Our 2017 Conference Faculty
MELISSA BANK is the author of the best-selling story collections The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonder Spot. She received the Nelson Algren Award for short fiction from the Chicago Tribune and holds an M.F.A. from Cornell University. Her work has been translated into 33 languages.
BILLY COLLINS is the author of 11 collections of poetry, most recently a new and selected collection titled Aimless Love (Random House 2013). Others titles include Horoscopes for the Dead, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Nine Horses, Ballistics and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of three anthologies: Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Everyday, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Bird Poems. His poems have been published in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, Harper's, The Atlantic, and The American Scholar, and he appears regularly in The Best American Poetry. A Guggenheim Fellow and a New York Public Library Literary Lion, he is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College, City University of New York, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. He served as New York State Poet (2004-5) and United States Poet Laureate (2001-2003). He was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This fall will see the publication of another collection from Random House titled The Rain in Portugal.
NATALIE DIAZ was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, and a U.S. Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at Arizona State University and the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Residency MFA program. She splits her time between the East Coast and Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language.
URSULA HEGI is the author of twelve books. Her Burgdorf Cycle encompasses 4 of her novels: Stones from the River, Floating in My Mother's Palm, The Vision of Emma Blau, and Children and Fire. Hegi's work has been translated into many languages, and her awards include the Italian Grinzane Cavour, an NEA Fellowship, and a PEN/Faulkner Award. She has taught at Barnard College, the University of California at Irvine, and Bread Loaf. She has also served as a juror for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle. A bi-cultural writer, Ursula didn’t plan to set nearly half of her work in Europe and the other half in the Americas—but that's how the pages have opened for her, reflecting what it is like to be an immigrant.
MATTHEW KLAM is the author of Sam The Cat, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book. He’s the recipient of an O. Henry Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award, and teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. A novel is forthcoming from Random House in the spring of 2017.
PATRICIA MARX is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a former writer for Saturday Night Live. She is the author of many books, including the novels Starting from Happy and Him Her Him Again The End of Him, both of which were finalists for the Thurber Prize for Humor. She has collaborated several times with the cartoonist Roz Chast. Their first children’s book, Now Everybody Really Hates Me, was the recipient of the first and only Friedrich Medal, an award named after Marx’s air-conditioner. Her latest book is Let’s be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties. Marx was the first woman elected to the Harvard Lampoon. She has taught screenwriting at Princeton University and can take a baked potato out of the oven with her bare hand.
PATRICIA MCCORMICK, a two-time finalist for the National Book Award, is the author of four critically acclaimed young adult novels: Purple Heart, a suspenseful psychological novel that explores the killing of a 10-year-old boy in Iraq; Sold, a deeply moving account of sexual trafficking; My Brother’s Keeper, a realistic view of teenage substance abuse and Cut, an intimate portrait of one teenager’s struggle with self-injury. She is also the co-author of Malala Yousafzai’s middle grade memoir, I Am Malala.
Her books have earned many honors: Sold was named by Publishers Weekly as one of Best 100 Books of the Year, was selected by the American Library Association as one of the Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults in 2006, and was recently made into a feature film. Cut was an ALA Best Book for Teenagers. McCormick is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was named a New York Foundation on the Arts fellow in 2004 and was the winner of the 2009 German Peace Prize for Youth Literature.
SHARON OLDS' most recent poetry collection is called Odes. Her numerous honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant; a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; the San Francisco Poetry Center Award for her collection, Satan Says (1980); and the Lamont Poetry Selection and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Dead and the Living (1983). Named New York State Poet Laureate (1998 – 2000), Olds teaches graduate poetry workshops at New York University and the writing workshop she helped found at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely disabled (now in its 30th year). She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. Her poetry collection, One Secret Thing, was a finalist for the T. S. Eliot Prize & the Forward Prize, and her collection, Stag’s Leap (2012), was named one of Oprah’s Favorite Reads of 2012 and won the T.S. Eliot Prize, and also the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2014, Sharon Olds was awarded the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. In 2015 she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
ROXANA ROBINSON is the author of Sparta and four earlier novels including Cost, three story collections, and the biography, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. Four of these were New York Times Notable Books. Robinson’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, BASS, and elsewhere. She was named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library, was a finalist for the NBCC Balakian Award, and has received fellowships from the NEA, the MacDowell Colony and the Guggenheim Foundation. She is the President of the Authors Guild.
ROGER ROSENBLATT's essays for Time and the PBS News Hour have won two George Polk Awards, the Peabody and the Emmy. He is the author of Making Toast, Kayak Morning, The Boy Detective and The Book of Love, among others, five of which have been New York Times Notable Books, and four, New York Times bestsellers. Currently Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook, he also held the Briggs-Copeland appointment in the teaching of writing at Harvard, and was one of three finalists for the Robert Cherry Award, for the most effective teacher in the country. He is the recipient of the 2015 Kenyon Review Award for literary achievement.
FREDERIC TUTEN lived in South America and Paris, writing about Brazilian Cinema Novo and teaching at University of Paris 8. Among his novels are The Green Hour, Tintin in the New World, and The Adventures of Mao on the Long March. He has written extensively about art, literature and film; acted in an Alain Resnais movie; taught with Paul Bowles in Morocco; co-wrote the cult classic Possession; and, along the way, earned a PhD in literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent book, Self Portraits: Fictions, is a collection of interrelated short stories. He has been awarded three Pushcart Prizes as well as the O. Henry prize.
EMMA WALTON HAMILTON is a best-selling children’s book author, editor and arts educator. With her mother, actress/author Julie Andrews, Walton Hamilton has co-authored over twenty children’s books, seven of which have been on the NY Times Bestseller list, including The Very Fairy Princess series (#1 Bestseller), Julie Andrews Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies, the Dumpy the Dump Truck series, Simeon’s Gift, The Great American Mousical, and Thanks to You–Wisdom from Mother and Child. Walton Hamilton’s own book, RAISING BOOKWORMS: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment, premiered as a #1 best-seller on Amazon.com in the literacy category and won a Parent’s Choice Gold Medal.
Walton Hamilton is a faculty member of Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, where she also serves as Director of the Children’s Literature Fellows program, and Executive Director of the Young Artists and Writers Project (YAWP), an inter-disciplinary writing program for middle and high school students. Walton Hamilton also works as a freelance children’s book editor, and hosts the "Just Write Children’s Books" home-study courses and resources for writing picture books, chapter books and middle grade and young adult novels.
MEG WOLITZER is a novelist whose recent work includes The Interestings, which was named a best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Time, and The Chicago Tribune, and named a notable book by The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post; among her other books are The Ten-Year Nap, The Uncoupling, The Position and The Wife, as well as the YA novel Belzhar. Wolitzer's short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. A member of the MFA faculty at Stony Brook Southampton, she has also taught creative writing at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, Skidmore College, and the 92nd Street Y, among others. In 2013, along with singer-songwriter Suzzy Roche, Wolitzer was a guest artist at the Princeton Atelier at Princeton University.
MARYROSE WOOD is best known as the author of the acclaimed middle grade series The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. Book 1, The Mysterious Howling, was published in 2010 and received starred reviews in Booklist, Kirkus, SLJ and Publishers Weekly, and was named a Best Children’s Book of 2010 by the Christian Science Monitor, Kirkus, and others. The first three books in the series were named Junior Library Guild selections. Book 5, The Unmapped Sea, was named a Best Children's Book of 2015 by NPR. She is currently writing book 6. Other published works include the YA series The Poison Dairies, the Why I Let My Hair Grow Out trilogy and the novel My Life: The Musical. A confirmed theatre geek, her writing for the stage made her a three-time winner of the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award, administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Wood teaches fiction writing at NYU and as a private writing coach, and is a popular speaker at schools, libraries and conferences.