The 2021 Napa Valley Writers’ Conference faculty members in fiction, poetry, and translation are listed below.

You may also peruse the full list of visiting faculty and speakers from 1981 to the present.


Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang’s  new book of poetry, OBIT, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in April. Her other books include Barbie Chang (2017), The Boss (2013), winner of a PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award, Salvinia Molesta (2008), and Circle (2005). She also edited the anthology Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (2004). She is the author of a children’s book, Is Mommy?, illustrated by Marla Frazee, and a middle grade verse novel, Love, Love, forthcoming from Sterling Publishing this spring. Chang is an alum of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, returning this year as faculty.

Among Chang’s many recognitions area Guggenheim Fellowship, a Katherine Min MacDowell Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Lannan Residency Fellowship. She is currently the Program Chair of the low-residency MFA Program at Antioch University.  She is a contributing editor of Copper Nickel and On the Seawall, and a poetry editor at Tupelo Quarterly. She also co-coordinates the Idyllwild Writers Week and serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board.

Brenda Hillman

Brenda Hillman has authored ten full-length collections of poetry, including Extra Hidden Life, among the Days (2018), Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire (2013), recipient of the International Griffin Poetry Prize for 2014 and the Northern California Book Award, and Practical Water (2011), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her 1993 collection, Bright Existence, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Hillman has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Poetry Society of America, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the William Carlos Williams Prize from Poetry Society of America, and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. She currently teaches at St. Mary’s College, where she is the Olivia C. Filippi Professor of Poetry.

Brian Teare

A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Brian Teare is an alum of the Napa conference returning as faculty. He has authored six critically acclaimed books, including The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven (2015), Companion Grasses (2013), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Lambda Award-winning Pleasure (2010), Sight Map (2009), and The Room Where I Was Born (2003), winner of the Brittingham Prize and the 2004 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His most recent book, Doomstead Days, was longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award and is a finalist for the 2019 National Book Critics Circle and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards. He has also published eight chapbooks, including Paradise Was Typeset, SORE EROS, and Headlands Quadrats.

Teare has received honors from Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards, and fellowships from the NEA, the Pew Foundation, the American Antiquarian Society, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the MacDowell Colony. He is now an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, and makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books.

Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder has authored five collections of poetry, most recently Father’s Day (2019). His other collections include Sun Bear (2014), Come On All You Ghosts (2010), The Pajamaist (2006), and American Linden (2002). He has also written a book of prose, Why Poetry (2017), about reading poetry for a general audience. His recognitions include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship in Marfa, Texas.

Zapruder co-founded Verse Press, which later became Wave Books. He co-edited the political poetry anthology State of the Union: 50 Political Poems (2008), and his work has been included in multiple anthologies, including Best American Poetry (2013, 2009), Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll (2007), and Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006). He currently teaches in the MFA program and English Department at Saint Mary’s College of California.


Charles Baxter

Charles Baxter has written five novels, including The Soul Thief (2008), Saul and Patsy (2003), The Feast of Love (2000), nominated for the National Book Award, Shadow Play (1993), and First Light (1987). His accolades include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award of Merit for the Short Story, the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Rhea Award for the Short Story.

Baxter has published eight short story and essay collections, including There’s Something I Want You to Do (2015), Gryphon: New and Selected Stories (2011), Burning Down the House (1997), and Believers (1997). His fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. After directing the Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Michigan for many years, he currently teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.

Lan Samantha Chang

Lan Samantha Chang has authored three books: All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost (2010), Inheritance (2004), and Hunger (1998). Her numerous recognitions include: the Wallace Stegner and Truman Capote Fellowships at Stanford, the Teaching-Writing Fellowship and Michener-Copernicus Fellowship at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and fellowships from Princeton University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her works have been translated into nine languages, and her stories have appeared in Ploughshares, The Atlantic, and Best American Short Stories.

Chang has taught at Harvard, Stanford, and Warren Wilson College, and in 2005 she became the fifth director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the first woman and Asian American to lead the eminent residency program.

ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer is the author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (2003), and is working on a novel, The Thousands, set in the aftermath of the Civil War. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, GRANTA, The New York Times Magazine, and The Guardian, as well as other magazines and journals. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, and her accolades include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the American Academy in Berlin Prize, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, a Bellingham Review Award, a Whiting Award, and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award.

Packer has taught at many institutions, including Princeton as a Hodder Fellow, the Michener Center at the University of Texas, Vassar College, Stanford as a Jones Lecturer, Tulane University, and San Jose State University as the Lurie Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing. She is a recent Hutchens Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, and she currently teaches at Harvard University and leads a lecture series at Brown University.

Joan Silber

Joan Silber has authored eight books of fiction, including Improvement (2017), winner of The National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award, The Size of the World (2008), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Prize in Fiction, Lucky Us (2001), In the City (1987), and Household Words (1980), winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her three short story collections are Fools (2013), longlisted for the National Book Award and finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, Ideas of Heaven (2004), finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize, and In My Other Life (2000). She has also received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Silber’s fiction has been anthologized in the O. Henry Prize Stories, The Pushcart Prize collections, and Best American Short Stories. Her work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Epoch, Agni, Tin House, The Southern Review, The Colorado Review, and other publications. She teaches fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.


Robert Hass

Pulitzer Prize winner and United States Poet Laureate (1995-1997) Robert Hass joins the conference this year as translation faculty. His translations include many of the works of Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, as well as the Japanese haiku masters Basho, Buson, and Issa. His decades-long project translating Milosz includes more than seven collections of the poet’s work. Of Hass’ haiku translation, Andrew Rathmann of the Chicago Review wrote, “the translations…must by anyone’s standard by considered remarkable poetic achievements in themselves….[They’re] comparable—in terms of sheer written fluency—to the best poems in his three previous books.”

Hass’ poetry volumes include Field Guide (1973), Praise (1979), Human Wishes (1989), Sun Under Wood (1996), Time and Materials (2007), which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and The Apple Trees at Olema (2010). His book of essays, What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World, won the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Among his accolades are the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, two National Book Critics’ Circle Awards, and the 2014 Wallace Stevens Award. In the mid-1990s, Hass co-founded River of Words, an organization promoting environmental and arts education in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. He is Distinguished Professor in Poetry and Poetics at UC Berkeley.