Creative Writing Program Faculty

Click here to view faculty by interests and contact information.

Good teaching is, and has always been, the heart of Creative Writing at Carolina. One reason the program has flourished so long is its excellent faculty, award-winning teachers who devote themselves to their classes, dedicating considerable time and energy to students and their manuscripts. The number of faculty has grown as the program itself has grown, but quality of teaching has remained its primary emphasis. In 2013, professors who teach Creative Writing include:

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

  • Gabrielle Calvocoressi is a poet and essayist whose most recent book, Apocalyptic Swing, was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Award.  Her poems have been featured in The New York Times, Boston Review, The Washington Post, on Garrison Keillor's Poet's Almanac and in numerous journals and are forthcoming in Poetry Magazine and At Length.

Pam Durban

  • The first Doris Betts Distinguished Professor in Creative Writing, Durban has published two novels (most recently So Far Back) and a book of stories. One of her uncollected stories, “Soon,” was selected by John Updike as one of the Best American Short Stories of the Century in 1999.

Marianne Gingher

  • Gingher has published a much-praised novel, Bobby Rex's Greatest Hit (an NBC Movie of the Week in 1992), a collection of stories called Teen Angel and Other Stories of Wayward Love, and a book of essays, A Girl’s Life: Horses, Boys, Weddings, and Luck.

Stephanie Elizondo Griest

  • Stephanie Elizondo Griest is the author of Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines; and the guidebook 100 Places Every Woman Should Go. Her coverage of the Mexico border won the 2007 Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting.

Randall Kenan

  • One of the leading younger African-American writers in the country, Kenan has published four books, including a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (1992), which won the Lambda Book Award and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Michael McFee

  • McFee—a 1976 graduate of the program—has written seven books of poems (most recently Shinemaster) and edited two anthologies of contemporary North Carolina literature, including The Language They Speak Is Things to Eat: Poems by Fifteen Contemporary North Carolina Poets.

James Seay

  • Author of four books of poems—most recently Open Field, Understory: New and Selected Poems (1997)—and a film, Seay has also received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and won the Roanoke-Chowan Prize in Poetry.

Alan Shapiro

  • Shapiro has published seven books of poetry (including The Dead Alive andBusy and Mixed Company), a book of criticism, a translation of The Oresteia, and two memoirs (Vigil and The Last Happy Occasion). He was presented the Kingsley Tufts Award, a prestigious national prize, in 2001.

Bland Simpson

  • Author of two novels and four books of creative non-fiction, among them The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir and Into the Sound Country, Simpson is also a member of the Tony-award-winning musical group The Red Clay Ramblers, with experience on Broadway and in films.

Daniel Wallace

  • Wallace has published four novels, including Big Fish (1998), Ray in Reverse (2000), The Watermelon King (2003) and most recently Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician (2007). Big Fish was made into a motion picture of the same name by Tim Burton in 2003, a film in which the author plays the part of a professor at Auburn.

Michael Chitwood (Lecturer)

  • Michael Chitwood has published seven books of poetry, two of which won North Carolina’s Roanoke-Chowan Prize, and two collections of prose that include radio essays written for NPR affiliate WUNC. His work has appeared inThe Atlantic MonthlyThe New RepublicThreepenny ReviewPoetryThe Southern ReviewTriQuarterly and numerous other national journals.

Lawrence Naumoff (Lecturer)

  • Lawrence Naumoff is the author of 7 novels, including Taller Women: A Cautionary Tale, which was a NYTimes Notable Book of the Year. His books have been published in England and, in translation, throughout Europe. He is the winner of many awards, including the Whiting Foundation Writer's Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Discovery Award. He joined the Creative Writing faculty in the year 2000.

Long-time lecturer Daphne Athas, author of the novel Entering Ephesus and many other books, and a legendary teacher of fiction-writing and stylistics at Carolina, retired in 2009 after 40 years of service in the classroom.  And lecturer Ruth Moose -- who taught at UNC for 15 years, specializing in Writing Children's Literature and Writing Young Adult Literature -- retired at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year.

The Kenan Writer-in-Residence position alternates between writers of poetry, prose and non-fiction. The Creative Writing Program will next be looking for a writer of non-fiction, to begin teaching in Fall 2014, and we will advertise that position in the AWP Job List starting in late 2013.

Distinguished Writer in Residence. Begun in the spring semester of 2013, this program continues the legacy of the Morgan Writer-in-Residence series, bringing distinguished writers to the university to meet with students and faculty, to visit courses, and to give readings, lectures, or symposia that are open to the general public.