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 2013-2014 series poster.


FALL 2013

September 17, 2013
Cynthia Cruz & Ruth Ozeki

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Cynthia Cruz 
Cynthia Cruz’s poems have been published in the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, Paris Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Field, Kenyon Review, and others. Her first book, Ruin, was published in 2006, by Alice James Books. Her second collection, In The Glimmering Room, was published by Four Way Books, in October of 2012. Her third and fourth collections are forthcoming from Four Way Books; she is currently at work on her 5th collection of poems, an anthology of contemporary Latina poets, and a memoir in the form of essays. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and also teaches a poetry salon in her apartment in Greenpoint. She has a blog, lemoncreamcake, about fashion & art.

Ruth Ozeki
Ruth Ozeki is a filmmaker, novelist, and Zen Buddhist priest, whose award-winning novels have been described as “witty, intelligent and passionate” by the Independent, and as possessing “shrewd and playful humor, luscious sexiness and kinetic pizzazz” by the Chicago Tribune. Her first novel, My Year of Meats, was published in 1998 by Viking Penguin and has garnered widespread glowing reviews, awards, and a still-growing readership. A sexy, poignant, funny tale about global meat and media production, My Year of Meats tells the story of Jane and Akiko, two women on opposite sides of the planet, whose lives are connected by a TV cooking show. My Year of Meats was an international success, translated into eleven languages and published in fourteen countries. It won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award, the Imus/Barnes and Noble American Book Award, and a Special Jury Prize of the World Cookbook Awards in Versailles. Ozeki’s second novel,  All Over Creation (Viking Penguin, 2003) shifts the focus from meat to potatoes in a story of a family farmer, his prodigal daughter, an itinerant gang of environmental activists, and a New Age corporate spin doctor, whose lives and interests collide in Liberty Falls, Idaho. In a starred review, Kirkus called this cast of characters “most fully realized and heart-wrenching in their imperfect yearnings,” and declared All Over Creation, “a feast for mind and heart.” Again a New York Times Notable Book, All Over Creation is the recipient of a 2004 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, as well as the Willa Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction. Ozeki’s new novel, A Tale for the Time Being, was published by Viking Penguin on March 12, 2013.


October 8, 2013
Will Schutt & Christine Schutt

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Will Schutt
Will Schutt is the author of  Westerly (Yale University Press, 2013), selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2012 Yale Series of Younger Poets award. A graduate of Oberlin College and Hollins University, he is the recipient of fellowships from the James Merrill House and the Stadler Center for Poetry. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in AgniFIELD, The New Republic, The Southern Review and elsewhere. He currently lives with his wife in Wainscott, New York.

Christine Schutt 
Christine Schutt is the author of short-story collections Nightwork and A Night, A Day, Another Night, Summer. The former was chosen by poet John Ashbery as the best book of 1996 for the Times Literary Supplement. Her first novel, Florida, was a National Book Award finalist for fiction in 2004. Her second novel, All Souls, was a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist in 2009. Her new novel, Prosperous Friends, is out now from Grove Press.


November 12, 2013
Christa Parravani & Anthony Swofford

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Christa Parravani
Christa Parravani is the author of the memoir Her. She is also a photographer whose photographs are internationally exhibited; she is represented by the Michael Foley Gallery in New York City and the Kopeikin gallery in Los Angeles. She has taught photography at Dartmouth College, Columbia University and UMass, Amherst. She earned her MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Newark.

Anthony Swofford 
Anthony Swofford is the author of the memoirs, Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, published in 2012, and Jarhead, published in  2003, which is primarily based on his experiences in the first  Gulf War as a U.S. Marine Corps Surveillance and Target Acquisition/Scout-Sniper; after the war, he was educated at American River College; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Jarhead was the basis of the 2005 movie of the same name, directed by Sam Mendes. He has taught at the University of Iowa and Lewis and Clark College. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, Men's Journal, The Iowa Review, and other publications. He is a Michener-Copernicus Fellowship recipient.


December 3, 2013
John Keene & Rigoberto Gonzalez

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John Keene 
John Keene (AB, Harvard College, MFA New York University) is the author of the award-winning novel Annotations (New Directions, 1995), and of the poetry collection Seismosis (1913 Press, 2006), a collaboration with artist Christopher Stackhouse. He has published his fiction, poetry, essays and translations in a wide array of journals, including African-American Review, AGNI, Encyclopedia, Gay and Lesbian Review, Hambone, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review, Mandorla, Ploughshares, and Public Space. His honors include an array of fellowships, including a 2003 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, a 2005 Whiting Foundation Award in Fiction and Poetry and a 2008 Fellowship for Distinguished First Collection from the inaugural Pan-African Literary Forum.

Rigoberto Gonzalez
Rigoberto González was born in Bakersfield, California and raised in Michoacán, Mexico. He is the author of two books of poetry, So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until It Breaks (1999), a National Poetry Series selection, and Other Fugitives and Other Strangers (2006). He has also written two bilingual children’s books, Soledad Sigh-Sighs (2003) and Antonio’s Card (2005), the novel Crossing Vines (2003), winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Fiction Book of the Year Award, a memoir, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa (2006), and a book of stories Men without Bliss (2008). His recent books of essays are Red-Inked Retablos, and Autobiography of My Hungers, both published in 2013. González earned a BA from the University of California, Riverside and graduate degrees from University of California, Davis and Arizona State University. The recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and of various international artist residencies, González writes a Latino book column for the El Paso Times of Texas. He is contributing editor for Poets & Writers, on the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and on the Advisory Circle of Con Tinta, a collective of Chicano/Latino activist writers. González teaches at the Rutgers Newark MFA Program. He has also written for The National Book Critics Circle's blog, Critical Mass; and the Poetry Foundation's blog Harriet.



January 28, 2013
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.