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Poet Gregory Pardlo joins the MFA Faculty

We are delighted to welcome poet Gregory Pardlo to our MFA faculty beginning in Fall, 2016.  Greg won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his second collection, Digest. Digest​ was also shortlisted for the​ 2015 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His other honors​ include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. Pardlo’s poems appear in​ The Nation, Ploughshares, ​Tin House, T​he Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere.

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Fiction writer Robin Black also joins faculty

Robin BlackWe are also delighted to be welcoming Robin Black.  Her story collection, If I loved you, I would tell you this,  was a Finalist for the Frank O’Connor Story Prize and the winner of the 2010 Philadelphia Athenaeum Fiction Award. Her novel Life Drawing, was long listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the Folio Prize, and The IMPACT Dublin Literary Award.  Her newest collection is a craft book, Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide.  Her work has been published in such publications as The New York Times Book Review, One Story, O. Magazine, and Conde Nast Traveler.  She last taught at Bryn Mawr College where she was the Distinguished Visiting Writer.


Schedule for 31st annual Summer Writers’ Conference posted

The 31st annual Summer Writers’ Conference schedule is now posted.  Visiting writers include poets Tom Sleigh and Phillis Levin, nonfiction writers Robin Hemley and Ada Calhoun, fiction writers Chinelo Okparanta and Diane McKinney-Whetstone, and many others.  Visit to see the schedule for more details.


Story Quarterly book covers

StoryQuarterly 49, just published, features new work by Jenny Boully, Stephen Dixon, Garth Greenwell, Emily Raboteau, and 23 other writers. The new issue was edited by assistant professor Paul Lisicky, along with MFA students Stephanie Manuzak, managing editor, and Kevin Dorn, assistant editor. 18 additional MFA students served as readers.

Winners of the 2015 SQ Fiction Contest:

First place: Nafissa Thompson-Spires ($1000) of Champaign, Illinois, for “Heads of the Colored People: Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology”
First runner-up: Amanda Leduc of Hamilton, Ontario for “Wild Life”
Second runner-up: J. Bowers of Ballwin, Missouri, for “Based on a True Story”


Mat Johnson, author of the novels Loving Day, Pym, Drop, and Hunting in Harlem, the nonfiction novella The Great Negro Plot, and the comic books Incognegro and Dark Rain.

Winners of the 2016 SQ Nonfiction Contest:

First place: Emilia Phillips ($1000) of Washington, New Jersey, for “Excisions”
First runner-up: Rachel Yoder of Iowa City, Iowa, for “There is No House”
Second runner-up: Drew Krepp of Baltimore, Maryland, for “Lost in Sight of Land”


Leslie Jamison, author of the essay collection The Empathy Exams and the novel The Gin Closet.

Visit us at the AWP Conference in Los Angeles!


Travel Opportunities for MFA Students

prague and budapestTim LyncDuring spring break 2015, MFA students traveled to Granada & Madrid with poet Patrick Rosal. Other course trips have included travel to Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Prague, & London. Two MFA students, Julie Chintz & Tim Lynch, spent two weeks in Singapore & Thailand this summer as part of a new Asia Exchange Program.

Here (right) is Tim Lynch after bathing Jokia in the river at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.


MFA Student Shelby Vittek Wins Food Writing Awards

Shelby Vittek’s “In a Pinch” and “Here Comes the Sunchoke” awarded 1st and 2nd place for Best Student Writing on Food from the Association of Food Journalists. Both pieces were published in Table Matters.


Rutgers Alum Susan Muaddi Darraj Awarded Grace Paley Prize

Susan Muaddi Darraj’s new book, A Curious Land: Stories from Home, named winner of AWP’s Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction.

Emud Mokhberi to Teach Screenwriting Course

emudEmud Mokhberi is an Academy Award nominated writer and director. He has developed and sold an original feature length concept to Dreamworks Animation and written screenplays and directed visual development for La Petite Reine in Paris, France. He has worked as a technical director and character animator for Digital Domain and Sony Pictures, and presented the making of his award-winning short at festivals, studios and conferences around the world. He will teach a screenwriting course Spring 2015.

Rutgers Alum Chinelo Okparanta Wins Lambda Literary Award

Chinelo Okparanta’s story collection, Happiness, Like Water, named Lesbian Fiction winner for the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards.  

MFA Program Named LGBTQ Friendly

lgbtq flagWe believe that visibility is the first step to creating a welcoming, friendly environment for LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, and the content of a writer’s work at any institution of higher education. This list of programs are LGBTQ-friendly because they feature LGBTQ faculty and/or encourage students to engage with queer or gender/sexuality studies. Read more…

MFA Students Launch Literary Journal  

Greg Sullivan, current editor of Cooper Street and a fiction writer slated to graduate in January 2015, led the charge in Cooper Street’s founding, and quickly found support among his fellow students. Though Cooper Street was a new endeavor, Sullivan and his colleagues… read more

Poet & MFA Faculty Patrick Rosal Publishes Some Call It Ballin’

Some Call It Ballin’  is an online magazine that publishes essays on sports. The publication was founded by former athletes and current fanatics. All of us are published writers who value personal memory, public conversation, and the lyric imagination. Read more…

Rutgers Alum Brian Heston Wins Poetry Award

Brian Heston’s collection of poetry, If You Find Yourself, named winner of Main Street Rag’s Annual Poetry Book Award for 2014. 

MFA Student Draws Inspiration from Proud Chamorro Heritage

Photo of J CamachoAs Jacob Camacho recalls, it all started when he got “Goosebumps” – that is, the popular children’s horror fiction novels – when he was 7 years old. Growing up in his native Guam, Camacho voraciously read everyGoosebumps book he could find, requiring his mother to keep buying more, along with new shelves to amass his growing collection. Read more…


StoryQuarterly Continues Longstanding Tradition

For more than 30 years, StoryQuarterly has served as a staple in the literary community, publishing the works of both established and emerging writers. Since 2009, the esteemed journal has been produced under the auspices of Rutgers University–Camden’s master of fine arts program in creative writing. After a one year hiatus, StoryQuarterly is now being recast with new features and a re-envisioned focus of its content. Read more…

Karen Russell, Distinguished Guest Teacher, Meets with MFA Students

Group photo with Karen Russell

Karen Russell is the Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of Swamplandia, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.  She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the New York Public Library Young Lion’s Fiction Award, and the Bard Fiction Prize, among other honors. Karen shared her experiences and insights with our MFA students on issues of reading, composition, and revision of fiction as well as the writing life. The gatherings were enlightened, inspired and lively.


MFA Director Lauren Grodstein Publishes New Novel

The Explanation for Everything, the newest novel from Lauren Grodstein, Graduate Director of the Creative Writing program and Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, explores the debate between Darwinism and intelligent design through the lens of a college professor and the student he is advising on a research project. Read more at NewsNow and Religion Dispatches

Distinguished Guest Teacher Karen Russell Awarded “Genius Grant”


For the second time in two years, a Rutgers–Camden educator has been named a MacArthur Fellow. Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Karen Russell has earned the prestigious award, known popularly as the “genius grant.” Russell is the author of SwamplandiaSt. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Vampires in the Lemon Grove. She will be joining our faculty as a Distinguished Guest Teacher for the Fall 2013 semester. One of The New Yorker’s Twenty Under Forty, Russell has been nominated for the Orange Prize and named as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.  She will be discussing some of her favorite works of fiction with our MFA students in a series of wide-ranging literary discussions. Learn more about Russell and the MacArthur fellowship

MFA Faculty Paul Lisicky’s Unbuilt Projects  Selected as Award Finalist

Paul Lisicky’sUnbuilt Projects named Gay Fiction finalist for the 25th Annual Lambda Literary Awards. A prose collection that collects thoughts and undoes them in equal measure. It sidesteps the arc of linear narrative in favor of the reality of how we live, which is in bursts that fuse imagination and reality: a mother loses track of her offspring, a man becomes his beloved dog… Read more…

Graphic Designers & MFA Students Create Digital Literature

A new Rutgers-Camden program that merges disciplines for an innovative academic collaboration has MFA students working with undergraduate graphic designers to publish e-books and other digital projects. Read more…

Lisa Zeidner, MFA Faculty, Publishes New Novel

Love bomb book cover

“If Jane Austen had lived to witness 9-11, Lisa Zeidners’ witty and terrifying comedy of romantic manners is what she would have written. It’s brilliant, funny, and scary.” Rafael Yglesias Read more reviews in the New York Times and the Washington Post.





Isaac Blum, MFA Alum, Named Emerging Writer in Residence 

Isaac Blum, whose stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Baltimore Review, theOklahoma Review, and elsewhere, named Emerging Writer in Residence at Penn State.

English Director Tyler Hoffman Publishes New Book

In American Poetry in Performance Hoffman argues that a poetics of ‘liveness’ has shaped much politically progressive and experimental American poetry from the nineteenth century (Whitman) through the twentieth century (Vachel Lindsay, Harlem Renaissance, Beats, Black Arts and Slam performance poets). A ‘public poetics of voice’ serves as a… Read more…

Micheal Deagler, MFA Student, Awarded Glimmer Train Award

Future fishtown drawingMicheal Deagler’s short story, “Etymology,” has been selected as the winner ofGlimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers.

MFA Faculty J.T. Barbarese Publishes Sweet Spot

Rough and compassionate, devoted to blue-collar scenes and demotic speech, to “oafish fact” and “ugly accuracy,” Barbarese nonetheless finds beauty. The confident fourth collection from the New Jersey poet and translator… Read more….

MFA Students in Camden Classrooms

A new course called “Teaching Creative Writing to Urban Youth” allows MFA students to get credit for going into elementary and high school classes in Camden. The class is part of Rutgers-Camden’s outreach efforts, and will feature guest speakers who are experts in creative writing for youth. The students will also organize a teen creative writing festival featuring workshops, contests, and performance opportunities.