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Lois and Willard Mackey Chair in Creative Writing

Established in the late 1980s by Willard Mackey’47 in honor of his wife, Lois’45, this program brings an author of distinction to the Beloit College campus for all or part of one semester to teach an advanced course in creative writing. “Mackeys,” as these professors are called, also give public readings, which are among the most anticipated and best attended events on campus.

Learn more about the Lois and Willard Mackey Chair in Creative Writing and the most recent resident.


Robert Wrigley

2016-2017

Robert Wrigley will publish his twelfth book of poems, Box, in March, 2017.  He is the recipient of the Kingsley Tufts Award, The Poets’ Prize, the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award, and a Pacific Northwest Book Award, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts.  His poems have appeared three times in Best American Poetry; once in Best of the Best American Poetry; seven times in the Pushcart Prize Anthology; as well as in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, and the Times Literary Supplement, among many other magazines and journals.  He is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Idaho and lives in the woods with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes.


George Dawes Green

2015-2016

George Dawes Green created the global storytelling organization The Moth in 1997. He is the author of three highly acclaimed novels: The Caveman’s Valentine, which won an Edgar award for Best First Mystery, and was made into a motion picture starring Samuel L. Jackson; The Juror, which was the basis for a film starring Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore; and Ravens, which was featured on many Best Novel of the Year lists for 2009, including Publisher’s Weekly, London’s Daily Mirror, and Entertainment Weekly.


Susan Choi

2014-2015

Susan Choi was born in South Bend, Ind., and raised there and in Houston, Texas. She studied literature at Yale University and writing at Cornell University, and worked for several years as a fact-checker for The New Yorker.

Her first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. Her third novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2010 she was named the inaugural recipient of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award.

A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, she lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband, Pete Wells, and their sons.


Scott Russell Sanders

2013-2014

Scott Russell Sanders is the author of 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, including A Private History of Awe and A Conservationist Manifesto. The best of his essays from the past 30 years, plus nine new essays, are collected in Earth Works, published in 2012 by Indiana University Press. Among his honors are the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, the Mark Twain Award, the Cecil Woods Award for Nonfiction, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 2012, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University, where he taught from 1971 to 2009.


Kevin Young

2012-2013

Kevin Young is the author of seven books of poetry, including Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (2011) and Jelly Roll (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 (2010) and Best American Poetry 2011. 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.

View photos from Kevin Young's reading.

Watch Kevin Young read his work at Beloit College.


Giles Foden

2011-2012

British author Giles Foden is best known for his award-winning novel, The Last King of Scotland, which was adapted into the 2007 Oscar-nomiated film of the same name. Depicting 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 (1998) won a Whitbread First Novel Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize. Foden is also the author of Ladysmith, Zanzibar, Turbulence, and Mimi and Toutou Go Forth. He currently teaches creative writing at the University of East Anglia in England.

Watch Giles Foden read from his work at Beloit College.


James McManus

2010-2011

James McManus is a novelist, poet, and a winner of the Peter Lisagor Award for sports journalism. He teaches writing and comparative literature at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, including a course on the literature and science of poker.

Watch James McManus read from Cowboys Full.


Linda Gregerson

2009-2010

Poet Linda Gregerson is a 2007 National Book Award finalist, a recent Guggenheim Fellow, and directs the master of fine arts program in creative writing at the University of Michigan. She is the author of several books of poetry and literary criticism, and her poems have appeared in publications including The Best American Poetry, Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, and TriQuarterly. 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.


Scott Russell Sanders

2008-2009

Scott Russell Sanders is the author of more than 20 books, a range of novels, collections of stories, and works of personal nonfiction, including Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World (1994), Writing from the Center (1995), Hunting for Hope: A Father’s Journeys (1999), the Pulitzer Prize-nominated A Private History of Awe (2006), and A Conservationist Manifesto (2009). He was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


Richard Bausch

2007-2008

Fiction writer Richard Bausch is the author of over 17 novels and short story collections, including Real Presence (1980) 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.


Robert Stone

2006-2007

Robert Stone has been called one of the best of the post-Vietnam 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.


William Least Heat-Moon

2005-2006

William Least 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.   


Billy Collins

2003-2004

Billy Collins was appointed as the 2001-2003 Library of Congress Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. Collins has published seven books of poetry including The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize finalist, and Questions About Angels (1991), a National Poetry Series selection by Edward Hirsch. Collins' poetry has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, and a variety of periodicals including The American Poetry Review, Harper's, and The New Yorker. He also is Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York and a former Literary Lion of the New York Public Library.


Pam Houston

2002-2003

Pam Houston is the award-wining author of books including Cowboys Are My Weakness (1993), Waltzing the Cat (1999), A Little More About Me (2000), and Sight Hound (2006) and Contents May Have Shifted (2012). Her stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories Collections, the O. Henry Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century. Houston teaches in the graduate writing program at the University of California-Davis.


Patricia Hampl

2001-2002

Patricia Hampl is Regents Professor and McKnight Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota where she teaches in the master of fine arts program of the English department. Hampl's books include A Romantic Education (1999), her memoir about her Czech heritage, and Virgin Time (1993), a memoir about her Catholic upbringing and an inquiry into contemplative life. She also has two collections of poetry, Woman before an Aquarium (1978) and Resort and Other Poems (1983). 


Bei Dao

2000-2001

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.


Ron Carlson

1999-2000

Ron Carlson is a novelist and writer of short stories. His Bigfoot stories were anthologized in the prestigious Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, and his 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. Carlson is the former director of Arizona State University’s creative writing program, and he currently teaches at the University of California-Irvine.


Li-Young Lee

1998-1999

Li-Young Lee is a highly acclaimed Asian-American poet and winner of many awards for his riveting autobiographical verse.   He has taught at several universities, including Northwestern and the University of Iowa, and he is the author of Behind My Eyes (2008), Book of My Nights (2001), which won the 2002 William Carlos Williams Award, The City in Which I Love You (1991), which was the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection, and Rose (1986), which won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award.


Amy Hempel

1997-1998

Amy Hempel is one of the most prominent of the new American "minimalist" writers. Hempel has produced many collections of short stories including At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom (1990) and Tumble Home (1997). She writes articles, essays, and short stories for such publications as Vanity Fair, Interview, GQ, ELLE, Harper's Magazine, and The Quarterly. She won the Ambassador Book Award in 2007 for The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel (2006), which was also named as one of The New York Times' Ten Best Books of the year. She won the Rea Award for the Short Story in 2008, and she received the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction in 2009.


Denise Levertov

1996-1997

Denise Levertov (1923-1997) was 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 (1987) and A Door in the Hive (1989), and she also published criticism and translations. 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.


Edward Hoagland

1995-1996

Edward Hoagland is an author best known for his nature and travel writing. His nonfiction 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 University, Sarah Lawrence College, The City University of New York, the University of Iowa, the University of California-Davis, Columbia University, and Brown University, and he is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships. In 2005, Hoagland retired from a teaching position at Bennington College in Vermont.


Peter Matthiessen

1994-1995

Peter Matthiessen is 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 National Book Award for The Snow Leopard (1978). Matthiessen’s most recent works include Baikal: Sacred Sea of Siberia (1992) where he recounts his visit to Siberia and Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake on the planet; Shadows of Africa (1992), which includes his essays on Africa from South Sudan to Zaire; and East of Lo Monthang: In the Land of Mustang (1995).


Carolyn Kizer

1993-1994

Carolyn Kizer is the author of eight books of poetry including Cool Calm & Collected (2000), Harping On: Poems 1985-1995 (1996), The Nearness of You: Poems for Men (1986), and Yin (1984), which won a Pulitzer Prize. She is a former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and she served as the first director of the Literature Program at the National Endowment for the Arts from 1966-1970.


Rick Bass

1992-1993

Rick Bass is the author of 26 books of fiction and nonfiction, including the forthcoming work of nonfiction The Black Rhinos of Namibia (2012). His nature-writing fiction has been called one of "tomorrow's classics" by critic George Plimpton.   


Ursula K. LeGuin

1991-1992

Ursula K. LeGuin is one of the most celebrated writers of speculative fiction in the United States. The Left Hand of Darkness won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1970, and her subsequent novel, The Dispossessed, made her the first person to win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel twice for the same two books. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for Unlocking the Air and Other Stories.


William Stafford

1990-1991

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.


Tess Gallagher

1989-1990

Tess Gallagher 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.


Raymond Carver

1988

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.