Patsy Sims

Patsy Sims is the author of The Klan, Cleveland Benjamin's Dead, and Can Somebody Shout Amen!, which was named a Noteworthy Book by The New York Times Book Review. She also co-authored the narration for the Academy Award-nominated documentary "The Klan: A Legacy of Hate." Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Magazine, Texas, Observer and most major American newspapers. Her most recent book is the anthology Literary Nonfiction: Learning by Example. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. 



Core faculty for the MFA program includes the following writers:


Thomas French

Thomas French is the author of Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives. His other books are Unanswered Cries, the chronicle of a murder case, and South of Heaven, which details a year in the life of a Florida high school. He is a former staff writer for the St. Petersburg Times, where he specialized in book length narrative series. He won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Angels & Demons, a seven-part series about the murders of a mother and her two daughters. His work has been excerpted in America's Best Newspaper Writing. He is a writing fellow at the Poynter Institute and teaches reporting and writing there and at newsrooms around the world. He is on the faculty at the Indiana University School of Journalism.




Diana Hume George

Diana Hume George is the author of The Lonely Other: A Woman Watching America and co-editor of The Family Track, an anthology of essaysAn essayist, poet and critic, her other books include A Genesis, Koyaanisqatsi and Blake and Freud. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays and such publications as River Teeth, Creative Nonfiction and MS. She is the former director of the gender studies and creative writing programs at Penn State at Erie. She has been a visiting writer at Davidson College, Antioch/LA, Ohio University, and University of North Carolina/Wilmington. She is a co-director of the Chautauqua Writers' Festival and contributing editor of Chautauqua Journal. Her "Watching My Mother Hallucinate" was named a Notable Essay of 2008 by Best American Essays. Her new book of poetry, Body Parts, will be published by Edinboro Book Arts in 2011.   


Suzannah Lessard

Suzannah Lessard was a staff writer for The New Yorker for 20 years and, before that, an editor at Washington Monthly. She is the author of the memoir The Architect of Desire: Beauty and Danger in the Stanford White Family. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Whiting Award, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, the Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington fellowship at George Washington University, and the Anthony Lukas Award for Works-in-Progress. She has taught creative nonfiction at several universities, including George Mason University, Wesleyan University, and the Columbia School of the Arts. Her current project is a book tentatively titled Mapping the New World: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Place in the Twenty-First Century.




Jacob Levenson

Jacob Levenson is the author of The Secret Epidemic: The Story of AIDS in Black America, a narrative nonfiction book that weaves together the public health, political, Southern, and urban history of how AIDS became a black epidemic in the United States. His writing has appeared in such publications as Mother Jones, Vibe, The Utne Reader, and the Columbia Journalism Review, and has been anthologized in academic journals and books.  Levenson has also worked in radio and documentary film and has been a fellow at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard and the Open Society Institute.  He is currently working on a memoir about the death of his father and birth of his son. He has taught narrative nonfiction at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and worked with Sam Freedman on his book seminar.





Leslie Rubinkowski

Leslie Rubinkowski is the author of Impersonating Elvis. A journalist, feature writer, and film critic, she teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in Harper's, Creative Nonfiction, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She was director of the news-editorial program at West Virginia University's School of Journalism and has lectured at the Poynter Institute and the Chautauqua Institution, among other places. Her essay "In the Woods" was named a Notable Essay in Best American Essays, 2001. 




Richard Todd

Richard Todd has worked as a magazine and book editor for more than 30 years. He was executive editor of Atlantic Monthly and published books under his own imprint at Houghton Mifflin, where his authors included Tracy Kidder, Ward Just, and Ann Patchett. He has taught literature and writing at Amherst and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts. His essays and cultural reportage have appeared in Atlantic, Harper’s, The New York Times, Worth, and numerous other magazines. He is the author of The Thing Itself, published by Penguin USA. On leave for fall.

Laura WexlerLaura Wexler

Laura Wexler is the author of Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America, a narrative account of a 1946 quadruple lynching in Walton County, Georgia. Wexler's work has been published in The Washington Post, Utne Reader, DoubleTake, Oxford American, and elsewhere. She has received scholarships and fellowships to the Breadloaf Writers' Conference, the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Arts Center, and the Harry S. Truman Library. She has taught creative writing at the University of Georgia, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is a senior editor Baltimore's Style magazine and curator of the Stoop Storytelling Series.                                                                                                                                      

Barbara Lazear Ascher is the author of four nonfiction books: Playing After Dark (essays), The Habit of Loving (essays), Landscape Without Gravity (memoir), and most recently, Dancing in the Dark: Romance, Yearning, and the Search for the Sublime. A former New York Times columnist, Elle ethics columnist, and editorial director of Delphinium Books, she has taught at the University of Chicago, the Bennington College MFA Program, the Bennington College Summer Writing Seminars, the Maui Writers' Retreat and Conference, and numerous writing workshops in New York City. She is writing her fifth book. (Fall 2012)



David R. Patterson is an agent with Foundry Literary + Media. His clients include writers on the staff of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Time, scholars at Harvard and Duke, and journalists and academics at many other institutions. Many of his clients are writing their first books, and most of them are writing narrative or idea-driven nonfiction on a wide array of topics and with a wide array of approaches.

Mark Rotella is the author of Stolen Figs and Other Adventures in Calabria and wrote the introduction to the classic Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Salon, Washington Post, Village Voice, Saveur and American Heritage, among others. He is a senior editor at Publishers Weekly.

Mike Sager has worked as a Writer-at-Large for Esquire magazine for a dozen years. In 2010 he won the American Society of Magazine Editors' National Magazine award for profile writing. Before his magazine career, he was a staff writer for The Washington Post. Scary Monsters and Super Freaks, his first collection of articles, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, as was Revenge of the Donut Boys. A third collection, Wounded Warriors, received the Military Writers Society of America Founder's Award and the American Author's Association Golden Quill Award. A former Contributing Editor of Rolling Stone and Writer-at-Large for GQ, Sager has also written for Vibe, Spy, Interview, Playboy, Washingtonian and Regardies. He is also Editor-at-Large for WordsETC, the first black-owned literary magazine of South Africa.  

Joy Tutela has been an agent with the David Black Literary Agency since 1998. She represents a diverse list of books in the categories of memoir, self-help, business, history, politics, science, sports, lifestyle, craft, cooking, children's and commercial fiction. Some of the titles she represents include the New York Times bestseller Staying True by Jenny Sanford, the bestselling series The Intellectual Devotional, Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunée, and Dark Tide by Stephen Puleo.   

Joanne Wyckoff is with the Carol Mann Agency. Before becoming an agent, she was a senior editor at Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, and executive editor at Beacon Press. Among the authors she worked with as an editor are Karen Armstrong, Bruce Barcott, Louise DeSalvo, Sven Birkerts, Jonathan Kirsch, and Anne Lamott. As an agent, she represents a wide array of nonfiction and selected fiction. Her nonfiction list includes memoirs and personal narratives of all kinds, as well as books in psychology, women's issues, education, health and wellness, natural history, religion, and spirituality.

Webster Younce has edited history, journalism, travel, politics, and fiction at such publishing houses as Henry Holt, Houghton Mifflin, Random House, Alfred A. Knopf, and Picador USA.  His authors have included Paul Theroux, Diane McWhorter, Joseph Epstein, Jonathan Chait, James Kynge, Ward Just, and Jonathan Miles. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Oxford, and his journalism and criticism have appeared in Harper's, Time Out New York,, and in the anthology A Galaxy Not So Far Away. After several years as the English-language editor at the German publisher Suhrkamp Verlag, Younce has recently returned to New York. He is a former member of the MFA faculty.

Visiting Faculty

James Conaway is the author of 11 books, including the memoir Memphis Afternoons and the best-selling Napa: The Story of an American Eden and its sequel The Far Side of Eden.  He has written numerous articles and essays that have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, Outside, National Geographic Traveler, and other publications. A former Stegner fellow at Stanford University and a former Alicia Patterson fellow, he has worked as a feature writer for The Washington Post and as Harper's Washington editor. He is a former editor of Preservation magazine. His collection of essays titled Vanishing America: In Pursuit of Our Elustve Landscapes was published by Shoemaker & Hoard.

Pete Earley is the author of nine nonfiction books, including three New York Times bestsellers. His first book, Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring, was made into a five-hour mini-series for CBS television.  His book CRAZY: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.  His most recent book is Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in American After the End of the Cold War, an account of a former KGB officer who spied for Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin before defecting.   

Philip Gerard is the author of three novels and the nonfiction books Secret Soldiers:  The Story of World War II's Heroic Army of Deception; Brilliant Passage; Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life; and Writing a Book That Makes a Difference.  His essays have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies and on NPR's "All Things Considered."  He is chair of the Creative Writing Department at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and is a former member of the MFA faculty.

Wil Haygood is the author of five books, among them three biographies: King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.;  In Black and White: The Life  of Sammy Davis, Jr.; and Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson.  Haygood is a staff writer for The Washington Post.  Among his journalism honors are the National Headliners Award, the Sunday Magazine Editors Award, the Missouri Journalism Award, and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for both feature writing and foreign reporting.  In 1991 Haygood was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. 

Kevin Kerrane is the author of Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting, which was named one of the best 100 sports books of all time by Sports Illustrated. He has co-edited six books, including The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism. He has lectured at the Poynter Institute and is a professor of English at the University of Delaware. His work has appeared in such publications as Sports Illustrated and Salon, the online magazine.  He is a former member of the MFA faculty.

Lisa Knopp is the author of four collections of essays: Field of Vision and Flight Dreams: A Life in the Midwestern Landscape, both from the University of Iowa Press, and The Nature of Home  and Interior Places, both from the University of Nebraska Press.  Knopp is an associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she teaches courses in creative nonfiction. Three Rivers, her current writing project, is a collection of essays about the Mississippi, Platte, and Missouri rivers.  Essays from this collection have been published or are forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, North Dakota Review, and Prairie Schooner. Five of her essays have been named Notable Essays in the Best American Essays series. She is a former member of the MFA faculty.

Michael Capuzzo is the author of two critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers, Close To Shore, a work of science, social history and suspense optioned by David O. Russell, and The Murder Room, short-listed for England's Golden Dagger Award and being developed as a CBS series. Both books were nominated for the National Book Award. A former staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Miami Herald, he is a six-time Pulitzer Prize nominee for his books and newspaper stories, has written for Esquire, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, and was nominated for a National Magazine Award. He and his wife founded and publish Mountain Home, a prize-winning Appalachian literary magazine with 150,000 readers, while he works on his next book.

MFA Advisory Committee

Madison Smartt Bell is the author of the novels The Washington Square Ensemble; Waiting for the End of the World; Straight Cut; The Year of Silence; Ten Indians; Save Me, Joe Louis; and Soldier's Joy, which received the Lillian Smith Award in 1989. He received the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Mildred and Harold Strauss Livings Award in 2008 and is currently on leave from his position as director of the Kratz Center of Creative Writing at Goucher College.

Madeleine Blais is the author of The Heart Is an Instrument: Portraits in Journalism; In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle; and Uphill Walkers: Memoir of a Family. She is professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

Gerald Early is the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and director of the Center for the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis. His books include The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature, and Modern American Culture, which won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

Gareth Esersky is a literary agent with the Carol Mann Agency, where she specializes in representing nonfictionShe has held editorial positions at five publishing houses and the Book-of-the Month Club, and has co-authored three nonfiction books. She serves on the panel of judges for the annual Next Generation Independent Book Awards. She is a Goucher alumna.

Lee Gutkind is the founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction.  His books include the award-winning Many Sleepless Nights: The World of Organ Transplantation; Stuck in Time; Fat Forever:  Essays by the Godfather; and The Art of Creative Nonfiction. Identified by Vanity Fair as "the Godfather behind creative nonfiction" and Harper's Magazine as "the leading figure in the field," he is editor of Best Creative Nonfiction anthology. Gutkind is the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, and a professor at the Hugh Downs School for Human Communication at Arizona State University. His most recent books are Almost Human: Making Robots Think and the memoir Truckin' With Sam.

Walt Harrington was a staff writer for nearly 15 years at The Washington Post and is now a professor in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His books include the memoir The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns, Friendship, and Family and Crossings: A White Man's Journey into Black America. He also edited the anthologies Intimate Journalism  and The Beholder's Eye: A Collection of America's Finest Personal Journalism.

Tracy Kidder won the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction and the National Book Award for The Soul of the New Machine, and National Book Critics' Circle nominations for House, Among Schoolchildren and Strength in What Remains, his most recent book.  He is also the author of Old Friends, Home Town, My Detachment, and Mountains Beyond Mountains. 

Jane Kramer is the European correspondent for The New Yorker and writes the "Letters from Europe" for that magazine. She is author of nine books, including The Politics of Memory, Europeans, Unsettling Europe, The Last Cowboy, and Lone Patriot.She is the first American to win the Prix European de l'Essai, Europe's most prestigious award for nonfiction.

Andrew Miller is a senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf, where he edits books in history, journalism, and general nonfiction.  He previously worked at Vintage/Anchor, Grove/Atlantic and St. Martin's Press and is a member of the American Association of Publishers' International Freedom to Publish Committee. 

Hilda Raz's recent books include Trans and Divine Honors  (poetry), Living on the Margins, and the anthologies  Best of  Prairie Schooner:Essays and Best of  Prairie Schooner: Fiction and Poetry.  What Becomes You, acollection of essays written with Aaron Raz Link, was published by the University of Nebraska Press and by Bison Paperback.  It was a finalist for the Lambda Book Award.  Two books of poems, All Odd and Splendid and What Happens, were published in 2008.  In addition to being the Luschei professor and Editor ofPrairie Schooner, she directs the Prairie Schooner Book Prizes in Short Fiction and Poetry, published through the University of Nebraska Press. She is a final judge for the National Poetry Series.

Norman Sims is a professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he administers an online certificate program and teaches the history of literary journalism, freedom of the press, and writing.  Northwestern University Press published his history, True Stories:  A Century of Literary Journalism, in 2008 and republished the classic work of scholarship, Literary Journalism in the 20th Century, which he edited, in 2008.  He is the editor of The Literary Journalists and of Literary Journalism (with Mark Kramer).

Gay Talese is credited by Tom Wolfe with creating "The New Journalism." His nonfiction books include Unto the Sons, The Kingdom and the Power, Honor Thy Father, The Bridge, New York: A Serendipiter's Journey, and Fame and Obscurity, an anthology of his articles from Esquire magazine.  His most recent book is A Writer's Life.