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Looking for a book to settle in with? Start with this selection of some of the most recent books by creative writing M.F.A. graduates in the Department of English. Since the program began in 1962, readers have turned to its alumni’s works—many critically acclaimed and best-selling—for diverse voices and new perspectives in cultural conversations about race, identity, family, history and culture.

You can find more recent works online at our M.F.A. Alumni Books list, or if you're looking for a particular author, check our M.F.A. Alumni Authors page.

Finding Miracles book cover

Fifteen-year-old Milly Kaufman is an average American teenager until Pablo, a new student at her school, inspires her to search for her birth family in his native country.

Julia Alvarez G’75 has written novels, nonfiction, poetry collections and books for children and young adults, earning many awards, such as the Latina Leader Award in Literature. In the Time of the Butterflies, with over one million copies in print, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program, and in 2013 President Barack Obama awarded Alvarez the National Medal of Arts.

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge cover

Find biting social commentary through this tale of uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge and goblin archivist Werfel, who encounter amazing double crosses, blunders and cultural misunderstandings that could spark war for their nations. Written with Newbery Honoree Eugene Yelchin.

M.T. Anderson G’98 is the author of Feed, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, winner of the National Book Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and a Printz Honor. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Chaon's Ill Will book cover.

Two sensational unsolved crimes—one in the past, another in the present—are linked by one man’s memory and self-deception in a chilling novel of literary suspense.

Dan Chaon G’90 is a National Book Award finalist whose novels have been widely noted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly and many others. The recipient of the 2006 Academy Award in Literature, he is the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College.

Clues from the Animal Kingdom cover.

In his fifth collection of poems, Christopher Kennedy draws inspiration from animals and their instincts and his Irish Catholic working-class roots, transcending grief and depression by finding a place in the natural world.

Christopher Kennedy G’88 is the recipient of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and is one of the translators of Light and Heavy Things: Selected Poems of Zeeshan Sahil, part of the Lannan Translation Series. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Plume, New York Tyrant, Ninth Letter, Wigleaf, The Threepenny Review, Mississippi Review and McSweeney’s. In 2011, he was awarded an NEA Fellowship for Poetry. He directs Syracuse University’s M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing.

Kitano's Sky Country book cover.

Christine Kitano's second poetry collection channels the real and imagined immigration experiences of her own family―her grandmothers, who fled Korea and Japan, and her father, a Japanese American who was incarcerated during World War II. It was a finalist for the 2018 Paterson Poetry Prize.

Christine Kitano's G’10 had her first collection of poetry, Birds of Paradise, published by Lynx House Press. She is an assistant professor of creative writing, poetry and Asian American literature at Ithaca College.

McInerney's Wine Reads

This richly literary anthology presents memorable fiction and nonfiction about the making, selling and appreciation of fine wine through excerpts from novels, short fiction, memoirs and nonfiction.

Jay McInerney G’86 is an acclaimed wine columnist and the author of Bright Lights, Big City; Ransom; Story of My Life, Brightness Falls; The Last of the Savages; Model Behavior; How It Ended; and The Good Life. He lives in New York and Nashville, Tennessee.

Mahta's No Other World

A compelling debut novel set in rural America and India in the 1980s and ’90s is part coming-of-age story about a gay Indian American boy, part family saga about an immigrant family’s struggles to find a sense of belonging, identity and hope.

Rahul Mehta G’03 is the author of the prize-winning collection Quarantine. His short stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune and Marie Claire India. Born and raised in West Virginia, he lives in Philadelphia and teaches creative writing at the University of the Arts.

Messud's Burning of a Girl cover.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school, but their paths diverge as they enter their teenage years. This complex examination of youth and friendship crafts a true portrait of female adolescence.

Claire Messud G’90 is a recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Author of six works of fiction with another slated for publication later this year, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo

In February 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln’s beloved 11-year-old son, Willie, falls gravely ill and dies, Lincoln must face his grief. Much of this novel is set in the bardo, an intermediate space between life and rebirth in Buddhist tradition, with an unforgettable cast of historical and invented characters.

George Saunders G’88 is the author of nine books and recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Man Booker Prize. He has received MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, the PEN/Malamud Prize for Excellence in the Short Story and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He teaches in Syracuse University’s creative writing program.

Strayed's edition of Best American Travel Writing.

Leave your worries behind and explore unfamiliar destinations with this far-ranging collection of top travel writing.

Cheryl Strayed G’02 is a best-selling author whose works have been translated into 40 languages, recommended by Oprah and adapted into film. Her essays have been widely published in numerous publications. The co-host of the podcast Dear Sugar Radio, Strayed lives in Portland, Oregon.

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