MFA Writers-in-Residence

Every year, the MFA-Creative Writing program hosts several writers for extended visits; these writers meet with the MFA students in social settings, lead classroom discussions, read manuscripts, and provide mentoring and inspiration throughout their stays. These writers can stay from three days to three weeks. Recently, writers-in-residence have included Percival Everett, Madeline Miller, Sharon Olds, André Aciman, and Danez Smith.

Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence

The Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence program is designed to bring emerging writers to the MFA program as guest faculty. These writers help expand the scope of our course offerings. Past designees have included:

2023-2024: Leah Johnson. Leah Johnson is an eternal midwesterner and author of award-winning books for children and young adults. Her bestselling debut YA novel, You Should See Me in a Crown, was a Stonewall Honor Book, and the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA pick. In 2021, TIME named You Should See Me in a Crown one of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time. Leah’s essays and cultural criticism can be found in Teen Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan among others. Her debut middle grade, Ellie Engle Saves Herself is forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion in May 2023. When she’s not writing or ranting about pop culture and politics on Twitter, Leah is a professor of creative writing and composition.

2021-2022: Hanif Abdurraqib. Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of three essay collections and two books of poetry: They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (2017, Two Dollar Radio);  Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest (University of Texas, 2019), A Little Devil In America (2021, Random House); The Crown Ain’t Worth Much (2016, Button Poetry); and A Fortune For Your Disaster (2019, Tin House). He is a graduate of Beechcroft High School and an editor-at-large at Tin House.

2017: Justin Taylor, fiction. He is the author of the story collections Flings (HarperCollins, 2014) and Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever (Harper Perennial, 2010), and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy (Harper Perennial, 2011). His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, and The New Republic. He is the fiction editor for The Literary Review and lives (most of the time) in Portland, Oregon. Findable online at and @my19thcentury.

2014–2015: Alix Lambert, documentary filmmaker and television writer. Lambert’s documentaries include The Mark of Cain, Bayou Blue, and Mentor. She is the author of Crime and The Silencing.

2010–2011: Michael Dahlie, fiction. Our first Booth Tarkington Writer-in-Residence, Michael Dahlie, author of A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living and The Best of Youth, joined our faculty full-time as of August 2012.