Creative Writing

Faculty

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 Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the Midwest, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, New England Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer 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

Faculty

Chris Abani teaches Creative Writing (Fiction and Poetry) and Literature. His prose includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985). Among his poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun - Collected Long Poem (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne's Lot (Red Hen, 2003) and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001). He has also written numerous essays, articles, book reviews and critical papers on art, poetry, cities and literature for local and international journals, magazines and newspapers. He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize and a Guggenheim Award. Chris Abani holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and has taught in numerous countries around the world including countries in sub Saharan Africa (Gambia, Nigeria and South Africa), the Middle East (Qatar), Central Asia (Thailand) and Europe (UK).

Author website: chrisabani.com

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's, Story, Playboy, The Southern Review, The New England Review, Five Chapters, The Cincinnati Review, various anthologies, The New York Times, The 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 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’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 Review, Boston 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 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 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 Review, Hotel Amerika, Minnesota 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

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 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

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

Reginald Gibbons has been a Finalist in poetry for the National Book Award for his book Creatures of a Day, and has won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his novel Sweetbitter, the O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library for his poetry and teaching, and other honors and awards.  He is the author of many books of poems, including most recently Last Lake and Slow Trains Overhead: Chicago Poems and Stories.  With the late Charles Segal he translated Euripides' Bakkhai and Sophocles' Antigone. His new collection of short stories, An Orchard in the Street, will be published in fall 2017.  Gibbons was the literary executor of the estate of American fiction writer William Goyen and curated several posthumous editions of his work, and edited a collection of Goyen's autobiographical writings. He was the editor of TriQuarterly magazine from 1981 to 1997 and is professor of English and classics at Northwestern. In 2011 he was named Frances Hooper Chair in the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern. For many years he also taught in the low-residency MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College. He has an AB from Princeton University and an MA and PhD from Stanford University.

Author website: reginaldgibbons.northwestern.edu

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

Susan Harris is the editorial director of Words without Borders, an online magazine of literature in translation. She previously spent seventeen years at Northwestern University Press, where she founded the Hydra imprint in literature in translation and published two authors--Imre Kertész and Herta Müller--who went on to win the Nobel Prize in literature. With Ilya Kaminsky, she is the co-editor of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, forthcoming from Ecco Press. Harris received her BA in English and fiction writing from Northwestern, where she was a member of the first graduating class in the writing major, and her MA in fiction writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on publishing.

Miles Harvey’s work includes The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime, a national and international bestseller that USA Today named 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 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 is the author of the forthcoming story collection Music for Wartime, as well as the novels The Hundred-Year House (a BookPage “Best Book” of 2014 and winner of the Chicago Writers Association Award) and The Borrower (which has appeared in nine translations and was chosen as a Booklist Top Ten Debut). Her short fiction was featured in The Best American Short Stories anthology in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and appears regularly in publications such as Harper’s, Tin House and Ploughshares, and on public radio’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. Makkai is the recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, and in addition to Northwestern University, she teaches at Lake Forest College and StoryStudio Chicago; in the fall of 2015, she will be visiting faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She holds an MA in English Literature from Middlebury College.

Author website: rebeccamakkai.com

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 Ecotone, Glimmer Train, McSweeney's, TriQuarterly, Conjunctions, National 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 comes 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 is the author of The Air Lost in Breathing (Marianne Moore Prize for Poetry; Helicon Nine, 2000), Lampblack & Ash (Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry; Sarabande, 2005), Orange Crush (Sarabande, 2010), Disappearing Address co-written with Philip Jenks (BlazeVOX, 2010), and Wolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014). Additionally, her chapbook Trace (Winner of the 2012 Black Lawrence Chapbook Award) is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2014. She is a recipient of a 2013 NEA fellowship, a Yaddo residency, two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, two Vermont Studio Center Fellowships, the 49th Parallel Poetry Award, the PSA’s Fine Lines Contest, the PSA’s Bright Lights/Big Verse Contest, and others. 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 currently serves on the advisory board for Switchback Books, and is chief faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review.

AUthor website: simonemuench.com

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

Nathanaël is the author of a score of books written in English or in French, and published in the United States, Canada, Québec, and France. These include Sotto l’immagine (2014); Sisyphus, Outdone. Theatres of the Catastrophal (2012); the cycle of notebooks, Carnet de désaccords (2009—a finalist for the Prix Spirale-Éva-le-Grand), Carnet de délibérations (2011), Carnet de somme (2012); and the essay of correspondence, Absence Where As (Claude Cahun and the Unopened Book) (2009), first published in French as L’absence au lieu (Claude Cahun et le livre inouvert) (2007). Her work has been translated into Basque, Greek, Slovene, and Spanish (Mexico), with book-length publications in Bulgarian and Portuguese (Brazil), including Cadernos do meio after the aforementioned notebooks, following their English language iteration, The Middle Notebookes (2015). The recipient of the Prix Alain-Grandbois for …s’arrête? Je (2008), Nathanaël’s extrinsic translations include works by Édouard Glissant, Danielle Collobert, Catherine Mavrikakis, Hervé Guibert, and Hilda Hilst (the latter in collaboration with Rachel Gontijo Araujo). She is a contributing editor to Recours au poème (France) and Aufgabe (U.S.). A Distinguished Visitor at the University of Alberta in 2008, Nathanaël was received in 2011 at l’École Normale Supérieure de Lyon on the occasion of a transdisciplinary symposium dedicated to questions raised by her work. A recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship (2002), and residential bursaries from the British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia (2003) and the Collège international des traducteurs littéraires in Arles (2013), Nathanaël’s translation of The Mausoleum of Lovers by Hervé Guibert has been recognized by fellowships from the PEN American Center and the Centre National du Livre de France. Her translation of Murder by Danielle Collobert was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award in 2014. Nathanaël’s first book of talks on translation, At Alberta (2008),is followed, in 2015, by the subsequent Asclepias: The Milkweeds.

Author website: nightboat.org/author/nathanael

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

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 Voices, Meridian, 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 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 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

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 Yorker, Ploughshares, Michigan 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.