Mackey Chair

The Lois and Willard Mackey Chair in Creative Writing was established in the late 1980s by the late Willard Mackey'47, in honor of his late wife, Lois Wilson Mackey'45. Lois and Bill first dated on December 7, 1941, when both were Beloit College freshmen. As they were leaving a restaurant in downtown Beloit, they learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Some months later Bill was overseas in the United States Marines, while Lois finished her degree at Beloit. Bill finished his two years later, after the war. He had a brilliant career in advertising. Lois loved literature and was an enthusiastic reader of same. Her memory, and Bill's dedication to the value of creativity, led to the founding of the Lois Mackey Distinguished Writers Program.

Mackey writers teach an advanced creative writing class at Beloit; they also give a public reading of their work. Many Beloit students have sharpened their creative writing through the influence of "Mackeys," as the Mackey professors are called; and Mackey public readings are among the most anticipated and best attended events on campus.


Carver Raymond Carver (1938-1988) was one of the most influential American writers of short fiction since 1975. Carver brought a new realism to the American short story. Some of his stories, such as "Cathedral" (nominated for a 1984 Pulitzer Prize) and "A Small, Good Thing" are now established classics.
Raymond Carver, 1988
Tess Gallagher (1943-) is a noted writer of both poetry and short fiction, and one of the few writers equally acclaimed in both genres. She is also the literary executor of Raymond Carver, her late husband. Her honors include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, two National Endowment for the Arts awards, the Maxine Cushing Gray Foundation Award, and the Elliston Award for "best book of poetry published by a small press" for her 1976 collection Instructions to the Double.
Tess Gallagher, 1989-1990


William Stafford (1914-1993) was one of the best-loved poets in the United States, and he is the father of poet and essayist Kim Stafford. His poem, "Traveling through the Dark," received a 1962 National Book Award, and is anthologized internationally. He was appointed the twentieth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1970. Stafford was a close friend and collaborator with poet Robert Bly. He was a frequent contributor to magazines and anthologies and eventually published fifty-seven volumes of poetry. James Dickey called Stafford one of those poets "who pour out rivers of ink, all on good poems." He kept a daily journal for 50 years, and composed nearly 22,000 poems, of which roughly 3,000 were published.

William Stafford, 1990-1991
Leguin Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the most celebrated writers of speculative fiction (Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed) in the United States. She was nominated for a Pulitzer in 1997 for "Unlocking the Air and Other Stories."


Ursula K. LeGuin, 1991-1992

Bass Rick Bass, whose nature-writing fiction has been called, by the famous critic George Plimpton, one of "tomorrow's classics."    
Rick Bass, 1992-1993
Kizer Carolyn Kizer, noted American poet and also winner of a Pulitzer Prize (1985, for Yin) for her verse, at once lovely and thoughtful. Kizer is a former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Carolyn Kizer, 1993-1994
Matthiessen Peter Matthiessen, one of the most prolific American writers since World War II, who has excelled in fiction, travel writing and reportage alike. He is co-founder of The Paris Review, and received a 1979 National Book Award for The Snow Leopard.    
Peter Matthiessen, 1994-1995
Hoagland Edward Hoagland is an author best known for his nature and travel writing. His non-fiction has been widely praised by writers such as John Updike, who called him "the best essayist of my generation." He's taught at The New School, Rutgers, Sarah Lawrence, CUNY, the University of Iowa, U.C. Davis, Columbia University, Beloit College, and Brown, and he is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships. In 2005 Hoagland retired from a teaching position at Bennington College in Vermont.
Edward Hoagland, 1995-1996
Levertov Denise Levertov (1923-1997) is perhaps the most influential woman poet in the United States since the 1940s. Levertov wrote and published 20 books of poetry, such as her Breathing the Water and A Door in the Hive, and she also published criticism and translations. She also edited several anthologies. Among her many awards and honors, she received the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Frost Medal, the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Lannan Award, a Catherine Luck Memorial Grant, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Denise Levertov, 1996-1997
Hempel Amy Hempel is one of the most prominent of the new American "minimalist" writers. Hempel has produced many collection of short stories, among them: At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom (1990); Tumble Home (1997); and The Dog of the Marriage (2005). The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel (2006) gathers all the stories from the four earlier books. She co-edited (with Jim Shepard) Unleashed–Poems by Writers’ Dogs (1995), which includes contributions by Edward Albee, John Irving, Denis Johnson, Gordon Lish, Arthur Miller, et al. She writes articles, essays, and short stories for such publications as Vanity Fair, Interview, Bomb, GQ, ELLE, Harper's Magazine, and The Quarterly. Hempel has participated in The Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst's MFA Program for Poets & Writers. She won the Ambassador Book Award in 2007 for her Collected Stories, which was also named as one of the The New York Times' Ten Best Books of the year. In 2008 she won the Rea Award for the Short Story. In 2009 she received the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction along with Alistair MacLeod.  
Amy Hempel, 1997-1998
Lee Li-Young Lee, highly acclaimed young Asian-American poet and winner of many awards for his riveting autobiographical verse.   
Li-Young Lee, 1998-1999
Carlson Ron Carlson, whose "Bigfoot" stories were recently anthologized in the prestigious Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and whose novel, Plan B for the Middle Class, was called one of the best books of 1992 by The New York Times. Another novel, The News of the Word, received the same honor in 1987.    
Ron Carlson, 1999-2000
Dao Bei Dao is a prominent Chinese dissident poet who has been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize.  He received the International Poetry Argana Award from the House of Poetry in Morocco and the PEN/ Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.  His poetry has been translated into over 25 languages.
Bei Dao, 2000-2001
   Hampl Patricia Hampl is Regents' Professor and McKnight Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota where she teaches in the MFA program of the Department of English. Patricia Hampl's books include A Romantic Education, her memoir about her Czech heritage, and Virgin Time, a memoir about her Catholic upbringing and an inquiry into contemplative life. She also has two collections of poetry, Woman before an Aquarium, and Resort and Other Poems.    
Patricia Hampl, 2001-2002
Houston Ms. Houston is the author of two collections of short stories. Cowboys Are My Weakness, was the winner of the 1993 Western States Book Award and has been translated into nine languages. Waltzing the Cat won the Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction. Her stories have been selected for Best American Short Stories of the Century, The O. Henry Awards, and The Pushcart Prize. A collection of autobiographical essays, A Little More About Me, was published in the fall of 1999. In 2001 she completed a stage play called "Tracking the Pleiades". Houston has edited a collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry called Women on Hunting, and she is at work on a novel called Sighthound. Houston is a licensed river guide and a horsewoman. She is an associate professor in the writing program at U.C. Davis, and she appears on CBS Sunday Morning from time to time doing literary essays on the wilderness. She lives in Colorado at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
Pam Houston, 2002-2003
Collins Collins was appointed as the 2001-2003 Library of Congress Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. Collins has published seven books of poetry: Sailing Alone Around the Room (2002), Picnic, Lightning (1998), The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize finalist, Questions About Angels (1991), a National Poetry Series selection by Edward Hirsch, The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988), Video Poems (1980), and Pokerface (1977). Collins' poetry has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, and a variety of periodicals including Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The American Scholar, Harper's, The Paris Review and The New Yorker. He also is Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past 30 years. He is also a writer-in-residence at Sarah Lawrence College and served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library.  
Billy Collins, 2003-2004

William Least Heat-Moon 

William Least Heat-Moon, 2005-2006

Heat-Moon is a travel writer whose Blue Highways (1982) spent 42 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.  His following works, PrairyErth (1999), and River Horse (2002)  created a trilogy that established him as one of America's preeminent travelogists.  His  "deep map" approach  is an intensively topographical method of writing a sense of place which interlaces the travel documentary with autobiography, archeology, folklore, memory, natural history, reportage and interviews.      

Robert Stone 

Robert Stone, 2006-2007

Stone has been called one of the best of the post Viet Nam fiction writers. His dark humor has been compared to Vonnegut and his psychological complexity to Conrad.
He won the national Book award for Dog Soldiers (1974) and the PEN Faulkner  prize for A Flag for Sunrise (1981). Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties (2007) is an autobiographical account of his association with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.


 Richard Bausch 

Richard Bausch, 2007-2008

Fiction writer Richard Bausch is the author of over seventeen novels and short story collections, beginning with Real Presence (1980) and including Someone to Watch Over Me (1999)  Hello to the Cannibals (2002) Wives and Lovers (2004) and Thanksgiving Night (2006). In 2004 he won the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the short story.

Scott Russell Sanders 

Scott Russell Sanders, 2008-09

Scott Russell Sanders is the author of more than twenty books, a range of novels, collections of stories, and works of personal nonfiction, including Staying Put, Writing from the Center, and Hunting for Hope. His latest book is A Private History of Awe, a coming-of-age memoir, love story, and spiritual testament, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. A Conservationist Manifesto, his vision of a shift to a sustainable society, will be published in 2009.

Linda Gregerson 

Linda Gregerson, 2009-10

Poet Linda Gregerson is a 2007 National Book Award finalist, a recent Guggenheim Fellow, and a faculty member at the University of Michigan.  She is the author of several books of poetry and literary criticism, including Magnetic North, Waterbourne, and The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep.  Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry as well as in the Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, TriQuarterly, and other publications. Among her many awards and honors are an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, three Pushcart Prizes, and a Kingsley Tufts Award.

James McManus_Mackey Chair 2010-2011 

James McManus, 2010-11

James McManus is the author of Positively Fifth Street, Cowboys Full, and eight other books of poetry, fiction, and fact, most recently The Education of A Poker Player, a collection of seven linked stories. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times, Harper’s, The Believer, Grantland, Paris Review, Esquire, and in Best American anthologies for poetry, sports writing, science and nature writing, and magazine writing. He has received the Carl Sandburg Prize, the Peter Lisagor Award for Sports Journalism, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations. He teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Giles Foden Giles Foden was born in Warwickshire in 1967 to English and Irish parents, and he grew up mostly in Africa. For three years he served as an assistant editor of The Times Literary Supplement, and between 1996 and 2006 he worked on the books pages of the Guardian newspaper. His best-known novel The Last King of Scotland, published in 1998, won a Whitbread First Novel Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize. Set in the 1970s, the novel depicts the fictional relationship between Ugandan President Idi Amin and a young Scottish physician who is witness to Amin’s atrocities. The Last King of Scotland was made into an Oscar-winning feature film in 2007. Foden is also author of Ladysmith and Zanzibar, and Turbulence, and a work of narrative non-fiction, Mimi and Toutou Go Forth.
Giles Foden, 2011-2012

Kevin Young







Kevin Young, 2012-2013

Kevin Young is the author of seven books of poetry, including Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (Knopf, 2011) and Jelly Roll (Knopf, 2003), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Paterson Poetry Prize. He is the editor of seven other collections, most recently The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing (Bloomsbury, 2010) and Best American Poetry 2011The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink will also appear from Bloomsbury in fall 2012. Young's book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and appeared from Graywolf Press in March 2012. Young is the Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English and Curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta.

Scott Russell Sanders 

Scott Russell Sanders, 2013-14