The Lois and Willard Mackey Chair in Creative Writing has become one of the college’s premier academic residencies, established by Willard Mackey’47 to honor his late wife, Lois Mackey’45.Unfolding in 1989, with Tess Gallagher serving as the first writer-in-residence,
The Mackey professors teach an advanced course in creative writing and deliver a public reading that’s among the year’s best-attended events at the college.
The roster of Mackey Professors forms a who’s who of writers. Among them are Billy Collins, Amy Hempel, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Kevin Young. In November, novelist Susan Choi, Beloit’s 2014-15 Mackey chair holder, received the 2019 National Book Award for her novel Trust Exercise. In 2018, novelist and short story writer Rebecca Makkai, Beloit’s 2017-18 Mackey professor, was shortlisted for the National Book Award.
Marilyn Chin will hold the Mackey chair in 2020. Chin is a poet, translator, educator, and novelist whose awards include five Pushcart Prizes and the 2019 Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her latest collection of poems is titled A Portrait of the Self As Nation: New and Selected Poems.