The MFA in Creative Writing Program at Manhattanville College


Mark Author Photo B&W

Mark Nowak

Professor & Program Director
Mark Nowak, a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, is an award-winning poet, social critic, and labor activist, whose writings include The New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” Shut Up Shut Down (2004, afterword by Amiri Baraka), and the acclaimed book on coal mining disasters in the US and China, Coal Mountain Elementary (2009), that Howard Zinn called “a stunning educational tool.”

Camille Rankine

Assistant Director
Camille Rankine is the author of Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America’s 2010 New York Chapbook Fellowship. The recipient of a 2010 "Discovery"/Boston Review Poetry Prize, she is featured as an emerging poet in the fall 2010 issue of American Poet and the April 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. She is a graduate of Harvard University, and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.
Jeff Bens

Jeff Bens

Fiction Workshop, Screenwriting Workshop
Jeff Bens is the author of the novel Albert, Himself (Delphinium) and director of the documentary film Fatman's. His short fiction and essays are published widely. Jeff was a founding faculty member of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and has served on film festival juries around the world. He directs the undergraduate creative writing program at Manhattanville College.

Neela Vaswani

Topics, Cross-Genre Workshop, Fiction Workshop
Neela Vaswani is author of the short story collection Where the Long Grass Bends, and a memoir, You Have Given Me a Country. She is the recipient of the American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, the ForeWord Book of the Year gold medal, and many other honors. She is also co-author of the Middle Grade novel-in-letters, Same Sun Here. An education activist in India and the United States, Vaswani is founder and curator of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library.
Liz Eslami

Elizabeth Eslami

Fiction Workshop, Novel
Elizabeth Eslami is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. She is the author of the novel Bone Worship (Pegasus, 2010). Her writings have appeared in The Rumpus, The Literary Review, Michigan Quarterly Review and The Sun, and her work is featured in the anthologies Tremors: New Fiction By Iranian American Writers (University of Arkansas Press, 2013) and Writing Off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema (Calavera Books, 2011). Eslami's story collection, Hibernate, recently won the Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction and was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

Phyllis Shalant

Children's and Young Adult Workshop
Phyllis Shalant is the author of many acclaimed novels for middle grade and YA readers, including Bartleby of the Mighty Mississippi (NYPL 100 Best Books), When Pirates Came to Brooklyn (Booklist Best Books About Religion), and The Great Eye (Florida Sunshine State Winner). Her short story, "Pinch-Hitting," was included in With All My Heart, With All My Mind, an anthology which won the Jewish National Book Award for YA Literature. In addition to teaching at Manhattanville, Phyllis leads an annual workshop for youth writers in the Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program.
Herman 2

Joanna Clapps Herman

Foundations in Graduate Creative Writing
Joanna Clapps Herman’s is the author of a memoir, The Anarchist Bastard (SUNY Press, 2011) a well as two forthcoming books: a collection of short stories, No Longer and Not Yet, (SUNY Press, 2013) and After the Manner of Women, a cultural memoir, (Fordham University Press, 2014). She is co-editor of two anthologies: Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana (Fordham University Press, 2008), and of Our Roots Are Deep with Passion (Other Press, 2007). She is currently a fellow at the Writers’ Institute at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Alex Gilvarry by Beowulf Sheehan

Alex Gilvarry

Fiction Workshop
Alex Gilvarry is the author of the novel From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant (Viking, 2012), a New York Times "Editor's Choice" and winner of a 2012 New York City Book Award. He’s been a Norman Mailer Fellow and his work has appeared in The Nation, Vogue, The Boston Globe, and on NPR's All Things Considered. He is the founder of the book review website Tottenville Review.