Admissions & Aid
This small, highly personal two-year program confers Master of Fine Arts degrees in fiction, playwriting, and poetry. It offers single-discipline and inter-genre workshops, literature seminars, small-group reading tutorials, and one-on-one tutorials, all of which emphasize relationships between students and eminent faculty. Additionally, students have the opportunity to work on our literary journal, The Brooklyn Review, and give public readings and performances in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The program offers fellowships and prizes. Students may also teach undergraduate courses for the English Department.
Our graduates have had their work published widely and have won competitions sponsored by the Iowa Review, the Colorado Review, the Mississippi Review, and Zoetrope, among many others. They have had books published, received major prizes, founded presses and literary journals, and been included in numerous anthologies, including The Best New Young Poets, Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, O. Henry, and Pushcart. Our playwrights have won Obie Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Pulitzer Prize; started theater companies; and had their plays produced in the United States and abroad.
The program information listed here reflects the approved curriculum for the 2023-2024 academic year per the Brooklyn College Bulletin. Bulletins from past academic years can be found here.
Our small, highly personal two-year program confers a master of fine arts degree in creative writing in fiction, poetry, or playwriting. The program offers single-discipline and inter-genre workshops, literature seminars, small-group reading tutorials, and one-on-one tutorials, which all emphasize relationships between eminent faculty members and students. Additionally, students have the opportunity to work on The Brooklyn Review and give public readings/performances in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The program offers some fellowships as well as prizes and a winter writing residency at the Espy Foundation in Oysterville, Washington. Students may also teach undergraduate courses for the English Department.
Our graduates have had their work published widely and have won competitions sponsored by the Iowa Review, the Colorado Review, the Mississippi Review, and Zoetrope. They have been included in The Best New Young Poets anthology and The Best American Short Stories. Our playwrights have won Obies, started theater companies, and had their plays produced here and abroad.
Fiction and Poetry: Applicants must offer at least 12 credits in advanced courses in English. Thirty pages of original fiction or twenty pages of original poetry must be submitted for evaluation.
Playwriting: Applicants must offer at least 12 credits in advanced courses in English or theater. One original full-length play or two or more original one-act plays must be submitted for evaluation.
Applicants who do not meet course requirements but whose manuscripts show unusual talent are considered for admission. Manuscripts should be submitted directly to the deputy chairperson in the English Department at the time of application. Applications are not considered for spring semester admission.
Foreign applicants for whom English is a second language are required to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 650 on the paper-based test or 280 on the computer-based test or 114 on the internet-based test before being considered for admission.
General matriculation and admission requirements of Graduate Studies are in the chapter “Admission.”
Thirty-six credits are required for the degree: 24 credits in the respective creative writing specialization, plus 12 credits in literature courses.
Students may substitute for no more than two such courses any two 7000-level courses from the departments of Art, History, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Speech, Television, Radio and Emerging Media, or Theater, or the Conservatory of Music, or another department with the approval of the deputy chairperson for graduate studies (these courses may also be taken through e-permits at other CUNY branches, including the Graduate Center, or through individual or small group tutorials). Students may substitute one writing workshop or tutorial outside of their major writing specialization for one literature course.
Permission to register for any of these substitute courses may be required from the graduate deputy chairperson of the appropriate department.
A substantial manuscript must be submitted and filed according to instructions available from the deputy chairperson. Students specializing in fiction or poetry must submit original creative writing, in publishable form, such as a novel or collection of stories or poems. Students specializing in playwriting must submit a full-length play or a number of one-act plays, in producible form, that would constitute a theatrical production. In cooperation with the Theater Department, efforts are made to produce the student’s major work.
Students choose a specialization in one of the following:
Students are urged to take one workshop, one tutorial, and one literature course each semester in order to complete the program in four semesters. A reading knowledge of a foreign language is strongly recommended.
Program Objective 1: Learn to read literature with a focus on the ways in which form serves content.
Program Objective 2: Use close reading effectively to identify literary techniques, styles, and themes.
Program Objective 3: Learn to read and comment constructively and critically on the creative writing of peers in the workshop context.
Program Objective 1: Demonstrate knowledge of literary tropes and techniques (for example: metaphor, simile, metonymy, synecdoche, word play, and sonic effects such as alliteration, assonance, consonance, and rhythm, etc.)
Program Objective 1: Create original examples of creative writing that demonstrate complexity through attention to rhetoric, syntax and tone.
Program Objective 2: Comment and write cogently and persuasively about classmates’ writing in the workshop context.
Program Objective 3: Demonstrate the ability to respond to constructive criticism from instructor and peers by effectively revising writing assignments.
Program Objective 4: Demonstrate the ability to use the currently accepted conventions of standard English mechanics and grammar, with an eye toward how those standards can be stretched in order to achieve innovative modes of expression.
Program Objective 1: Learn how to research and seek out historical and contemporary literary voices relevant to their individual voice.
Program Objective 2: Make use of the opportunities that Brooklyn College and New York City afford by attending readings, plays, literary panel discussions, and submitting to literary magazines.
Written work (including poems/stories/plays, in-class writing exercises, short written reflections on literary techniques used by published writers, workshop responses for peers, revised writing samples, etc.)
Contributions to class discussions and workshops
Attendance at readings, panels, performances or a related research project (such as researching literary magazines/submitting one’s work); documented via written summary of the activity handed into instructor
Submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:
Refer to the instructions at Graduate Admissions.
3149 Boylan Hall
222 West Quad Center
2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210
Mondays–Fridays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
To make an appointment with a graduate admissions counselor, visit:
BC Admissions Appointment Tool
English 7910X to be taken in the first semester. English 7912X to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester; English 7911X once in the second semester; English 7913X to be taken two times in the second year, but not more than once in any semester.
The M.F.A. fiction specialization at Brooklyn College is a two-year course that maintains an enrollment of 30 students. While every member of the ongoing and visiting faculty works according to their methods, we are united in our conviction that newer writers need a balance of encouragement and serious, thoroughly considered feedback.
The curriculum is designed sequentially. Students take a workshop every semester. The specialization typically offers two traditional short fiction workshops and one novel-writing workshop in the fall and three short fiction workshops in the spring. The novel-writing workshop is meant to address the particular needs of students who are writing novels, and who would prefer to receive input on longer sections than a traditional workshop allows.
First-year students take a craft course in the short story in the fall and a reading seminar in the spring. The reading seminars, led by faculty members, discuss classic and contemporary literature from a writer’s point of view. If a traditional literature course is devoted, for instance, to understanding why Faulkner and García Márquez are considered great writers, the reading seminars are more concerned with how writers like Faulkner and García Márquez achieved their effects.
Second-year students take, along with their workshops, a one-on-one revisions/thesis tutorial in the fall and in the spring. The first is devoted to helping students with work that has already been discussed in their workshops, the second to helping them look over what they’ve done during their time at Brooklyn College, toward the completion of their theses. Both represent the specialization’s desire to give each student individual attention outside of the workshops.
We who teach in the fiction-writing specialization do so in part because we want not only to be useful to younger writers but to know them. We care about each student we admit. We are trying, to the best of our abilities, to maintain the M.F.A. program we wish had been available to us.
Over the course of the last decade, our graduates have published more than 50 books, including Helen Phillips’s The Need (Longlisted for the National Book Award); R.O. Kwon’s The Incendaries (National Bestseller and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award for Best First Book and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Best First Book Prize); Garrard Conley’s Boy Erased (New York Times Bestseller; adapted for film starring Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, and Lucas Hedges); Jai Chakrabarti’s A Play for the End of the World (Longlisted for the PEN Faulkner Award, winner of the National Jewish Book Award); Thomas Grattan’s The Recent East (Longlisted for the PEN Hemingway Award) and Robert Jones Jr.’s The Prophets (National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Bestseller).
English 7932X to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester; English 7933X to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester.
The playwriting specialization at Brooklyn College was started over 30 years ago by Jack Gelber, one of America’s most important experimental writers. Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney continued that tradition, while seeking to embrace the widest definition of that concept for a 20 year period. Now, TIna Satter and Anne Washburn are serving as interim leaders of this innovative course of study.
The playwriting specialization is dedicated to the proposition that writing for the theater is not a business of finished thought and dead rules. Rather, we endeavor to pursue kinds of writing that involve an ongoing conversation with theater of the past and (hopefully) the future. To this end, we encourage our M.F.A. playwrights to become students of the theater in every sense: to follow the current scene as well as study the classics from as many traditions as possible; to study the techniques of making theater as well as theory; and lastly, to become as well-read as possible in all the written arts, with special emphasis on what is most contemporary, most challenging, most alive. It is our conviction that each generation must reinvent a theater appropriate to the time; a theater the time deserves; a theater that refuses to settle for the merely tendentious, and the dreary dead hand of the already known.
We are looking for aspiring writers who follow the theater because they love theater and all that pertains to theatricality. Theatricality diversely considered, rotated in four-dimensional space. We are looking for writers unwilling to settle for less. We believe the gathering of diverse people, ideas, and cultures strengthens both our insights into the work we present on stage and our relationships with each other.
If you have questions you would like to ask students in the specialization, feel free to contact the following alumni:
English 7922X to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester; English 7923X to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester.
Since its inception, the Brooklyn College Master of Fine Arts specialization in Poetry has balanced a firm grounding in the history and tradition of the craft with cutting-edge experimental writing. Moderately priced and highly selective, this two-year specialization offers intensive workshops (limited to 10 students), private tutorials, and courses in the history and craft of the genre.
Attracting a diverse student body from all across the country, it has graduated such writers as John Yau, Sapphire, Paul Beatty, David Trinidad, Star Black, Karen Kelley, Tom Devaney, and Anselm Berrigan. Brooklyn’s “experimental tradition” is best exemplified by the late-modernist masters John Ashbery and Allen Ginsberg, both of whom taught in the specialization. Other teachers have included Mark Strand, William Matthews, Ann Lauterbach, Douglas Crase, David Shapiro, C. K. Williams, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, Joan Larkin, and, more recently, Ron Padgett Joshua Clover, Marjorie Welish and LaTasha N. Diggs.
At present, the permanent staff includes Julie Agoos, author of Echo Systems (2015), Property (2008), Calendar Year (1996), and Above the Land (1987), for which she won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award; Ben Lerner, author of The Lichtenberg Figures (winner of the Hayden Carruth Award from Copper Canyon Press, a Lannan Literary Selection, and one of 2004’s best books of poetry, according to Library Journal), Angle of Yaw (Copper Canyon, 2006, and a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award), and Mean Free Path (Copper Canyon, 2010); and Mónica de la Torre, author of Repetition Nineteen (Nightboat, 2020), The Happy End/All Welcome (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017) Public Domain (Roof Books, 2009) and Talk Shows (Switchback Books, 2006).
If you have questions you would like to ask students in the specialization, feel free to contact any of the following, all of whom are currently or recently enrolled:
For comprehensive application information and the link to the online application, visit the Admissions page.
In recent years, we have received approximately 500 applications for 15 spots in fiction, approximately 120 applications for 10 spots in poetry, and approximately 70 applications for five spots in playwriting.
Though it varies year to year, we plan to notify applicants in March and early April. We appreciate your patience.
As per our Admissions page, “Applicants who do not meet course requirements but whose manuscripts show unusual talent are considered for admission.”
Yes, your 30-page fiction manuscript may come in any form you wish (short stories, excerpt(s) from a novel, flash fiction, or any combination of the above, up to 30 pages). We simply recommend that you send in whatever you think is your very strongest work.
You may format your poetry as you see fit. Please do not exceed 20 pages.
Your one–-to two-page personal statement should serve as a way for us to get to know you and come to understand why you want to pursue an M.F.A. at Brooklyn College.
Your two recommendation letters should come from people familiar with your writing, such as professors, mentors, and/or employers.
They should be submitted online (this will be an option when you’re completing the online application). For more information, refer to the Supporting Documents page.
We require transcripts from all colleges and universities that you attended.
Transcripts must arrive in envelopes sealed by the institution’s registrar office. Your college institution should mail transcripts to the Brooklyn College Office of Admissions.
Yes (though please note that students who received degrees from universities in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom are exempt from this requirement). For all other international applicants, see more information about the required international transcript evaluation.
Once you have received a B.A. from a U.S. university, you no longer need to submit your TOEFL scores to apply to the M.F.A. program.
No, you may only apply to one genre per year.
Yes. Once you’ve completed your application, you may check online for status updates.
Because of the large number of qualified applicants, we may not be able to accept very strong candidates, nor can we offer specific feedback on individual applications. Note that the manuscript is by far the most important element of the application. We encourage interested applicants to reapply in the future.
As per the Graduate Admissions Office website, “To reapply, you need to complete and submit a new graduate degree application online. You do not need to resubmit any supporting documents (i.e. transcripts, letters of recommendation) if you applied within the last two years.” The $125 application fee is waived for re-applicants for up to one year. (If you applied for fall 2014 entry, for instance, you may reapply for fall 2015 without paying an additional fee.) You must send a new personal statement and manuscript to the Department of English each time you reapply.
Yes. Information will be available soon.
Yes. Please see the student and alumni lists within each specialization:
In most cases prospective students are permitted to visit classes once they’ve been accepted into the program.
Comprehensive information about our program, including the online application, is available on our website and on the more general Brooklyn College website under “Graduate Programs” and “Admissions.”
Because of the small size of our program, only students matriculated in our M.F.A. program may take our graduate creative writing classes.
The Brooklyn College Office of International Student Services will assist you with immigration issues, financial aid, and housing.
Up-to-date tuition information is available on the Bursar’s website.
Students typically take nine credits (three three-credit classes) each semester, for a total of 36 credits/12 classes over the course of our four-semester program.
Students who wish to teach while they are enrolled in the M.F.A. program, but who don’t have prior composition teaching experience at the college level, are required to take English 7506, Practicum in Teaching College-Level Composition (which counts toward the M.F.A. degree requirements as an elective). The course includes a tutor-internship in an instructor’s classroom. After completing 7506, students may be assigned to teach their own section of a composition course, English 1010 or English 1012, which pays roughly $3,800/semester. Students may teach for up to three years. There are also teaching opportunities at other CUNY schools.
In addition to teaching undergraduate composition, our graduate students can offer their services to the Brooklyn College Learning Center, which employs a full complement of tutors who work with mostly undergraduate students. There are also some awards with money attached that are specific to the M.F.A. program, including the Himan Brown Award, the Ross Feld Award, and the Lainoff Prize, which students can apply for once they’re enrolled. The Office of Financial Aid primarily helps students obtain federal loans. It is recommended that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be submitted online.
All admitted students will automatically be considered for departmental scholarships. (In the past, applicants had to fill out a separate scholarships application in order to be considered for scholarships, but this is no longer required.)
International students on F-1 Student Visas are permitted to work or teach up to twenty hours per week while they are in the program, and eligible to continue doing so, full-time, for one year after graduation, if the work is in the field for which they received the degree.
Health insurance is available via the New York State of Health Insurance Exchange, as per the Affordable Care Act, where you can search for insurance plans.
From the Literary Scene:
Zoya Haroon received the 2020 Ross Feld Award.
Chelsea Baumgarten received the 2020 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.
The 2020 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Taylor Clarke, DJ Kim, and Sally Helm (fiction, first year); David Olesky, Elizabeth Robau, and Jessica Shabin (fiction, second year); Noelle Viñas (playwriting, first year); Michael Shayan (playwriting, second year); Chime Lama and Peter Soucy (poetry, first year); and Alexandra Kamerling and Kennia Lopez (poetry, second year).
Nalea Ko received the 2019 Ross Feld Award.
Jill Winsby-Fein received the 2019 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.
The 2019 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Chelsea Baumgarten, Avi Cummings, and Adrienne Wong (fiction, first year); Drew Pham, Erica Recordon, and Wesley Straton (fiction, second year); Nazareth Hassan (playwriting, first year); Arika Larson (playwriting, second year); Kennia Lopez and Charles Theonia (poetry, first year); and Adam Bangser and Henry Peterson (poetry, second year).
Sameet Dhillon received the 2018 Ross Feld Award.
Jenzo Duque received the 2018 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.
The 2018 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Jivin Misra, Erica Schecter, and Wesley Straton (fiction, first year); Sam Baldassari, Maddie Crum, and Alyssa Northrop (fiction, second year); Eri Borlaug (playwriting, first year); Jerry Lieblich (playwriting, second year); AJ Stoughton and Oscar Vargas (poetry, first year); and Laura Amelio and Marko Gluhaich (poetry, second year).
Alexander Celia received the 2018 Ross Feld Award.
Alexandra Kessler received the 2017 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.
The 2017 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Sandra Hong, Jess Silfa, and Stephen Snyder (fiction, first year); Joyce Li, Anna Marschalk-Burns, and Jon Sands (fiction, second year); Jerry Lieblich (playwriting, first year); Zach Rufa (playwriting, second year); Erika Kielsgard and Amanda Killian (poetry, first year); and Jenny Stella and Mike Smith (poetry, second year).
Alexander Kessler received the 2017 Ross Feld Award.
Jane Pek received the 2017 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.
The 2016 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Isabella Moschen, Kristen Olds, and Kelly Suprenant (fiction, first year); Nate Bethea, Casey Gonzalez, and Eric Boehling Lewis (fiction, second year); Corinne Donly (playwriting, first year); Paul Hufker (playwriting, second year); Rami Karim and Leah Williams (poetry, first year); and Courtney Bush and Stacy Skolnik (poetry, second year).
Jacob Kaplan received the 2015 Ross Feld Award.
Lindsay Whalen received the 2015 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.
The 2015 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Heloise Cormier and Paul Hufker (playwriting); Tom Haviv, Emily Heilker, James Loop, and Sahar Muradi (poetry); and Ben Cake, Molly Dektar, Eve Gleichman, Jacob Kaplan, Ilana Papir, and Jane Pek (fiction).
Courtney Bush received the 2015 Creative Writing Scholarship for Poetry. Mike Mikos received the 2015 Creative Writing Scholarship for Playwriting. Lisa Skapinker Metrikin received the 2015 Creative Writing Scholarship for Fiction.
Marie Avetria received the 2014 Ross Feld Award.
Amanda DeMatto received the 2014 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.
The 2014 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Heloise Cormier and Frances Koncan (playwriting); Georgia Faust, Sahar Muradi, Liz Roberts, and Ryan Schaefer (poetry); and Alice Broussard, Eve Gleichman, Laura Horley, Laura Macomber, Matthue Roth, and Joshua Sperling (fiction).
James Loop received the 2014 Creative Writing Scholarship for Poetry. Mike Mikos received the 2014 Creative Writing Scholarship for Playwriting. Molly Dektar received the 2014 Creative Writing Scholarship for Fiction.
Julie Agoos is professor and coordinator of the Poetry specialization. Agoos, who received her M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, publishes widely in journals and is the author of three collections of poems, Property (Ausable/Copper Canyon, 2008), Calendar Year (Sheep Meadow, 1996), and Above the Land (Yale University Press, 1987), for which she won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Her latest book Echo System was published in 2015.
Anselm Berrigan ’98 M.F.A. is the author of five books of poetry, most recently the book-length poem Notes from Irrelevance (Wave Books, 2011). Other titles include Free Cell (City Lights, 2009), Some Notes on My Programming (Edge, 2006), and Zero Star Hotel (Edge, 2002). Skasers, a book jointly written with poet John Coletti, was be published in 2012 by Flowers & Cream Press. He is the current poetry editor for The Brooklyn Rail and a member of the subpress publishing collective. From 1998 to 2007 he worked for The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in various capacities, including a stint as artistic director from 2003 to 2007. Berrigan is also co-chair of Writing at the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts, Bard College’s interdisciplinary summer M.F.A. program.
Erin Courtney’s play I Will Be Gone, directed by Kip Fagan, premiered at Actors Theater of Louisville, Humana Festival in 2015. Her play A Map of Virtue, produced by 13P and directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, won a special citation OBIE in 2012. She has written two operas with Elizabeth Swados, The Nomad and Kaspar Hauser: Both were commissioned and produced by The Flea Theater. Her play Honey Drop was developed at The Atlantic Theater, the Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons Superlab, and New Georges. Her other plays include Alice the Magnet, Demon Baby, Quiver and Twitch, and Black Cat Lost. She is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, a member of the Obie Award–winning playwright collective 13P, and the co-founder of the Brooklyn Writer’s Space. Courtney teaches playwriting at Brooklyn College, where she earned her M.F.A. with Mac Wellman. She earned B.A. from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. She has been a member of New Dramatists since 2012 and is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow.
A writer, vocalist and performance/sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK (Belladonna, 2013). Diggs has presented and performed at California Institute of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, The Museum of Modern Art, and Walker Art Center and at festivals including: Explore the North Festival, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Hekayeh Festival, Abu Dhabi; International Poetry Festival of Copenhagen; Ocean Space, Venice; Poesiefestival, Berlin; and the 2015 Venice Biennale. As an independent curator, artistic director, and producer, Diggs has presented events for BAMCafé, Black Rock Coalition, El Museo del Barrio, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the David Rubenstein Atrium. Diggs has received a 2020 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, a Whiting Award (2016) and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2015), as well as grants and fellowships from Cave Canem, Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, among others. She lives in Harlem.
Myla Goldberg is the best-selling author of Bee Season, Wickett’s Remedy, and The False Friend. Her short stories have appeared in Harper’s, and she is an occasional contributor to NPR. She teaches at various M.F.A. programs and leads writing workshops in and around New York City.
David Grubbs, associate professor in the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, has released 11 solo albums and appeared on more than 150 commercially released recordings. He is known for his cross-disciplinary collaborations with writers such as Susan Howe and Rick Moody, and with visual artists such as Anthony McCall, Angela Bulloch, Cosima von Bonin, and Stephen Prina. His work has been presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, the Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou. Grubbs was a founding member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and directs the Blue Chopsticks record label. He is currently completing the book Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, The Sixties, and Sound Recording for Duke University Press. Grubbs was a 2005–06 grant recipient from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and has been called one of two “Best Teachers for an Indie-Rocker to Admire” in the Village Voice and “le plus Français des Américains” in Libération. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago.
Joshua Henkin, professor and coordinator of the Fiction specialization, is the author of the novels Swimming Across the Hudson, a Los Angeles Times Notable Book; Matrimony, a New York Times Notable Book; and The World Without You, which was named an Editors’ Choice Book by The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune and was the winner of the 2012 Edward Lewis Wallant Award for Jewish American Fiction and a finalist for the 2012 National Jewish Book Award. His short stories have been published widely, cited for distinction in Best American Short Stories, and broadcast on NPR’s “Selected Shorts.” His reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere.
Lisa Jarnot is the author of four books of poetry and a biography, Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus (University of California Press). Her Joie de Vivre: Selected Poems 1992–2012 was published by City Lights in 2013.
Associate Professor Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry: The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), Angle of Yaw (2006), and Mean Free Path (2010), all published by Copper Canyon Press. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry and the Northern California Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and a Howard Foundation Fellow. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie for the German translation of The Lichtenberg Figures. His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station (Coffee House, 2011) won The Believer Book Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for First Fiction and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. It was named one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and New York Magazine, among many others. His recent criticism can be found in Art in America, boundary 2, and Critical Quarterly, where he also serves as poetry editor.
Fiona Maazel is the author of the novels Last Last Chance. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008) and Woke Up Lonely (Graywolf, 2013). She is a 2008 National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and winner of the Bard Prize for fiction in 2009. Her work has appeared in Anthem, Bomb, Book Forum, Boston Book Review, The Common, Conjunctions, Fence, Glamour, The Millions, Mississippi Review, N+1, The New York Times, The NY Times Sunday Book Review, Salon, Selected Shorts, This American Life, Tin House, The Village Voice, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.
Ernesto Mestre is the author of two novels, The Lazarus Rhumba and The Second Death of Unica Aveyano. His fiction has been collected in various anthologies, including Best American Gay Fiction 1996, A Whistler in the Nightworld: Short Fiction from the Latin Americas, and Cubanisimo!: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature.
Meera Nair’s debut collection, Video, received the Asian-American Literary Award for Fiction in 2003. She has published fiction in The Threepenny Review and Calyx, and in the anthology Charlie Chan Is Dead. She is at work on her first novel, which will be published by Pantheon.
Sigrid Nunez has published six novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, and, most recently, Salvation City. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Among the journals to which she has contributed are The New York Times, Threepenny Review, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, Tin House, The Believer, and Conjunctions. Her honors and awards include four Pushcart Prizes, a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature. She has taught at Amherst College, Smith College, Columbia University, and the New School, and has been a visiting writer or writer in residence at Baruch College, Vassar College, Boston University, and the University of California at Irvine, among others. She has also been on the faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and of several other writers’ conferences across the country.
Jenny Offill’s novel, Last Things, was chosen as a notable or best book of the year by The New York Times, the Village Voice, and the Guardian (U.K.), and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Book Award. She is also the editor, along with Elissa Schappell, of two anthologies, The Friend Who Got Away and Money Changes Everything. She has written one children’s book, 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore, and has two more forthcoming from Random House. She received a NYFA fellowship in fiction in 2008 and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University from 1991 to 1993. Her flash fiction is featured in the anthology Long Story Short (UNC-Press, 2009).
Julie Orringer is the author of a novel, The Invisible Bridge, and an award-winning story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, which was a New York Times notable book and was named Book of the Year by the LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The Yale Review, and The Washington Post, and have been widely anthologized; she has received fellowships from the New York Public Library, Stanford University, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn, where she is working on a new novel.
Helen Phillips is the author of the novel-in-fables And Yet They Were Happy (Leapfrog Press, 2011), which was a semifinalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, a finalist for the McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns First Novel Prize, and declared a notable collection of 2011 by The Story Prize. Her second book, Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green (Random House Children’s Division/Delacorte Press, 2012), is a children’s adventure novel, and has been published internationally as Upside Down in the Jungle (Chicken House UK, 2012; Chicken House Germany, 2013). She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, the Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction, The Iowa Review Nonfiction Award, the DIAGRAM Innovative Fiction Award, the Meridian Editors’ Prize, and a Ucross Foundation residency. Her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts in fall 2012. She has been published in Tin House, BOMB, Mississippi Review, and PEN America, among many others. A graduate of Yale and the Brooklyn College M.F.A. program, she is an assistant professor of creative writing at Brooklyn College. Named one of the Breakout Brooklyn Book People of 2011 by The L Magazine, Helen (born and raised in Colorado) now lives in Brooklyn with her husband, artist Adam Douglas Thompson, and their baby girl.
Madeleine Thien is the author of four books, including Dogs at the Perimeter, and a story collection, Simple Recipes. Her most recent novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and The Folio Prize; and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction. The novel was named a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2016 and longlisted for a Carnegie Medal. Madeleine’s books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and her essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Brick, The Sunday Times, frieze, Granta, and elsewhere. Her first libretto will premiere with Vancouver City Opera in 2021.
Mónica de la Torre’s is the author, most recently, of Repetition Nineteen, a book of poems and prose (Nightboat, 2020). Her other poetry books include The Happy End/All Welcome (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017) Public Domain (Roof Books, 2009) and Talk Shows (Switchback Books, 2006). Two Spanish-language collections of poems, Acúfenos (Taller Ditoria, 2006) and Sociedad Anónima (UNAM/Bonobos, 2010), were published in Mexico. She is a member of the women’s collective whose eponymous book, Taller de Mecanografía, appeared in 2011 from Tumbona Ediciones. She has translated an array of poets from the Spanish including Gerardo Deniz, Lila Zemborain, and Amanda Berenguer. Her latest translation is Defense of the Idol by Chilean modernist Omar Cáceres (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018). Born and raised in Mexico City, she has lived in New York City since the 1990s, where she frequently writes about art and collaborates with other writers and artists. She served as BOMB Magazine’s senior editor from 2007–16, and has taught poetry and translation at Columbia, Brown, and Bard’s M.F.A. programs.
Ellen Tremper, professor and chair of the English Department, received her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Specializing in 19th- and 20th-century British poetry and fiction, she has published many articles on Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and children’s literature, and is the author of “Who Lived at Alfoxton?”: Virginia Woolf and English Romanticism (Bucknell University Press) and I’m No Angel: The Blonde in Film and Fiction, which was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2006.
Mac Wellman, professor and coordinator of the Playwriting specialization, received his M.A. from the University of Wisconsin. His recent work includes The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (Montclair, 2006) and 1965 UU (Chocolate Factory, 2008). His most recent collection of plays is The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (University of Minnesota Press, 2008). Four other collections of his plays have been published: The Bad Infinity and Cellophane (PAJ/Johns Hopkins University Press), and Two Plays and The Land Beyond the Forest (Sun & Moon). He has written a volume of stories, A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds (Trip Street Press, 2008), as well as three novels: Q’s Q (Green Integer, 2006), Annie Salem (Sun & Moon 1996), and The Fortuneteller (Sun & Moon, 1991). His recent books of poetry are Miniature (Roof Books, 2002), Strange Elegies (Roof Books, 2006), and A Shelf in Woop’s Clothing (Sun & Moon, 1990). In 1997 he received the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. In 2003 he received his third Obie, for lifetime Achievement (Antigone, Jennie Richee and Bitter Bierce all cited). In 1990 he received an Obie (Best New American Play) for Bad Penny, Terminal Hip and Crowbar. In 1991 he received another Obie for Sincerity Forever. He has received numerous honors, including both NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships. In 2004 he received an award from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. He is the Donald I. Fine Professor of Playwriting at Brooklyn College. Currently, he is working on two plays for chorus: The Invention of Tragedy (Classic Stage Company) and Nine Days Falling (Stuck Pigs Company, Melbourne, Australia).
Brooklyn College is an integral part of the cultural and artistic energy of New York City. Our faculty members in English offer incomparable expertise and tremendous talent, and each bring a unique perspective to their teaching and mentoring in and out of the classroom.
Eric Alterman is a CUNY Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism. He was the “The ...
Matthew Burgess began teaching at Brooklyn College in 1999 while pursuing his M.F.A. in Poetry. H...
Joseph Entin teaches in the English Department and the American Studies program at Brooklyn Colle...
The Whim (blog) Current Projects: Appalling Melodrama, ...
Roni Natov has lived her entire life (almost) at Brooklyn College, where she was a student and ha...
Jon Nissenbaum earned his Ph.D. under the supervision of Noam Chomsky and David Pesetsky. Before ...
Helen Phillips is the author of six books, including the novel THE NEED (Simon & Schuster, 2...
Tanya Pollard trained in Classics, English, and Comparative literature, at Oxford and Yale. She t...
For Karl Steel’s CV, see
Dorell Thomas earned master’s degrees in both English Adolescent Literature, Grade 7-12 and...
Native New Yorker Ellen Tremper has taught at New York University and joined the Brooklyn College...
Brooklyn College creative writing alumni have found employment with many organizations, including:
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