2014 Faculty

The faculty for the 34th writers’ conference, held July 27 – August 1, 2014:



Michael ByersMichael Byers

Michael Byers is the author of three books: The Coast of Good Intentions, a book of stories, and the novels Long for This World and Percival’s Planet. The Coast of Good Intentions won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, garnered a Whiting Writer’s Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book. Long for This World was also a New York Times Notable Book and won the Virginia Commonwealth University First Novel Award.  His stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, he is director of the Helen Zell Writing Program at the University of Michigan.


Lan Samantha ChangLan Samantha Chang

Lan Samantha Chang is the author of three books:  the critically acclaimed novella All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost, the novel Inheritance,  and Hunger: A Novella and Stories. Chang has been honored as the California Book Award Silver Medalist, as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and with a Bay Area Book Award and literary awards from the Greensboro Review and the Transatlantic Review. Her work has also been nominated for the PEN Center USA West Award and the PEN/Hemingway Literature Prize. Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, and Best American Short Stories. She is the recipient of fellowships from Princeton University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the NEA, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Chang currently serves as director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Ayana MathisAyana Mathis

Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, her first novel, was a New York Times bestseller and New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2013.  It was also chosen by Oprah Winfrey as the second selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.  Mathis taught fiction at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in Spring 2013, and will join the faculty at the MFA in Creative Writing program at the Writer’s Foundry in Spring 2014.



Justin TorresJustin Torres

Justin Torres is the author of the critically acclaimed novel We the Animals. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recent Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He was the recipient of a Rolón Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, and Glimmer Train. Among many other things, he has worked as a farmhand, a dog walker, a creative writing teacher, and a bookseller; he is now a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.




Kazim AliKazim Ali

Kazim Ali is a poet, fiction writer, essayist and translator. His books include four volumes of poetry: The Far Mosque, The Fortieth Day, the mixed genre Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities and Sky Ward. He has published two novels, Quinn’s Passage and The Disappearance of Seth; two collections of essays, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice; as well as translations of poetry by Sohrab Sepehri and a novel by Marguerite Duras. Recently he edited the essay collection Jean Valentine: This-World Company. In addition to being associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College and founding editor of Nightboat Books he is a certified Jivamukti Yoga instructor.


Camille DungyCamille Dungy

Camille T. Dungy is the author of Smith Blue, Suck on the Marrow, and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison. She is the editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry and co-editor of From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great. Dungy’s honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Sustainable Arts Foundation, and Cave Canem.  She has won an American Book Award, two Northern California Book Awards, and a California Book Award silver medal.  After seven years teaching in San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing Department, she began a position as Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University in fall 2013.


Brenda HillmanBrenda Hillman

Brenda Hillman’s most recent work is Seasonal Works With Letters on Fire, her ninth volume of poetry and a long-list finalist for the National Book Award. Previous titles include Pieces of Air in the Epic, Cascadia and Loose Sugar. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for Poetry from the Poetry Society of America and Norma Farber First Book Prize, also from the Poetry Society of America. She edited, with Patricia Dienstfrey, the collection The Grand Permission: New Writings on Poetics and Motherhood. A longtime faculty member of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, she has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Iowa, among other universities, and is the Olivia Filippi Professor of Poetry at St. Mary’s College.


Brian TeareBrian Teare

A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Brian Teare is the recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts and the American Antiquarian Society. He’s the author of four full-length books, The Room Where I Was Born, Sight Map, the Lambda-Award-winning Pleasure, and Companion Grasses. He has also published seven chapbooks: Pilgrim, Transcendental Grammar Crown, , Paradise Was Typeset, Helplessness, [ black sun crown ], and SORE EROS. After over a decade of teaching and writing in the San Francisco Bay Area, he is now an Assistant Professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books.