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Program Faculty

Co-Director Stephen McCauley

Co-Director Elizabeth Bradfield

Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence Rebecca Morgan Frank

Fannie Hurst Visiting Writer Michelle Hoover

Adjunct Assistant Professor Marc Weinberg

Professor Emerita Olga Broumas

Professor Emerita Mary Baine Campbell

Student Publications

Laurel Moon ― poetry and fiction.

Pseudonym ― poetry, fiction, drawings, photographs.

Where The Children Play ― poetry, stories, art, photography.

The Justice ― weekly newspaper.

The Hoot ― independent weekly newspaper.

Blowfish —satirical publication.

BOMS ― Brandeis Open Mic Series.

Overview

Brandeis is one of a select number of American universities to offer a B.A. in Creative Writing (as distinct from the B.A. in English). Our program, unlike those of many comparable schools, is taught and administered entirely by established authors. The major combines writing workshops, literature courses, and studio art, promoting creative work of high caliber, as well as a grasp of canonical, multicultural, and contemporary literature. It also offers—to highly qualified students—two different honors options.

The English department has a long history of welcoming writers and writing classes.  J.V. Cunningham, a well-known poet and Renaissance scholar, was a founding member of the department in 1949, and Creative Writing workshops have been offered at Brandeis since 1951. Allen Grossman, poet, and scholar, was a shaping force of Creative Writing from 1960 to 1991. Among those who have studied in workshops at Brandeis are Ha Jin; the poets Linda Pastan, Alicia Ostriker, and Mary Leader; playwright and screenwriter Theresa Rebeck; Ross Martin, poet and Senior VP for programming at mtvU; poet, fiction writer and memoirist Shirley Geok-Lin Lim; NY Times bestselling memoirist and journalist Daniel Smith; fiction writer Elisa Albert; poets Amaranth Borsuk, Melissa Buckheit, Joseph Wood, and Nicole Steinberg; and Maria Pinto, Rebecca Mahoney, and Kendra Fortmeyer, several recent graduates whose manuscripts have found representation and are being considered by publishers.

All Brandeis students, whether majors or not, may apply to one of the ten to thirteen workshops offered annually. Many choose to pursue a minor. Workshop size is limited to fourteen, and admission is based on work samples submitted to professors. The Registrar’s schedule of classes webpage provides important application guidelines for each course.

Our structure allows flexible participation by a diverse body of students. We are excited to have had students from fields as varied as neuroscience, Judaic studies, economics, psychology, African and Afro-American studies, fine arts, law, biology, chemistry, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, sociology, and classics as workshop participants, minors, or double majors.

Students also participate informally by attending readings and other public events, by submitting work to campus literary publications, or by seeking out the writers on our faculty for consultation.

Fannie Hurst and Jacob Ziskind Writers in Residence: Every year, two distinguished authors join the Creative Writing faculty as the Fannie Hurst Fiction Writer and the Jacob Ziskind Poet. Over the years we have welcomed an impressive roster of visiting faculty, among them Alice Walker, Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow, Poet Laureate Louise Glück, John Irving, Adrienne Rich, Galway Kinnell, Gloria Naylor, Sharon Olds, Carolyn Forché, Mark Doty, Rafael Campo, Marilyn Hacker, Jay Wright, Henri Cole, and Thylias Moss.

The School of Night reading series brings several outstanding writers to campus annually to read their work and meet with students: J.M. Coetzee, Lorrie Moore, Li Young Lee, Denis Johnson, Amy Bloom, A. J. Verdelle, Russell Banks, Ha Jin, Eleni Sikelianos, Gish Jen, Louise Glück, Grace Paley, Jessica Hagedorn, Anne Waldman, Li Young Lee, Robert Creeley, Junot Diaz, Caleb Crain, Tess Taylor, and Elizabeth McCracken, to name a few.

Majors   have   received   graduate   fellowships   at   Harvard,   Cornell,   Syracuse, Michigan, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington Universities. Mytili Jagannathan was awarded a $50,000 Pew Fellowship in the Arts for her poetry. Some have taught at Tufts, Rhode Island School of Design, Columbia, Emerson, The New School, and Bentley College. Yael Shinar, 2003, and Cynthia Shur, 2004, won a St. Botolph Club Literary award upon graduation. Maria Pinto, 2008, was twice awarded a fellowship by The Writer's Room of Boston.