The Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature faculty is comprised of renowned, accomplished writers in fiction and poetry—most of whom write in multiple genres. The award winning faculty embraces diverse theoretical approaches and encourages interdisciplinary studies. The Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature faculty members work closely with students, providing mentoring and guidance for both creative and critical scholarship throughout the duration of the program.

Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender is the author of four books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998), a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000), an LA Times pick of the year, Willful Creatures (2005), chosen by The Believer as one of the best books of the year, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010), winner of the SCIBA Award and an Alex Award. Her short fiction has been widely published in places such as Granta, GQ, Harper's, The Paris Review, McSweeney's, Tin House and more, as well as heard on NPR's "This American Life" and "Selected Shorts". Her books have been translated into sixteen languages.

T.C. Boyle

T. Coraghessan Boyle is the author of seventeen books of fiction, including, most recently, When the Killing's Done (2011), Wild Child & Other Stories (2010), The Women (2009), Talk Talk (2006), The Human Fly (2005), and Tooth and Claw (2005). He received a Ph.D. degree in Nineteenth Century British Literature from the University of Iowa in 1977, his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 1974, and his B.A. in English and History from SUNY Potsdam in 1968. He has been a member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978. His stories have appeared in most of the major American magazines including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, The Paris Review, GQ, Antaeus, Granta and McSweeney’s, and he has been the recipient of a number of literary awards.

Percival Everett

Percival Everett has published twenty four books, including the novels Assumption: A Novel (2011); I Am Not Sidney Poitier (2009); The Water Cure (2007); American Desert (2006); Wounded (2005), recipient of the PEN USA 2006 Literary Award; Erasure (2001), for which he received the Academy Award for Literature of the American Academy of Arts and letters and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and Glyph (1999). He is the author of multiple collections of poetry, including Swimming Swimmers Swimming (2010) and re:f (gesture) (2006), the short story collection Damned If I Do (2004), and the nonfiction book A History of the African American people (proposed) by Strom Thurmond, as told to Percival Everett and James Kincaid (2004). He has been the recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fellowship, and a New American Writing Award, among other distinctions. 

Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin is the author of six collections of poetry, Tall If (2008), Bright Hunger (2004), White City (2000), Quick, Now, Always (1996), Against the Meanwhile (1989), and The Halo of Desire (1987). He has also translated French and Romanian poetry.His poetry and essays have appeared in many literary magazines including Antaeus, The American Poetry Review , The Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, New England Review, and The New Republic. Recognition for his work includes a The Nation/Discovery Award, four Pushcart Prizes, two Colorado Book Awards, the James Wright Poetry Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Art Council, Colorado Council for the Arts, and the Fulbright, Lilly, and Wurlitzer Foundations.

Dana Johnson

Dana Johnson is the author of Elsewhere, California and Break Any Woman Down, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in the literary journals Slake, Callaloo, and The Iowa Review, among others, and anthologized in Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women, The Dictionary of Failed Relationships, and California Uncovered: Stories for the 21st Century.

Anna Journey

Anna Journey is the author of the poetry collections Vulgar Remedies (2013) and If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (2009), which was selected by Thomas Lux for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have been published in American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, FIELD, The Kenyon Review, and The Southern Review. Her creative nonfiction appears in AGNI, The Antioch ReviewPrairie Schooner, and The Southern Review, and her criticism appears in American Poetry ReviewFIELD, Kenyon Review Online, Parnassus, and Plath Profiles. Journey has received fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Susan McCabe

Susan McCabe is the author of four books: Descarte's Nightmare (poems, 2008), Cinematic Modernism: Modern Poetry and Film (2005), Swirl (poems, 2003), and Elizabeth Bishop: Her Poetics of Loss (1994). Her essays and reviews have appeared in numerous journals, including Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, Mosaic, and Modernism/Modernity. She has published her poems widely in magazines such as Volt, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Sonora Review, Barrow Street, Washington, Iowa Review, Bombay Gin, and The Journal of American Poetry Review. She won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize for Descarte's Nightmare(2008).

Carol Muske-Dukes

Carol Muske-Dukes is the author of eight books of poems most recently, Twin Cities (2011), a National Book Award finalist;  four novels including the recently published Channeling Mark Twain (2008), an LA Times best seller; and two collections of essays, Married to the Icepick Killer, A Poet in Hollywood (2002) and Women and Poetry (1997). She is a regular critic for the NY Times and LA Times book reviews and was a regular poetry columnist (Poet’s Corner) for the LA Times Book Review for many years. She is a professor of English at USC and the founder of the Ph.D. Program in Creative Writing & Literature. Her many awards include a Guggenheim, NEA, Ingram-Merrill, finalist for the LA Times Book Prize, several NY Times Notable Book citations and six Pushcart Prizes. Carol Muske-Dukes is the current Poet Laureate of California, appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger on November 14, 2008.

David St. John

David St. John has been honored, over the course of his career, with many of the most significant prizes for poets, including both the Rome Fellowship and the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the O. B. Hardison Prize (a career award for teaching and poetic achievement) from The Folger Shakespeare Library, and the George Drury Smith Lifetime Achievement Award from Beyond Baroque. He is the author of eleven collections of poetry (including Study for the World’s Body, nominated for The National Book Award in Poetry), most recently the collections, The Auroras and The Window, as well as a volume of essays, interviews and reviews entitled Where the Angels Come Toward Us. He is also the co-editor of American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry. David St. John has written libretti for the opera, THE FACE, and for the choral symphony, THE SHORE. He lives in Venice Beach, California.

David Treuer

David Treuer is the author of four novels including Rez Life (2012), The Translation of Dr. Apelles (2006), The Hiawatha (1999) and Little (1995), as well as a book of essays entitled Native American Fiction; A User's Manual (2006). The Translation of Dr. Apelles was named a “Best Book of the Year” in 2006 by The Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages. His essays and stories have appeared in Esquire, TriQuarterly, The Washington Post, the LA Times, and Slate.com. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the 1996 Minnesota Book Award, and fellowships from the NEH, Bush Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Marianne Wiggins

Marianne Wiggins is the author of ten books of fiction including John Dollar (1989), Evidence of Things Unseen (2004), a National Book Award finalist in fiction and Pulitzer Prize finalist; and The Shadow Catcher (2007), recently nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other works include Went South (1980), Separate Checks (1984), Herself in Love (1987), Eveless Eden (1995), Almost Heaven (1998), and the short story collection Bet They'll Miss Us When We're Gone (1991). She has won an NEA grant, the Whiting Writer’s Award, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize.

  • Janalynn Bliss, Creative Writing Graduate Coordinator
  • University of Southern California
  • Department of English
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway, THH 431
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354