Friday, July 1, 2016


It’s a pleasure to announce an important new academic book that focuses on the role of creative writing in the academy. [Disclosure: I know the editor, Anna Leahy. Further disclosure: I am featured in one of the essays on the book, talking about different approaches to graduate creative writing program, using the Converse low-res MFA as my model.] Beyond all those disclosures, however, is the serious issue of where creative writing fits into the university and college system, and how can we better teach this craft we love? Anna’s approach to the subject—collaborative conversation essays that felt to me like dialogue that gets stirred up after a rousing panel at the AWP conference—is refreshing yet comprehensive. I could only include a small selection of the contents below, but scroll through, and I know you’ll have questions, opinions, and ideas on each of these topics…and that you’ll want to ask your university library to acquire a copy of this book pronto.

Edited by Anna Leahy (Chapman University)
Published by Multilingual Matters

Quick description:
This innovative edited collection pushes boundaries in both content and form. It discusses how new ways of knowing and doing scholarship produced in Creative Writing departments can make a contribution to a wider academic community and emphasizes the value of personal reflection and sharing stories.

Pre-pub praise:
“Dialogue, experiment, variety… These are at the heart of Creative Writing pedagogy, and reading this book is like eavesdropping on the process at work. Coming straight from the workface of American universities, it raises questions both practical and theoretical, creative and critical, that animate this growing and evolving discipline worldwide.” ~Philip Gross, University of South Wales, UK

Adaptation of one of the essays, in Brevity:

“As we were constructing the conversation essay about writerly reading in What We Talk about When We Talk about Creative Writing, Suzanne Greenberg challenged me—all of us—to think of reading as guiding our students to fall in love with writing. Never before had I thought of matchmaking between writer and book (or individual poem, story, essay) as a fruitful way to view teaching.”

Among the authors and topics covered:
~Cathy Day, Anna Leahy and Stephanie Vanderslice: Where Are We Going in Creative Writing Pedagogy?

~Anna Leahy and Larissa Szporluk: Good Counsel: Creative Writing, the Imagination, and Teaching

~Anna Leahy, Leslie Pietrzyk, Mary Swander and Amy Sage Webb: More than the Sum of Our Parts: Variety in Graduate Programs

~Katharine Haake, Anna Leahy and Argie Manolis: The Bold and the Beautiful: Rethinking Undergraduate Models

~Dianne Donnelly, Tom C. Hunley, Anna Leahy, Tim Mayers, Dinty W. Moore and Stephanie Vanderslice: Creative Writing (Re)Defined

~Mary Cantrell, Rachel Hall, Anna Leahy and Audrey Petty: Peas in a Pod: Trajectories of Educations and Careers

~Nicole Cooley, Kate Greenstreet, Nancy Kuhl and Anna Leahy: The First Book

~Karen Craigo and Anna Leahy: Taking the Stage, Stage Fright, Center Stage: Careers Over Time

BIO: Anna Leahy is Associate Professor of English, Associate Director of the MFA in Creative Writing, and Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity at Chapman University, USA. She has published widely on creative writing pedagogy, as well as creative non-fiction and poetry. She is the editor of TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.