Indiana University Creative Writing Program
Creative Writing Program
home page contact
All Students and Alumni
Our graduate students come from all parts of the country as well as Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, Indonesia, and Australia. They write no single type of narrative or poetry. What they have in common is the faculty's deep interest in and critical support of their work.

Among other honors, recent graduates of our program have won:

  • 2014 Saroyan Prize

  • 2014 Best New Poets
  • 2013 Pushcart Prize
  • 2012 Arab American Book Award
  • 2012 Anne Halley Prize from the Massachusetts Review
  • 2011 Tim R. McGinnis Award from the Iowa Review
  • 2010 Cleveland Arts Prize, Emerging Artist Award
  • 2010 International Publication Award from the Atlanta Review

Our graduates have also been awarded:

  • MacArthur Foundation Fellowship
  • Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships
  • Wallace Stegner Fellowship
  • Bush Foundation Fellowship
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in fiction, poetry, and translation

Alumni News

Khaled Mattawa Named MacArthur Fellow
Congratulations to Khaled Mattawa (1994 Graduate, Poetry) who is among the 2014 recipients of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. Mattawa received a B.A. (1989) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, an M.A. and M.F.A. (1994) from Indiana University at Bloomington, and a Ph.D. (2009) from Duke University. He is currently an associate professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Mattawa is the 2010 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship and in 2014 he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the PEN American Center Poetry Translation Prize, and three Pushcart Prizes.

In addition to translating numerous volumes of Arab poetry, he is author of Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation (2014); co-editor of Post Gibran: Anthology of New Arab American Writing (1999) and Dinarzad’s Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction (2004, 2009); and the author of four collections of poetry, including Tocqueville (2010).

Kiese Laymon Awarded 2014 Saroyan Prize
Kiese Laymon (MFA Fiction, 2003) has been awarded the 2014 William Saroyan Prize by Stanford University for his debut novel, Long Division. Set in the rural Mississippi in which he was raised, Laymon's novel weaves past and present in a complex time-traveling plot that reviewer Lucy McKeon praises for both its ambition and achievement: "more than anything, Laymon shows with surprising lucidity how American racialized inequality is persistent but mutable, that the past is not the present, but isn't, either, entirely past."

The Saroyan Prize is awarded biennially by Stanford University Library to new and emerging writers in fiction and non-fiction. The judges for the 2014 award in fiction were Heidi Durrow, Patrick Hunt, and Elizabeth McKenzie. Congratulations, Kiese, on this auspicious debut and significant accolade.

“Smart and funny and sharp...I loved it.” — Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones, 2011 National Book Award winner


Read more about Long Division and the Saroyan Prize here: https://library.stanford.edu/projects/william-saroyan-international-prize-writing/2014-fiction-winner

Link to the Agate Bolden page for Long Division: http://www.agatepublishing.com/book/?GCOI=93284100797570

Ming Holden's Survival Girls
(Wolfram Productions, 2013)
A creative writer, artist, and international development worker, Ming Holden (2013 Graduate) was most recently invited by the US Embassy to Suriname on a diplomatic speaking engagement under the U.S. Speakers Program for Women’s History Month. In 2011, she founded the Survival Girls, a theater group for young Congolese women in the slums of Nairobi.

Her first book, the nonfiction novella
The Survival Girls, came out in 2013. Ming also won the USAID worldwide essay contest for inclusion in the USAID Frontiers in Development publication alongside work by Bill Gates, Indra Noori, Paul Collier, and others. Her essay about the Survival Girls got some love from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself in the book’s introduction! (Ming’s writing about the Girls was also nominated for the AWP Intro Award for Nonfiction.)


Alison Powell’s On the Desire to Levitate
(Ohio U.P., 2014)
Congratulations to Alison Powell (Poetry, 2006) whose On the Desire to Levitate won last year’s Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, and has just been released by Ohio University Press. (Cover design by IU alumna and poet/book designer Mary Speaker)

This striking collection includes vivid, unflinching meditations on aging, mythology, poetry, and family. In tight, elegant lines
that alternate between homage and elegy, these poems explore known subjects with a rebellious eye: a defeated Hercules and a bitter Eurydice, a sympathetic Lucifer, and generations of adolescent girls as mythical adventurers moving within a beloved but confining Midwest. Yet in Powell's skillful hands, hardship never overtakes: as judge Charles Hood writes, “There's often a delicious humor in this work, and always a deep and lasting integrity.”


Amelia Martens (2007 Graduate)
Amelia Martens is an adjunct instructor at West Kentucky Community & Technical College where she helps to edit Exit 7: A Journal of Literature and Art. She was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council in 2010, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Recently, her poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Whiskey Island, and Willow Springs. Her first poetry chapbook, Purgatory, won the Spring 2010 Black River Chapbook competition and was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2012. Floating Wolf Quarterly published her next chapbook, Clatter, online in 2013. Her third poetry chapbook, A Series of Faults, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2014. She is married to the poet Britton Shurley; their collaborative projects include two daughters. Please visit: www.ameliamartens.com


Shannon Gibney (2002 Graduate)
(Picture courtesy of the NYT). Shannon Gibney's Young Adult novel Hank Aaron's Daughter will be released by Land of Gazillion Adoptees Press in August 2014. A 2005 Bush Artist Fellow, her creative and critical work continue to appear in a variety of venues, most recently including Gawker, The Feminist Wire, The Crisis, Gazillion Voices, The Road Weeps Bulletin, and many others. Gibney is Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Minneapolis Community & Technical College.


Robin Silbergleid (2001 Graduate)
Robin is the author of two chapbooks of poetry Pas de Deux: Prose and Other Poems (Basilisk Press, 2006) and Frida Kahlo, My Sister (Finishing Line Press, 2014), as well as the memoir Texas Girl (Demeter Press, 2014). Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her poetry, essays, and scholarship can be found in a range of journals online and in print. She is a regular contributor to Role/Reboot on issues related to single parenting, infertility, and pregnancy loss. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in East Lansing Michigan, where she is an associate professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program at Michigan State University. Now that she’s joined the twenty-first century, you can find her on Twitter at @RSilbergleid


Katy Balma (2006 Graduate)
Hometown: Harrisburg, Illinois. Pushcart Prize XXXVII (2013); International Publication Award, Atlanta Review (2010); Fulbright Grant (Spain, 2007-2008); Roy Battenhouse Memorial Award, National Society of Arts and Letters (Bloomington, Indiana chapter, 2004). Poetry in The 2River View, Atlanta Review, Booth, Crab Orchard Review, Crate, Cutbank, Drunken Boat, Mid-American Review, Prick of the Spindle, Puerto del Sol, Rattle, Salamander, Sixth Finch, storySouth, and The Cafe Review


Laurie Filipelli (2003 Graduate)
Laurie Filipelli is the author of a collection of poems, Elseplace, released by Brooklyn Arts Press in 2013. She earned her MFA from Indiana University and now lives in Austin, Texas where she works as a freelance writer, editor, and writing coach. Her essays and poems have appeared or are forthcoming at Coldfront, The Rumpus, Web del Sol: The Potomac, Madison Review, Salamander, apt, and So and So Magazine.


Erin McGraw (1986 Graduate)
Erin McGraw was Born and raised in Redondo Beach, California, Erin McGraw received her MFA at Indiana University and has lived in the Midwest ever since. Along with her husband, the poet Andrew Hudgins, she teaches at the Ohio State University and divides her time between Ohio and Tennessee.

Her newest novel, Better Food for a Better World, will be published next spring by Slant Books. Before that she published The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard (a novel), The Good Life (stories), The Baby Tree (a novel), Lies of the Saints (stories, and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996), and Bodies at Sea (stories). Her short work has appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly, Good Housekeeping, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, STORY, The Georgia Review, and many others. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she has received fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and the corporations of MacDowell and Yaddo.
Visit Erin's website: http://www.erinmcgraw.com/.


Philip Metres (2001 Graduate)
Born in San Diego on July 4th, 1970, Philip Metres grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. He graduated from Holy Cross College in 1992, and spent the following year in Russia on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, pursuing an independent project called “Contemporary Russian Poetry and Its Relationship to Historical Change.”

Since receiving a Ph.D. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Indiana University in 2001, Metres has written a number of books and chapbooks, including Compleat Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Poetic Texts by Lev Rubinstein (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014,)A Concordance of Leaves (2013), abu ghraib arias (2011), Ode to Oil (2011), To See the Earth (Cleveland State 2008), Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941 (University of Iowa Press, 2007), Instants (a chapbook, Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006), Primer for Non-Native Speakers (a chapbook, Kent State 2004), Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Selected Poems of Lev Rubinstein (Ugly Duckling 2004). and A Kindred Orphanhood: Selected Poems of Sergey Gandlevsky (Zephyr 2003). His writing–which has appeared widely, including in Best American Poetry–has garnered two NEA fellowships, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, four Ohio Arts Council Grants, the Beatrice Hawley Award (for the forthcoming Sand Opera), the Anne Halley Prize, the Arab American Book Award, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and the Creative Workforce Fellowship. His work has been called “beautiful, powerful, magnetically original” (Cleveland Arts Prize citation). Lawrence Joseph has written that “Philip Metres’s poetry speaks to us all, in ways critical, vital, profound, and brilliant.” His poems have been translated into Arabic, Polish, Russian, and Tamil. He is professor of English at John Carroll University, in Cleveland, Ohio. http://philipmetres.com/


Hannah Faith Notess (2008 Graduate)
Hannah Faith Notess is the author of Ghost House, a poetry chapbook and winner of the 2013 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, and the editor of Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical, an edited collection of personal essays (Cascade Books, 2009). Following her graduation from IU, she was the 2008-2009 Milton Center Postgraduate Fellow at Image Journal. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Slate, Mid-American Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Hampden Sydney Poetry Review, among other journals. She is the managing editor of Seattle Pacific University's Response magazine and lives with her family in Seattle. Learn more about her work at hannahnotess.com.Photo by Luke Rutan.


Mary Austin Speaker (2006 Graduate)
Mary Austin Speaker is the author of Ceremony, winner of the 2012 Slope Editions book prize; The Bridge (Push Press 2011); 20 Love Poems for 10 Months (Ugly Duckling Presse 2012); and a play, I AM YOU THIS MORNING YOU ARE ME TONIGHT, written with her husband, the poet Chris Martin. Her work has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, Seattle Review, Diner, Iowa Review, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She co-founded the Triptych poetry reading series in New York City and designs books for HarperCollins, Milkweed Editions, Alice James Books, The Song Cave, University of Iowa Press and others. New poems have recently appeared in Boston Review, Jubilat, Forklift Ohio, and elsewhere, and her critical work can be found in Pleiades, The Claudius App, and Painted Bride Quarterly. She lives in Minneapolis, where she operates a tiny design studio.
Visit her website here


Nikki Moustaki (2000 Graduate)
Nikki Moustaki’s memoir, “The Bird Market of Paris: a Memoir,” is forthcoming from Henry Holt in early 2015. Nikki holds an MA in poetry from New York University (1997), an MFA in poetry from Indiana University (2000), and an MFA in fiction from NYU (2008). She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant in poetry, along with other national writing awards, including three Pushcart Press nominations. Her poetry and essays have appeared in various literary magazines, anthologies, and textbooks, including Poetry After 9-11: An Anthology of New York Poets, and America Now, chosen by Robert Atwan, editor of the Best American Essays series; she has also published fiction in the American Literary Review, and others. Nikki’s 45 published educational and how-to books, on topics from choosing a college to training dogs, have been translated into five languages and have sold over half a million copies worldwide, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Poetry” and the Cliff’s Notes to “Dante’s Inferno” and Orwell’s “1984.” Before beginning her career as a freelance writer and editor, Nikki worked as an acquisitions and development editor at Macmillan Publishing and IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., where she specialized in the non-fiction market and edited more than 60 non-fiction titles. Nikki splits her time between New York City and Miami Beach.


Luke Hankins (2009 Graduate)
Luke Hankins is the author of a collection of poems, Weak Devotions, and is the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (both from Wipf & Stock). A chapbook of his translations of French poems by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, I Was Afraid of Vowels...Their Paleness, was published by Q Avenue Press in 2011. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including American Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Contemporary Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry East, and The Writer's Chronicle, as well as on the American Public Media national radio program "On Being." He serves as Senior Editor at Asheville Poetry Review and Poetry Editor at The Freeman. www.lukehankins.net


Amos Magliocco (2005 Graduate)
Recent publications include fiction and nonfiction in The Missouri Review, Isotope, Yemassee, and Redivider.

In 2009, an essay of mine won a Pushcart Prize and appeared in the 2010 Pushcart anthology.

In 2011, my novel Remedy Wheel was a semi-finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest. Publisher's Weekly called Remedy Wheel "a sprawling, highly literary tale...a grand old story." I maintain a blog at amosmwriter.com and my contact information is amosm@yahoo.com or on Twitter @amosmagliocco
I'm currently a Senior Lecturer in creative writing at the University of North Texas..


Brian Leung (2000 Graduate)
Brian Leung is the author of the short story collection, World Famous Love Acts (Sarabande, 2004), winner of both the Mary McCarthy Award for short fiction and The Asian American Literary Award for Fiction. His novels are Lost Men (Random House, 2008) and Take Me Home (Harper/Collins, 2010) winner of the 2011 Willa Award for Historical Fiction. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Lambda Literary Award for a Mid-career Novelist. His poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction appear in numerous nationally distributed publications. Leung currently serves on the LGBT Advisory Board at the University of Louisville where he is the Director of Creative Writing.


Elizabeth Dodd (1986 Graduate)
Elizabeth Dodd is University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University. She is the author of six books, including Horizon’s Lens and In the Mind’s Eye, both from University of Nebraska Press and Archetypal Light from University of Nevada Press. Her webpage is Elizabethdodd.com

Update your alumni information here.