Creative Writing Faculty

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Carol Ann Davis headshot

Carol Ann Davis

Professor of English,

Director, Fairfield's MFA in
Creative Writing


Get to Know Carol Ann

Carol Ann Davis is the author of Psalm and Atlas Hour, both from Tupelo Press. The recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and the W. K. Rose Fellowship for the Creative Arts from Vassar College, her work has appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, Volt, The Threepenny Review, and on the ArtBeat website for PBS' Newshour. Her essay, "The One I Get and Other Artifacts," originally published in The Georgia Review, was one of five finalists for the 2015 National Magazine Award in the Essays and Criticism Category. Carol Ann Davis served as editor of Crazyhorse from 2001-2012. She is Associate Professor of English at Fairfield University and Editor of Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose.


Sharbari Ahmed headshot

Sharbari Ahmed

Get to Know Sharbari

Sharbari Ahmed's, short fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Asian Pacific American Journal, Catamaran, Caravan Magazine, Inroads, Wasafiri, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Roanoke Review. Her debut novel, Dust Under Our Feet, is forthcoming in 2019. She is a 2018 Storyknife Fellow and a Tribeca All Access Fellow. In 2018, she gave a TEDx talk about grappling with her Muslim identity, entitled, "Between the Kabaah Sharif and a Hard Place." She was on the writing team for Season One of the TV Series, "Quantico" on ABC, and most recently wrote the screen adaptation of Mitali Perkin’s YA novel Rickshaw Girl. Her debut book, The Ocean of Mrs. Nagai: Stories, was released in November 2013. Her play, Raisins Not Virgins, was produced by the Workshop Theater Company and has been performed worldwide. It will be staged once again as part of New York Theater Workshop’s Next Door 2020 season.

Rachel Basch headshot

Rachel Basch

Get to Know Rachel

Rachel Basch is the author of four novels: The Listener, The Passion of Reverend Nash, named one of the five best novels of 2003 by The Christian Science MonitorDegrees of Love, translated into Dutch and German and was a selection of the Hartford Courant’s Book Club and she won The William Van Wert Prize in fiction for the first chapter of her latest novel, The Listener. Basch has reviewed books for The Washington Post Book World, and her nonfiction has appeared inn+1,Parenting, and The Huffington Post. In 2011 Basch received a MacDowell Colony Fellowship,  A dedicated teacher of creative writing for over 20 years, Basch is a contributor to Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises From Today's Best Writers & Teachers. Basch has been a Visiting Writer at Trinity College in Hartford. She currently teaches in Wesleyan University's Graduate Liberal Studies Program and leads a private master class.

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Kathleen Clark

Get to Know Kathleen

Kathleen Clark is an American playwright whose work has been done Off Broadway and produced widely throughout the United States and Canada. Her play Southern Comforts was produced in New York at Primary Stages starring Penny Fuller, following development at the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and its original production at the Coconut Grove Playhouse starring Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter. Her play Secrets of a Soccer Mom was originally produced at The Theater Center in NYC. Her plays In The Mood and What We May Be were produced on the Fitzpatrick Main Stage at the Berkshire Theatre Group, where a reading of her play, Awilda, was also presented. Her play Let's Live A Little and her one-act, The March, a tribute to the 2017 Women's March, were both produced by the Invisible Theatre in Tucson, Arizona. Clark has twice been selected to attend the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, received a New Jersey Council of the Arts Playwriting Fellowship and has been a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Past reading series development includes Williamstown Theatre Festival, NY Stage and Film, Manhattan Theatre Club and L.A. Theatre Center. As a teaching artist, she has served on the faculty of the MFA Stage and Screen low residency program at the NH Institute of Art.

Alan Davis headshot

Alan Davis

Get to Know Alan

Alan Davis, who has published 2 prize-winning collections of stories; Rumors from the Lost World and Alone with the Owl, was born in New Orleans, near the mouth of the Mississippi, into a large Catholic family of Italian, French, and Irish ancestry. He now lives in Minnesota, near the Mississippi's headwaters among Garrison Keillor's Lutherans. Davis has received 2 Fulbright awards (to Indonesia and Slovenia), a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, and a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in Creative Prose. He won the Prize Americana for Fiction 2010 for So Bravely Vegetative, his third collection of stories. Most recently, he edited Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan published in November, 2018.

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Celeste Doaks

Get To Know Celeste

Celeste Doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields, and editor of the poetry anthology Not Without Our Laughter. Her chapbook, American Herstory, was Backbone Press’s first-place winner in 2018. Herstory contains poems about the artwork former First Lady Michelle Obama chose for the White House. Doaks is a Carolina African American Writers’ Collective (CAAWC) member and has received fellowships and residencies from Yaddo, Atlantic Center of the Arts, Community of Writers Squaw Valley, and the Fine Arts Work Center. A professor for over a decade, her poems, reviews, and cultural essays have appeared in multiple US and UK on-line and print publications including Ms. Magazine, The Rumpus, The Millions, Huffington Post, Chicago Quarterly Review, Obsidian: Literature Magazine, The Hopkins Review, Asheville Poetry Review and many others.

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Shelley Evans

Get to Know Shelley

Shelley Evans has written teleplays for ABC, CBS, Showtime, USA Network, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, and Lifetime Television. Her produced scripts have starred, Anne Heche, Sam Shepard, Josh Brolin, James Caan, Jacqueline Bisset, Candice Bergen and Mercedes Ruehl, among others.

She has taught screenwriting and story development at New Hampshire Institute of the Arts Low Residency MFA, Harvard Extension School, Boston University, New York University, and Boston College. She received her BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from New York University, where she was awarded the Graduate Prize in Dramatic Writing. A member of the Writer's Guild of America, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Sonya Huber

Get to Know Sonya

Sonya Huber is an associate professor of creative writing at Fairfield University. She is the author of two books of creative nonfiction, Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir(2010), finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year, and Opa Nobody (2008), shortlisted for the Saroyan Prize. She has also written a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers: Using Your Life for Reflection, Connection, and Inspiration (2011), and an e-book, Two Eyes are Never Enough, available through SheBooks. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Fourth Genre, Crab Orchard Review, Hotel Amerika, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Washington Post Magazine, and other outlets. She received the 2013 Creative Nonfiction Award from Terrain and her work appears in True Stories, Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction.

Matt Gallagher headshot

Matt Gallagher

Get To Know Matt

Matt Gallagher is a U.S. Army veteran and the author of four books, including the novels Daybreak and Youngblood, a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His memoir Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War emerged from the blog he kept during his scout platoon’s deployment to Iraq. Matt’s work has appeared in Esquire, ESPN, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and Wired, among other places. A graduate of Wake Forest and Columbia, he is the recipient of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Fellowship, a Sewanee Writers’ Conference Fellowship, and was selected as the 2022 Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum Writer-in-Residence. He lives with his family in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Eugenia Kim headshot

Eugenia Kim

Get to Know Eugenia

Eugenia Kim's debut novel, The Calligrapher’s Daughter, won the 2009 Borders Original Voices Award, was shortlisted for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was a Best Historical Novel and Critic’s Pick by the Washington Post. She is a Washington DC Council on the Arts and Humanities 2018 Fellowship recipient. Her work has appeared in Asia Literary Review, Potomac Review, Raven Chronicles, in several anthologies, and elsewhere. She is the 2014 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow at Millay Colony for the Arts, 2013 Eli Cantor Fellow at The Corporation of Yaddo, 2011 Stanford Calderwood Fellow at The MacDowell Colony, and a fellow at Hedgebrook, Eastern Frontier Foundation, VCCA, and I-Park Foundation. She received her MFA from Bennington College. Her second novel, The Kinship of Secrets, was published to wide acclaim in November 2018.

Susan Muaddi Darraj headshot

Susan Muaddi Darraj

Get to Know Susan

Susan Muaddi Darraj teaches in the Johns Hopkins University's MA in Writing program and is the author of The Inheritance of Exile, which was named ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year (Short Fiction). Her second book, A Curious Land: Stories from Home, was named winner of the AWP Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction, the Arab American Book Award and, most recently, the American Book Award. She is a two-time recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council.

Dinty W. Moore headshot

Dinty W. Moore

Get to Know Dinty

Dinty W. Moore is author of The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir, the memoir Between Panic & Desire, and many other books. He has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Arts & Letters, The Normal School, and elsewhere. Moore has won many awards for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He edits Brevity, an online journal of flash nonfiction, and lives in Athens, Ohio, where he grows heirloom tomatoes and edible dandelions.

Karen Osborn headshot

Karen Osborn

Get to Know Karen

Karen Osborn is the author of four novels: Patchwork, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Between Earth and Sky, The River Road, and Centerville, which won the Independent Publishers Award in 2013. Her poetry has been published in numerous literary journals, anthologies, and magazines, including The Southern Review, Poet Lore, The Seattle Review, The Wisconsin Review, The Montana Review, Clapboard House, The Hollins Critic, and Kansas Quarterly. She was a finalist for the Dzanc Mid-Career Novel Award in 2012 and the Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University in 2013. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts and teaches creative writing and fiction writing at Mt. Holyoke College.

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Adriana Páramo

Get to Know Adriana

Adriana Páramo is a cultural anthropologist, writer and women’s rights advocate, Páramo is the author of Looking for Esperanza: The Story of a Mother, a Child Lost, and Why They Matter to Us, winner of the 2011 Benu Press Social Justice and Equity Award in Creative Nonfiction. Páramo immersed herself in the world of undocumented women toiling in the Florida fields to explore the story of an immigrant mother who walked the desert from Mexico to the U.S.  Páramo is also the author of a memoir, My Mother’s Funeral, in which she recreates her Colombian mother’s life in order to understand her own.

William B. Patrick headshot

William B. Patrick

Get to Know William

William B. Patricks' works have been published or produced in a number of genres: creative nonfiction, poetry, fiction, screenwriting, and drama. His latest book, The Call of Nursing: Voices from the Front Lines of Health Care, published in May of 2013, presents twenty-three occupational portraits that reveal a profession which often hides in plain sight. Saving Troy, published by SUNY Press in 2009, is a creative nonfiction chronicle of a year spent riding along with professional firefighters and paramedics. From that experience, Patrick also wrote a screenplay, Fire Ground, as well as a radio play, Rescue, which was commissioned by the BBC and aired on BBC 3. An earlier teleplay, Rachel's Dinner, starring Olympia Dukakis and Peter Gerety, was aired nationally on ABC-TV, and his third feature-length screenplay, Brand New Me, was optioned by Force Ten Productions of Los Angeles and used as the basis for the remake of  The Nutty Professor. His memoir in poetry, We Didn't Come Here for This (1999), was published by BOA Editions, as was These Upraised Hands (1995), a book of narrative poems and dramatic monologues, and a novel, Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family, that won the 1990 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for fiction.

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Ana Maria Spagna

Get To Know Ana

Ana Maria Spagna is the author of several award-winning nonfiction books including, most recently, Pushed: Miners, a Merchant, and (Maybe) a Massacre, along with Reclaimers, stories of indigenous women reclaiming sacred land and water, the memoir/history Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter’s Civil Rights Journey, winner of the River Teeth literary nonfiction prize, and three essay collections, Potluck, Now Go Home, and Uplake. She has also written a novel for young people, The Luckiest Scar on Earth, about a 14-year-old snowboarder and her activist father, and her first chapbook of poetry, At Mile Marker Six, appeared in 2021. Ana Maria’s work has been recognized by the Society for Environmental Journalists, the Nautilus Book Awards, and as a four-time finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Her essays have recently appeared in Fourth Genre, Ecotone, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, The Normal School, and Hotel Amerika. She lives in Stehekin, Washington with her wife, Laurie.

Jennifer Vanderbes headshot

Jennifer Vanderbes

Get to Know Jennifer

Jennifer Vanderbes is a novelist, television writer and playwright whose work has been translated into sixteen languages. Her first novel, Easter Island, was named a "best book of 2003" by the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor.  Her second novel, Strangers at the Feast was described by O, The Oprah Magazine as "a thriller that also raises large and haunting questions about the meaning of guilt, innocence, and justice." Her third novel, The Secret of Raven Point, was hailed as "unputdownable" (Vogue) and "gripping" (New York Times), and Library Journal wrote: “the only disappointing thing about this book is that it has to end." Her essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and The Atlantic, and her short fiction has appeared in Granta, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Best New American Voices.

In television, she has been commissioned to write dramatic pilots for the Lifetime and Bravo networks, and she has developed projects with Denver & Delilah Productions and Universal Cable Productions. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowship, a Colgate University Creative Writing Fellowship, and a Truman Capote Fellowship. Jennifer was born and raised in New York City and received her B.A. in English Literature from Yale and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Recent Visiting Writers

Billy Collins

Marlon James headshot

Marlon James

Get to Know Marlon

Marlon James won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for A Brief History of Seven Killings, making him the first Jamaican author to take home the U.K.’s most prestigious literary award. In the work, James combines masterful storytelling with brilliant skill at characterization and an eye for detail to forge a bold novel of dazzling ambition and scope. He explores Jamaican history through the perspectives of multiple narrators and genres: the political thriller, the oral biography, and the classic whodunit confront the untold history of Jamaica in the 1970's, with excursions to the assassination attempt on reggae musician Bob Marley, as well as the country's own clandestine battles during the cold war.

James cites influences as diverse as Greek tragedy, William Faulkner, the LA crime novelist James Ellroy, Shakespeare, Batman and the X-Men. Writing for The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani said of A Brief History of Seven Killings, “It’s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting—a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent.” In addition to the Man Booker Prize, A Brief History of Seven Killings won the American Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  

Marlon James’ first novel, John Crow's Devil, tells the story of a biblical struggle in a remote Jamaican village in the 1950s. Though rejected 70 times before being accepted for publication, John Crow's Devil went on to become a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, as well as a New York Times Editor's Choice. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, is about a slave women's revolt on a Jamaican plantation in the early 19th century. The work won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction, as well as an NAACP Image Award.

James’ short fiction and nonfiction have been anthologized in Bronx NoirThe Book of Men: Eighty Writers on How to Be a Man and elsewhere, and have appeared in EsquireGrantaHarper’sThe Caribbean Review of Books and other publications. His widely read essay, “From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself,” appeared in the New York Times Magazine. In early 2016 his viral video Are you racist? ‘No’ isn’t a good enough answer received millions of hits. His best-selling book, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is the first in the Dark Star Trilogy, a fantasy series set in African legend. Black Leopard, Red Wolf was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in the Fiction category and was named one of the Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2019. It also received the Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and was awarded the 2020 Locus Award for Horror. James hosts a podcast about literature with Jake Morrissey called Marlon and Jake Read Dead People.

Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in Language and Literature, and from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Masters in creative writing. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and teaches English and creative writing at Macalester College. In 2018 Marlon James received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. In April 2019 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2019 in the Pioneers category.

In his presentations, James addresses topics related to writing and the writing process, as well as issues pertaining to the history of the Caribbean, race and gender in the US and UK, and youth subcultures as expressed in literature and music such as hip-hop and reggae.

Mira Nair headshot

Mira Nair

Get to Know Mira

Mira Nair was born and raised in Rourkela, India, and went on to study at Delhi and Harvard University. She began her career as an actress before segueing into documentary filmmaking. Her narrative feature debut, Salaam Bombay! (1988), won the Caméra d’Or and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

A resourceful and determined independent filmmaker who casts unknowns alongside Hollywood stars, Nair went on to direct Mississippi Masala (1991), The Perez Family (1995), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996), Hysterical Blindness (2002), Vanity Fair (2004), The Namesake (2006), Amelia (2009), and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012). Her most recent film, Queen of Katwe (2016), starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, is based on the true story of the Ugandan chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi. Nair’s acclaimed film Monsoon Wedding (2001) was recently brought to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre as a musical, where it completed an extended, sold-out run.

A long time activist, in 1998, Nair used the profits from Salaam Bombay! to create Salaam Baalak Trust, which works with street children in India. In 2005, she established Maisha Film Lab in Kampala, Uganda, a nonprofit training initiative for emerging East African filmmakers. Maisha is currently building a school with architect Raul Pantaleo, winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and his company Studio Tamassociati.

Zadie Smith headshot

Zadie Smith

Get to Know Zadie

Zadie Smith’s acclaimed first novel, White Teeth (2000) won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. White Teeth has been translated into over 20 languages and was adapted for Channel 4 television for broadcast in autumn 2002, and for the stage in November 2018. In 2020, the New York Public Library voted White Teeth one of the “125 most important books of the last 125 years.”

The Autograph Man (2002) won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction. In 2003 and 2013, she was named one of 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ by Granta magazine. Her book On Beauty won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction and her novel NW was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction and was named as one of The New York Times ‘10 Best Books of 2012.’ Her most recent novel is Swing Time (2016). She has published two collections of essays, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (2009) and Feel Free (2018). Her most recent book is a collection of short stories titled Grand Union (2019). Her new book is a collection of six essays titled Intimations (2020).

Zadie Smith writes regularly for The NewYorker and the NewYork Review of Books. In 2017, she was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, she was also the recipient of the 2017 City College of New York’s Langston Hughes Medal. Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University.

Natasha Tretheway

Program Assistant

Linda Miller

Sr. Department Coordinator

DMH 241


Dena Renda

Department Coordinator

DMH 241


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