MFA Program in Creative Writing to Host Celebrated Writers in Camden Series

By Tom McLaughlin

The nation’s top authors, poets, editors, and publishers will once again visit Rutgers University–Camden this fall to lead a series of inspiring and engaging readings and workshops for aspiring writers in the Delaware Valley.

Thanks to funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rutgers–Camden master of fine arts (MFA) program in creative writing – in conjunction with the Writers House at Rutgers–Camden – will continue its celebrated Writers in Camden series, which is free and open to the public.

A group of critically acclaimed authors and poets will read from their works on select Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in various locations on the Rutgers–Camden campus. Question-and-answer sessions and receptions with the authors will follow.

Sept. 14

Gregory Pardlo

Gregory Pardlo

Rutgers–Camden alumni Gregory Pardlo and Susan Muaddi Darraj will kick off the series with readings in the Multi-Purpose Room, located in the Campus Center.

Gregory Pardlo, an assistant professor of English at Rutgers–Camden – where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1999 – earned the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection Digest (Four Way Books). The book was shortlisted for the 2015 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Air Traffic, a memoir in essays, is forthcoming from Knopf. Pardlo joined the faculty of the MFA program in creative writing at Rutgers–Camden in 2016.

Susan Muaddi Darraj, who graduated from Rutgers–Camden with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1997 and a master’s degree in English in 2000, is the author of A Curious Land: Stories from Home (University of Massachusetts Press, 2015) – winner of the AWP Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction – and The Inheritance of Exile (University of Notre Dame Press, 2007). A two-time recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, she is an associate professor of English at Harford Community College and a lecturer in Johns Hopkins University’s master of arts program in writing.

Oct. 26

Idra Novey and Jon Raymond will read in the 401 Penn classroom, accessible from the side of the Paul Robeson Library.

Idra Novey is the author of the debut novel Ways to Disappear, selected as an Editors’ Choice by The New York Times. Her poetry collection Exit, Civilian was selected for the 2011 National Poetry Series. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into eight languages and she has written for The New York Times, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and The Paris Review.

Jon Raymond is the author of the novels Rain Dragon and The Half-Life, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2004, and the short story collection Livability, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and winner of the Oregon Book Award. He is the screenwriter of the film Meek’s Cutoff and cowriter of the films Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy – both based on his short fiction – and the film Night Moves. He also co-wrote the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, winner of five Emmy Awards.

Nov. 30

Jericho Brown and Rick Moody will read in the Multi-Purpose Room.

Jericho Brown is a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Best American Poetry. His first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award, and his second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. He is an associate professor of English and creative writing at Emory University.

Rick Moody is the author of numerous novels, including the bestselling Garden State and The Ice Storm, as well as short fiction collections, including The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven and Demonology. The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions was a winner of the NAMI/Ken Book Award and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for excellence in the memoir. Moody is the recipient of the Addison Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim fellowship.

The Campus Center and the Paul Robeson Library are located between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Rutgers–Camden campus.

In addition to the readings, esteemed writers will host free workshops, open for the public to observe, on select Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4 p.m. in the Writers House, located at 305 Cooper Street on the Rutgers–Camden campus.

For more information on the readings and workshops, visit


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