Known as the "Dean of Western Writers," acclaimed author Wallace Stegner dedicated his life not only to writing, but also to helping other writers develop their craft.
In an effort to address a dearth of formal creative writing instruction, Stegner founded the Creative Writing Program and the Stegner Writing Fellowships during his tenure at Stanford. Established in 1946, just after World War II, Stegner saw the fellowships as an opportunity not just for published writers but also for the many "gifted writers" he saw among the returning servicemen.
Over the past six decades, hundreds of fiction writers and poets have benefited from Stegner’s philosophy that "minds grow by with other minds." Since it was founded, weekly workshop sessions have been a cornerstone of the fellowship curriculum.
Like the fellows before them, the five poets and five fiction writers who will come to Stanford in the fall will attend a three-hour long workshop every week for the two years they are here.
Eavan Boland, an English professor and director of the Creative Writing Program , said the workshops, which are held separately for the poets and fiction writers, "extend the rationale of bringing writers together in one place." Boland, an accomplished poet, also said the workshops "allow a community of craft to develop where the process of writing is discussed as well as the product."
Each quarter a different member of the Creative Writing faculty leads the workshop, giving fellows the opportunity to work with the distinguished poets and writers of the Stanford community.
Fellows also participate in campus reading and lecture events throughout the year and act as writing mentors to Stanford undergrads in Levinthal Tutorials and the Writer’s Studio.
Chosen from a pool of over 1,700 applicants, each 2012 fellow is very near to publishing his or her first book, or has already done so. In the past, writers as young as 22 and as old as 75, including some with no formal training, have been admitted to the program. As always, the goal is to finish the fellowship with a manuscript ready for publication.
Fellows make a variety of career moves in "life after the Stegner." As Boland said, "A remarkable number of leading American writers have emerged over the years who finished their early work in the program, from Tillie Olsen to Robert Pinsky, from Tobias Wolff to Thom Gunn, from Larry McMurtry to Raymond Carver."
The 2012- 2014 Stegner Fellows
Kimberly Grey earned a bachelor’s degree in literature from Richard Stockton College and an MFA in poetry from Adelphi University. Her work is forthcoming in The Southern Review, Boston Review, and Colorado Review. She is currently completing her first book of poems, The Opposite of Robot is Light, and plans to start a second collection during her time as a Stegner fellow.
Christopher Kempf is from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He received his master of fine arts degree in poetry from Cornell University, and his work has appeared in The Journal, RATTLE, Sycamore Review, New York Quarterly, and DIAGRAM, among other places. He is currently at work on his second poetry manuscript, Historia calamitatum, about the recent economic collapse.