninth Letter and Blackbird online. His print essays have appeared in North American ReviewHotel AmerikaMinnesota Monthly and elsewhere. He was the recipient of the Tamarack Award for Fiction and a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation fellowship in 2006, and he was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Bresland received his MFA from the University of Iowa.

Author website: bresland.com/index.html

Paula Carter

Paula Carter

Paula Carter is the author of the flash essay collection No Relation. Her work has appeared in Kenyon ReviewThe Southern ReviewSalonTriQuarterly, and Prairie Schooner. She is a company member with the storytelling series 2nd Story and holds an MFA from Indiana University.

Eugene Cross

Eugene Cross

Eugene Cross teaches in Northwestern's School of Professional Studies MFA Program. He was the Simon Blattner Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Northwestern University and has taught creative writing at Penn State, The University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and other institutions. He is the author of the short story collection "Fires of Our Choosing," which was long listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and was named the Gold Medal winner in the Short Story category by the Independent Publisher Book Awards. His stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, Story Quarterly, and Callaloo among others. His work was also listed among the 2010 and 2015 Best American Short Stories' 100 Distinguished Stories. He is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and fellowships from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Yaddo Artists' Colony, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. Eugene also writes for TV and was a finalist for the 2016 Disney ABC Writing Program.

Author website: eugenecross.com

Sheila Donohue

Sheila Donohue

Sheila Donohue received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was a Randall Jarrell Fellow and served as poetry editor and production manager for the Greensboro Review. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University, she is a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and several nominations for a Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including the Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, the New England Review, TriQuarterly, and Epoch. She has been a member of the English department faculty at Northwestern since 1998, teaching poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Author website: poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/sheila-donohue

Stuart Dybek

Stuart Dybek

Two new collections of fiction by Stuart Dybek, Ecstatic Cahoots and Paper Lantern, were published simultaneously by FSG in June 2014. His previous books of fiction are Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, and I Sailed with Magellan. He has also published two volumes of poetry, Brass Knuckles and Streets In Their Own Ink. His work is widely anthologized and appears in publications such as The New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic, Tin House, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Dybek is the recipient of many literary awards including the PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize for “distinguished achievement in the short story”, a Lannan Award, the Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Harold Washington Literary Award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and four O’Henry Prizes. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry and in Best American Fiction. In 2007, he was awarded both a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Rea Award for the Short Story. He is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University.

Author website: poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/stuart-dybek

Charles Finch

Charles Finch

Charles Finch is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including the most recent, The Woman in the Water (February 2018). His first work of literary fiction, The Last Enchantments, is also available from St. Martin's Press. Finch received the 2017 Nona Balakian Citation, for excellence in reviewing, from the National Book Critics Circle. His reviews and essays regularly appear in the New York TimesSlate, The Guardian, USA Today, The Chicago TribuneThe Washington Post, and elsewhere.
Goldie Goldbloom

Goldie Goldbloom

Goldie Goldbloom was awarded a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Brown Foundation-Dora Maar Fellowship. Her novel, The Paperbark Shoe, won the AWP Novel Award and several other awards. Goldbloom's collection of short fiction, You Lose These, includes the title story that appeared in the queer anthology, Keep Your Wives Away from Them. Her writing has appeared in The Kenyon Review, NPR, Narrative Magazine, Prairie Schooner and StoryQuarterly, amongst others. She is an internationally recognized speaker, and was invited to lecture at the Assises Internationales du Roman in Lyon, France, in the same year that she was recognized for her excellence in teaching by way of Northwestern University’s Honor Roll. In 2014, she won Hunger Mountain's Non-Fiction Prize. Goldbloom is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program in North Carolina.

Author website: goldiegoldbloom.com

Miles Harvey

Miles Harvey

Miles Harvey’s work includes The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime, a national and international bestseller that USA Todaynamed one of the ten best books of 2000, and Painter in a Savage Land: The Strange Saga of the First European Artist in North America, which received a 2008 Editors’ Choice honor from Booklist, and a best-books citation from The Chicago Tribune. He is the editor of How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence, a collection of oral histories, and the author of a play, also called How Long Will I Cry?, which premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2013. His essays and short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, AGNI, New Ohio Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Fiction Magazine and The Sun, and have received a Distinguished Story citation in Best American Short Stories, 2005, a Special Mention in Pushcart Prize XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses, 2013, and the 2014-2015 Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award from Mid-American Review.

Author website: milesharvey.com

Laurie Lawlor

Laurie Lawlor

Laurie Lawlor is the author of 38 works of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Recipient of the Illinois Reading Council’s Prairie State Award for Excellence in Writing for Children, Lawlor published in June 2017 Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World (Holiday House), middle grade nonfiction profiling remarkable pioneers in a variety of fields—from astronomy to biochemistry. She was awarded the 2012 John Burroughs Riverby Award for Excellence in Nature Writing for her biography of Rachel Carson, which was featured on the ALA Amelia Bloomer Award List. Her distinguished historical fiction for middle grade readers includes Addie Across the Prairie, nominated for six state reading awards. Young adult titles include Dead Reckoning, He Will Go Fearless, and The Two Loves of Will Shakespeare. Trained as a journalist at Northwestern University, she has a M.A.T. from National-Louis University and has taught creative writing at Columbia College of Chicago and workshops throughout the Midwest.

Author website: laurielawlor.com

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novel The Great Believers, longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award and the 2018 Carnegie Medal, as well as The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, and the collection Music for Wartime -- four stories from which appeared in The Best American Short Stories. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, Rebecca has taught at the Tin House Writers' Conference and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is on the MFA faculties of Sierra Nevada College and Northwestern University. She is Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago. 

Author website: rebeccamakkai.com

Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez is a fiction writer. He was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and has since lived in Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada. His work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including EcotoneGlimmer TrainMcSweeney'sTriQuarterlyConjunctionsNational Public Radio's Selected Shorts, Norton's Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and The Perpetual Engine of Hope: Stories Inspired by Iconic Vegas Photographs. His collection of stories, Best Worst American came out from Small Beer Press in February 2017. He holds a PhD from the University of Nevada and is currently at work on a novel. 

Simone Muench

Simone Muench

Simone Muench is the author of six books, including Orange Crush (Sarabande, 2010) and Wolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014). Her most recent, Suture, consists of sonnets written with Dean Rader (Black Lawrence Press, 2017). Currently, she is editing They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (BLP, 2018). In 2014, she was honored with the Meier Foundation for the Arts Achievement Award, as well as being a recipient of fellowships from the NEA, VSC, Artsmith, Illinois Arts Council, and Yaddo. She received her Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and now directs the writing program at Lewis University where she teaches creative writing and film studies. She serves as advisor for Jet Fuel Reviewand as a poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly.

Author website: simonemuench.com

Naeem Murr

Naeem Murr

Naeem Murr's first novel, The Boy, was a New York Times Notable Book. Another novel, The Genius of the Sea, was published in 2003. His latest, The Perfect Man, was awarded The Commonwealth Writers¼ Prize for the Best Book of Europe and South Asia, and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. His work has been translated into eight languages. He has received many awards for his writing, most recently a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Pen Beyond Margins Award. He has been a writer-in-residence at the University of Missouri, Western Michigan, and Northwestern University, among others.

Author website: naeemmurr.com

Ed Roberson

Ed Roberson

Ed Roberson is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; Just In: Word of Navigational Change: New and Selected Work; Atmosphere Conditions, a National Poetry Series winner; and his most recent, City Eclogue. Roberson received the 2008 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He has also received a Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Writer's Award.

Author website: edroberson.net

Donna Seaman

Donna Seaman

Donna Seaman is the Editor for Adult Books at Booklist; a member of the Content Leadership Team and National Advisory Council for the American Writers Museum, and a recipient of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism and the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. Seaman has written for the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications, and contributed biocritical essays to the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature and American Writers. Seaman has been a writer-in-residence for Columbia College Chicago and has taught at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. She created the anthology In Our Nature: Stories of Wildness; her author interviews are collected in Writers on the Air: Conversations about Books, and she is the author of Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists.
Shauna Seliy

Shauna Seliy

Shauna Seliy, artist in residence in Northwestern’s English department, is the author of the novel When We Get There, published in the UK under the title The Trials and Tribulations of Lucas Lessar. Her work has appeared in Other VoicesMeridian, the New Orleans Review and the Alaska Quarterly Review. Seliy has received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and the Mary Roberts Rinehart National Award for emerging writers. Her MFA is from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Peggy Shinner

Peggy Shinner

Peggy Shinner is the author of the forthcoming book You Feel So Mortal/Essays on the Body (University of Chicago Press, March 2014). Her essays and stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Colorado Review, Daedalus, The Gettysburg Review, Fourth Genre, TriQuarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, Western Humanities Review, Other Voices, Another Chicago Magazine and others. She has been awarded two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, several Pushcart Prize Special Mentions and residencies at the Ucross and Ragdale Foundations. Shinner's MFA is from Warren Wilson College.

Author website: peggyshinner.com

Megan Stielstra

Megan Stielstra

Megan Stielstra is the author of three books: The Wrong Way To Save Your Life (forthcoming August 2017 from Harper Perennial), Once I Was Cool(Curbside Splendor 2014) and Everyone Remain Calm (ECW/Joyland 2011). Her work has appeared in the Best American Essays, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Guernica, Buzzfeed, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she tells stories for theaters, festivals, and bars (many, many bars) including National Public Radio, Radio National Australia, Cabinet of Wonders, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Goodman, the Neo-Futurarium, and regularly with The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. She teaches creative nonfiction and performance in Chicago.

Author website:meganstielstra.com

Rachel Jamison Webster

Rachel Jamison Webster

Rachel Jamison Webster directs the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Northwestern. She is the author of the book of poetry, September (2013); and the cross-genre books, The Endless Unbegun (2015) and the forthcoming In the Land of the Water Protectors. Her poems and essays have been published in journals including, PoetryThe Paris Review, Tin House and Narrative. Rachel's memoir about losing her partner to ALS, Double Vision, is being represented by the DiFiorini Agency in New York.

S. L. Wisenberg

S. L. Wisenberg

S. L. Wisenberg is the author of the nonfiction book The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, as well as the essay collection, Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions and the short story collection The Sweetheart Is In. She has received a Pushcart Prize and awards and fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She was a feature writer at the Miami Herald and has taught at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in dozens of anthologies as well as magazines such as the New YorkerPloughsharesMichigan Quarterly Review, and Creative Nonfiction. She is the creative nonfiction editor of ACM/Another Chicago Magazine. Wisenberg holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Mary Wisniewski

Mary Wisniewski

Mary Wisniewski is a reporter and columnist at the Chicago Tribune. She also teaches creative journal writing at the Newberry Library. Her book about Chicago writer Nelson Algren, "Algren: A Life," was the winner of the 2017 Society of Midland Authors' award for best biography and the Chicago Writers Association award for best non-fiction. The book has won praise from multiple publications, including The New York Times and Chicago Magazine, which called it "a captivating book that reads like a novel." Wisniewski also has won numerous reporting awards, and appears frequently on local television and radio.
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