MFA in Creative Writing

Writers At Newark Reading Series

The Rutgers-Newark MFA Program is interested in the real world experience our students bring to the classroom, as well as to creative exchange beyond the university campus. Our most visible bridge to the University and to Newark is The Writers at Newark Reading Series, which brings nationally prominent writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction to campus. The Reading Series provides the opportunity for a diverse audience of students, faculty, staff and the public to hear and interact with these writers in an intimate and dynamic setting. It is also the centerpiece for our community outreach programs, such as our Writers at Newark Reading Group and programs with local Newark high schools. For more information on our community outreach, please contact us at (973) 353-1107 or at

Click here for the 2014-2015 series poster.


FALL 2014

September 30, 201
A. Van Jordan & Kamilah Aisha Moon



A.Van Jordan

Poet A. Van Jordan is The Henry Rutgers Presidential Professor. He is the author of four collections of poems: The Cineaste, (2013, W.W. Norton) a finalist for the 2013 NAACP Image Award; Quantum Lyrics, (2007, W. W. Norton); M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, (2005, W. W. Norton), voted one of the Best Books of 2005 by the London Times (TLS), and winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and Rise, (2001, Tia Chucha Press), winner of the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award. His awards include a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in The Best American Poetry Anthology of 2013. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and a United States Artists Williams Fellowship. Jordan teaches courses in African American literature and Film Studies, as well as workshops and courses in Creative Writing.  He has taught at a wide range of institutions, including Prince Georges Community College, The College of New Rochelle, The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, The University of Texas, Austin, and The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He joins the faculty of the Rutgers University-Newark MFA Program/ English Department in Fall, 2014.


Kamilah Aisha Moon
is the author of a critically acclaimed first book of poems, She Has a Name (Four Way Books).  She is the recipient of fellowships to the Prague Summer Writing Institute, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, Cave Canem and the Vermont Studio Center.  Her poems have been featured in the Harvard Review, jubilat, Sou’wester, Oxford American, Lumina, Callaloo, Bloom, Superstition Review, Villanelles, The Ringing Ear and Gathering Ground.  Her poems and prose have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. A teacher of English and creative writing at various institutions, Moon holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.


October 14, 2014
Adrian Matejka & Chris Abani 


Adrian Matejka

Adrian Matejka is the author of three books of poems. His first collection, The Devil’s Garden, won the 2002 New York / New England Award from Alice James Books. His second, Mixology (Penguin, 2009), was a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series, and a finalist for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. His most recent book, The Big Smoke, (Penguin, 2013) was a Finalist for both the 2013 National Book Award and the 2013 National Book Critic’s Circle Award in Poetry.  He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington and is currently working on a new collection of poems and a graphic novel.


Chris Abani

Chris Abani is a novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. His prose includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985).  His poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun - Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne's Lot (Red Hen, 2003) and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001).  Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, he grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria, received a BA in English from Imo State University, Nigeria, an MA in English, Gender and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. Abani is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian and Serbian. He has resided in the United States since 2001 and is always at work on multiple projects.



November 18, 2014
David Finkel & Roxana Robinson


David Finkel

David Finkel, winner of a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism, is a three-time Pulitzer finalist, journalist, and author. His most recent book, the critically acclaimed Thank You For Your Service, chronicles the challenges faced by American soldiers and their families in the aftermath of war. His previous book, The Good Soldiers, was the bestselling account of a U.S. infantry battalion during the Iraq War “surge.” An editor and writer for The Washington Post, Finkel has reported from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, and across the United States, and has covered wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Among his honors are a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2001, a Pulitzer Prize in 2006, and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2012. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area.


Roxana Robinson

Roxana Robinson is the author of five novels: Sparta (2013), Cost (2009), Sweetwater (2003), This is My Daughter (1998), and Summer Light (1987). Cost, a National Book Critics Circle Recommended Reads and a New York Times Editors' Choice, and The Washington Post Five Best Fiction Books of the Year. In her recent novel Sparta, Robinson explores the fissures between military experience and civilian life through a portrait of a returning veteran, and the costs of war.  Her three collections of short stories include A Perfect Stranger and Other Stories (2006), Asking for Love (1996), A Glimpse of Scarlet and Other Stories (1991; she is also the author of an award-winning biography, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life (1989). Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Vogue, One Story, Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The MacDowell Colony.



December 2, 2014
Ada Limón & Susan Choi


Ada Limón

Ada Limón is the author of three books of poetry, Lucky Wreck (2010), This Big Fake World (2005), and Sharks in the Rivers (2005). She received her Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from New York University. Limón has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and is one of the judges for the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry. She works as a freelance writer and splits her time between Lexington, Kentucky, Sonoma, California, and New York. Her new book of poems, Bright Dead Things, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2015.

Susan Choi

Susan Choi is the author of three widely acclaimed novels.  Her first, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction; her second, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. With David Remnick, she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker.  Her third novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award.  In 2010 she was named the inaugural recipient of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award.  Choi is a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.




January 28, 2014
James Goodman & Rachel Hadas

James Goodman 
James Goodman, U.S. editor of Rethinking History, is a Professor of history at RN and teaches nonfiction writing in the Rutgers Newark MFA Program.  His first book, Stories of Scottsboro, a narrative history of the Scottsboro Case written from many different points of view, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.   His second book, Blackout, concerned the NYC blackout in the summer of 1977. His new book, But Where Is the Lamb? Is forthcoming in 2013. He has received fellowships and awards from NYU, Princeton, Rutgers, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Rachel Hadas
Rachel Hadas is the author of many books of poetry, prose, and translations.  A memoir about her husband's illness, Strange Relation, was published by Paul Dry Books in 2011.  Her books of poems include: The Ache of Appetite, The River of Forgetfulness, Halfway Down the Hall: New and Selected Poems, Merrill, Cavafy, Poems, and Dreams, The Waiting Room Reader: Words to Keep You Company, and In The Blood, written with Carl Phillips. A new book of poems, The Golden Road, was published by Northwestern University Press in the fall of 2012. Rachel Hadas studied classics at Harvard, poetry at Johns Hopkins, and comparative literature at Princeton. Between college and graduate school she spent four years in Greece, an experience that surfaces variously in much of her work. Since 1981 she has taught in the English Department of the Newark (NJ) campus of Rutgers University, and has also taught courses in literature and writing at Columbia and Princeton, as well as serving on the poetry faculty of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the West Chester Poetry Conference. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant in poetry, and an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. 


February 18, 2013
Andrew Solomon & Richard Blanco

Andrew Solomon 
Andrew Solomon’s newest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, published November 13, 2012, won the National Book Critic’s Circle Award for Nonfiction. His first book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Scribner, 2001), won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and was included in The Times of London’s list of one hundred best books of the decade. A New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback editions, The Noonday Demon, a bestseller in seven countries, was named a Notable Book by both the New York Times and the American Library Association; it received the Books for a Better Life Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the 2002 Ken Book Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City, the Lambda Literary Award for Autobiography/Memoir, and Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Visions Award. 

Richard Blanco
In January 2013, Blanco was selected by President Obama to be the inaugural poet, joining the ranks of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. His acclaimed first book of poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, explores the yearnings and negotiation of cultural identity as a Cuban- American, and received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. His second book, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, won the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center for its continued exploration of the universal themes of cultural identity and homecoming. Looking for The Gulf Motel, (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012) examines the blurred lines of gender, the frailty of his father-son relationship, and the intersection of his cultural and sexual identities as a Cuban-American gay man living in rural Maine. Blanco's poems have appeared in several anthologies including, The Best American PoetryGreat American Prose PoemsBreadloaf Anthology of New American Poets, and American Poetry: The Next Generation. He has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Blanco is recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, a Residency Fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and is a John Ciardi Fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. 


March 11, 2013
Edward P. Jones & Natasha Trethewey

Edward P. Jones 
Edward P. Jones, the New York Times bestselling author, was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle award, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his novel, The Known World. His first collection of stories, published in 1993, Lost in the City, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Lannan Literary Award. His second collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, was a finalist for the 2007 Pen/Faulkner Award. He has been an instructor of fiction writing at a range of universities, including Princeton. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005.

Natasha Trethewey
Natasha Trethewey is the 19th United States Poet Laureate (2012-2013). She is the author of Thrall (2012), Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association, and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press). A memoir is forthcoming in 2013. Trethewey is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry.   She is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University. 


April 15, 2013
Matthea Harvey & George Saunders

Matthea Harvey 
Matthea Harvey is the author of Sad Little Breathing Machine (Graywolf, 2004) and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (Alice James Books, 2000). Her third book of poems, Modern Life (Graywolf, 2007) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Cirlcle Award and was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her first children’s book, The Little General and the Giant Snowflake, illustrated by Elizabeth Zechel, was published by Tin House Books in 2009. An illustrated erasure, titled Of Lamb, with images by Amy Jean Porter, will be published by McSweeney's in 2010. Matthea is a contributing editor to jubilat, Meatpaper and BOMB. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College.

George Saunders
George Saunders is a New York Times bestselling American writer of short stories, essays, novellas and children's books. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, McSweeney’s and GQ, among other publications. A professor at Syracuse University, Saunders won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2004, and second prize in the O. Henry Awards in 1997. His first story collection, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, was a finalist for the 1996 PEN/Hemingway Award. Pastoralia, his second story collection, was published in 2000; a novella, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, appeared in 2005. In 2006 Saunders received a MacArthur Fellowship and won the World Fantasy Award for his short story "CommComm.” The Braindead Megaphone, essays, was published in 2007. His story collection In Persuasion Nation was a finalist for The Story Prize in 2007. In 2013, he won the PEN/Malamud Award. His most recent book is Tenth Of December: Stories.