Acclaimed Short Story Writer Deborah Eisenberg Joins Writing Program Faculty

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  • Deborah Eisenberg; photo by Diana Michener
Deborah Eisenberg; photo by Diana Michener

Dean Carol Becker announced today the appointment of Deborah Eisenberg to the Writing Program faculty. 

Eisenberg is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of numerous honors including the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, a Whiting Writer’s Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Eisenberg has published four collections of stories: Transactions in a Foreign Currency (1986), Under the 82nd Airborne (1992), All Around Atlantis (1997), and Twilight of the Superheroes (2006). Her first two story collections were republished in one volume as The Work (So Far) of Deborah Eisenberg (1997). All four volumes were reprinted in 2010 in The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg (2010). She joins Columbia University School of the Arts from the University of Virginia, where she has taught since 1994.

“Deborah Eisenberg is one of the most original American short story writers working today,” said Dean Becker. “She is also a dedicated and generous teacher. Our MFA students will benefit tremendously from her presence. She joins an already stellar group of dedicated writing faculty. We all are thrilled and extremely proud to welcome Deborah Eisenberg to the School of the Arts.”


Lopate, LaValle to Direct Concentrations in Creative Nonfiction and Fiction

Professor Phillip Lopate has been named the head of Columbia’s MFA concentration in Creative Nonfiction. Lopate will assume the role from Professor Richard Locke. Assistant Professor Victor LaValle will become director of the Program’s concentration in Fiction, replacing Assistant Professor Stacey D’Erasmo. Both Locke and D’Erasmo will continue to teach in the Program.

In the past several decades, Phillip Lopate has been a driving force behind the resurgence of creative nonfiction and memoir. He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts grant. He has written three personal essay collections -- Bachelorhood (1981), Against Joie de Vivre (1989), and Portrait of My Body (1996); two novels, Confessions of Summer (1979) and The Rug Merchant (1987); two poetry collections, The Eyes Don't Always Want to Stay Open (1972) and The Daily Round (1976); a memoir of his teaching experiences, Being With Children (1975); a collection of his movie criticism, Totally Tenderly Tragically (1998); an urbanist meditation, Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan (2004); and a biographical monograph, Rudy Burckhardt: Photographer and Filmmaker (2004).

Victor LaValle is the author of Slapboxing with Jesus (1999), a collection of stories, and two novels, The Ecstatic (2002) and Big Machine (2009). Awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award and the key to Southeast Queens.

The School of the Arts MFA degree in Writing is highly regarded for its rigorous approach to literary instruction and for its faculty of acclaimed writers and editors who are devoted and dedicated teachers. Students concentrate in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction, and also have the option of pursuing a joint course of study in writing and literary translation.  Columbia University School of the Arts Writing Program alumni of the last 10 years cumulatively have published more than 150 books and won major international and national literary prizes including Fulbright Scholarships, Rome Prizes, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships and more.

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.