Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Faculty
Past Featured Writers
Featured Writers are literary illuminaries who we are pleased and proud to present as iconic writers representing the kind of work our program strives to foster.
Richard Blanco was born in Madrid, Spain and immigrated to the Unites States soon after with his exiled Cuban family. He is the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet in US history—the youngest, first Latino, and gay person to serve in such a role. The negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize collections of poetry, including: Looking for the Gulf Motel, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, and City of a Hundred Fires; and his two memoirs: The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey. The University of Pittsburgh Press has published the commemorative chapbooks One Today, Boston Strong, and Matters of the Sea, the last of which Blanco read at the historic reopening of the US Embassy in Havana. In 2015, the inaugural poem One Today was released as a children’s book. His numerous awards include the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, the Patterson Prize, two Maine Literary Award for Poetry, a Lambda Literary Award and the Thom Gunn Award. He is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received numerous honorary doctorates. In 2015, The Academy of American Poets named him its first-ever Education Ambassador. In its second year, Mr. Blanco will open the Reinhardt University M.F.A. summer residency with a reading of his poetry on July 6th, 2017. The event is open to the public, as well as his lecture on Poetry and the Presidential Inauguration the following day at 10:30 a.m.
Adrian Blevins is the author of Live from the Homesick Jamboree (Wesleyan University Press, 2009), The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003), and two chapbooks, The Man Who Went out for Cigarettes (Bright Hill Press, 1996) and Bloodline (Hollyridge Press, 2012). She is the recipient of many awards and honors including a Kate Tufts Discovery Award for The Brass Girl Brouhaha, a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, a Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award, and, more recently, a Pushcart Prize, a Cohen Award from Ploughshares and a Zone 3 Poetry Award. A collection of essays she edited with Karen Salyer McElmurray—Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia—is forthcoming from Ohio University Press in 2015. New poems are forthcoming or have been recently published in American Poetry Review, North American Review, Florida Review, and Zocolo Public Square.Blevins's work is also being included in Best Creative Nonfiction of the South, forthcoming from Texas Review Press in 2015.
Georgia Poet Laureate David Bottoms' first book, Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump, was chosen by Robert Penn Warren as winner of the 1979 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. His poems have appeared widely in magazines such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's, Poetry, and The Paris Review, as well as in sixty anthologies and textbooks. He is the author of seven other books of poetry, two novels, and a book of essays and interviews. His most recent book of poems, We Almost Disappear, was released in the fall of 2011.
is a war correspondent, historian, and thriller writer, an authority on terrorism, and a memoirist. He is the Paris-based foreign editor of The Daily Beast, and is a contributor to NBC/MSNBC News. Chris also has been a frequent commentator on CNN, the BBC, and NPR. He was formerly a bureau chief for Newsweek in Paris and Cairo, and for The Washington Post in Central America and the Middle East.
Chris's most recent work of non-fiction is "Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South," published in 2015. It was a New York Times best-seller, and was published in paperback in July 2016. Pulitzer prize-winning historian James M. McPherson described it as "an engrossing account of diplomatic derring-do," and Kirkus, in a starred review, called it, flatly, "a great book." The many, many editorial reviews and the enthusiastic reports by Amazon readers speak for themselves.
At a time when Americans are searching for a deeper understanding of their history as it affects today's burning questions of race and politics, "Our Man in Charleston" offers startling insights into the grim narrative of slavery, the matter of states' rights, and the foundations of racism in the United States as viewed by an outsider in the heart of the Southern "slavocracy." A compelling true story, deeply researched and thoroughly documented, it tells of one young British diplomat's ultimately successful effort to prevent the Crown from supporting the Confederacy. Had British military might backed the secessionists, especially in the early days of the conflict, that would have been checkmate, game over for the Union. But that did not happen, and this narrative, much of it based on "private and confidential" correspondence never before published, shows why.
Glowing editorial notices have come from several authoritative Civil War historians: Amanda Foreman ("A World on Fire"), Harold Holzer ("Lincoln and the Power of the Press") and Howard Jones ("Blue and Grey Diplomacy") have all praised the book. Great modern writers — Joan Didion, Pat Conroy and Geraldine Brooks, among them — found "Our Man" a compelling narrative. (Didion said, memorably, it is "a perfect book about an imperfect spy.") Well-known ex-CIA operative Robert Baer called it "the best espionage book I've read."
Chris's earlier works include "Securing the City: Inside America's Best Counterterror Force—The NYPD," chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the notable books of 2009. His novel "The Sleeper" was acclaimed by the Times as "a first-rate thriller." His "Summer of Deliverance," another "notable book of the year," was described beautifully by Elizabeth Hardwick as "a heartbreaking, eloquent memoir by the son of the heartbreaking, eloquent poet, James Dickey."
"Innocent Blood," Chris's first novel, predicted in 1997 the waves of terror that would come at the United States, and got inside the heads of those who would bring them. "Expats," is a book of essays about traveling among the people of the Middle East—particularly the displaced and misplaced Westerners who lived there in times of war. And Chris's first book, "With The Contras," in 1986, was not only an up-close account of combat in Nicaragua but a first-hand history of Central America at a time of ferocious revolutions and repression.
So, you'll say that what's common about Chris's books is combat, spookery, terror and emotional trauma. And that's partly true. But there is also another deeply felt theme in many of them: that of family as the ultimate source of human drama and also the social force that far too often is misunderstood, or ignored, in our efforts to grasp what's going on in the world around us. For more on this theme see pages 228-229 in the paperback edition of "Summer of Deliverance" or Location 3949 on the Kindle edition.
Chris's columns about counter-terrorism, espionage and the Middle East appear regularly now on TheDailyBeast.com, where they reach some 23 million readers a month. For links to recent columns and articles, visit "The Shadowland Journal" at christopherdickey.blogspot.com. Over the years, he has written for Foreign Affairs, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Wired, Rolling Stone, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and The New Republic, among other publications.
What else does Chris do? Apart from spending as much time with his grandchildren as possible, Chris is a passionate amateur photographer. As he moves through the streets of Paris, New York and other cities around the world, he constantly takes pictures to amuse himself. His Instagram and Twitter handles are the same: @csdickey.
Chris is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a master's degree in documentary film making from Boston University. Among his many honors are a doctorate from Hamilton College and journalism awards from the Overseas Press Club, the Inter-American Press Association and Georgetown University. Chris is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, where he was formerly an Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow, and the Anglo-American Press Association of Paris. He is on the board of the Overseas Press Club of America.
George Singleton has published seven collections of stories, two novels, and one book of writing advice. His stories have appeared in Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He’s been awarded a Pushcart Prize. He’s a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow. Singleton received the Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2010, and was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2014, and is a member of the SC Academy of Authors. His work has been anthologized in New Stories from the South--the Year’s Best ten times. Singleton holds the John C. Cobb Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Wofford College.