BFA Faculty

Jennifer Atkinson

Jennifer Atkinson

Professor

Jennifer Atkinson is the author of five collections of poetry--The Dogwood Tree, The Drowned CityDrift IceCanticle of the Night Path, and most recently, The Thinking Eye. Her poetry can be seen in Field, The Cincinnati Review, The Missouri Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bennington Review, Image, and elsewhere. Both her poetry and her nonfiction have been honored with Pushcart Prizes. She taught in Nepal and Japan and at the University of Iowa and Washington University before joining the faculty of George Mason University, where she usually teaches Creative Writing, Poetry Writing (at the graduate and undergraduate levels), and recent and contemporary American poetry.

Scott W Berg

Scott W Berg

Associate Professor

Scott W. Berg is an author, journalist, and professor of nonfiction writing. He has published two books of narrative history -- Grand Avenues: The Story of Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, D.C., and 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End -- and is now at work on a third, The Burning of the World, about the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire. In 2013, 38 Nooses was named a Main Selection of the History Book Club and awarded the Library of Virginia Literary Award in nonfiction. In 2016 and 2017, Scott collaborated with producer Jonathan Prince (American Dreams) on a full treatment for an eight-episode miniseries of 38 Nooses, developing the project for executive producer Robert Redford, Sundance Productions, and MGM Studios. The project is currently being shopped to networks.
 
Since 1994, Scott has taught nonfiction writing and research at Mason. His courses have included graduate- and undergraduate-level nonfiction literature and writing, literature pedagogy, professional and technical writing, science writing, and book production. Scott helped to found and acts as the editorial advisor for Stillhouse Press, a nonprofit small press staffed by GMU undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni. He also serves as the internship coordinator for English majors and others interested in work experience related to writing, editing, publication, and related research. (To read through the department's internships link, please go to english.gmu.edu/internships.)
 
Since 1999, Scott has been a regular contributor of feature articles and reviews to the Washington Post, and he has frequently given book talks and readings at such venues as the Smithsonian Institution, the Boston Athenaeum, Politics & Prose Bookstore, the National Building Museum, the Virginia Historical Society, the U.S. Treasury Executive Institute, and many others. Radio interviews in support of Scott's writing have included National Public Radio, Bloomberg Radio (New York), WNYC Radio (New York), and WAMU Radio (Washington, D.C.), and he has been a featured speaker on television shows produced by PBS, the National Geographic Society, and Twin Cities Public Television.
 
Scott is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota and studied at the University of Minnesota, Miami University of Ohio, and Mason. He lives with his wife and two sons (ages 16 and 14) in Reston, Virginia.

 

Tania Rachel James

Tania Rachel James

Associate Professor

Tania James is the author of the novel The Tusk That Did the Damage (Knopf, 2015), Aerogrammes and Other Stories (Knopf, 2012), and the novel Atlas of Unknowns (Knopf 2009). Tusk was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and named a Best Book of 2015 by The San Francisco Chronicle and NPR, and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and longlisted for the Financial Times Oppenheimer Award. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Granta, Kenyon Review, One Story, and A Public Space. She has received fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, the Macdowell Colony, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Fulbright Program.

Helon Habila Ngalabak

Helon Habila Ngalabak

Professor

Helon Habila's current book is The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria, a nonfiction investigation into the kidnapping of 276 girls in Nigeria by Islamist militants in 2014. His first novel, Waiting for an Angel, has been translated into many langauges including Dutch, Italian, Swedish, and French.  His writing has won many prizes including the Caine Prize, 2001; the Commonweath Writers Prize, Africa region, 2003; the Emily Balch Prize, 2008, and the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction, 2015.

He is a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review.  His second novel, Measuring Time, published in 2007, won the Virginia Library Foundation Fiction Award, 2008, and was shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, 2008.  His third novel, Oil on Water, was published in the U.S. in 2011.  His stories, articles, reviews, and poems have appeared in various magazines and papers including Granta, AGNI, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, and the London Guardian.  His short story, The Hotel Malogo, was selected for the Best American Non-required Reading Anthology.  Habila is the editor of the Granta Book of African Short Story, 2011.

Kara Oakleaf

Kara Oakleaf

Director, Fall for the Book Festival

Eric Pankey

Eric Pankey

Professor

Eric Pankey (MFA, University of Iowa, 1983) is the author of many collections of poems: For the New Year (Atheneum 1984),which was selected as the winner of the Walt Whitman, Heartwood (Atheneum 1988), which was reissued by Orchises Press in 1998,  Apocrypha (Alfred A. Knopf 1991), The Late Romances (Alfred A. Knopf 1997), Cenotaph (Alfred A. Knopf 2000), Oracle Figures (Ausable Press 2003), Reliquaries (Ausable Press 2005), The Pear as One Example: New and Selected Poems (Ausable Press 2008), Trace (Milkweed Editions 2013), Dismantling the Angel (Free Verse Editions 2013), which won the New Measures Prize, Crow-Work (Milkweed Editions 2015), and Augury (Milkweed Editions 2017) His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in such journals as The Iowa Review, The Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review,The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Yale Review,and .  His work has been supported by fellowships from John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Brown Foundation.  He teaches poetry workshops and courses on modern and contemporary poetry. He is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University. A new collection of poetry, The Owl of Minerva, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2019. A collection of prose poems, Alias, and a collection of essays, Vestiges: Notes, Responses, and Essays 1988-2018 are both forthcoming from Free Verse Editions in 2019

Suzanne Rigdon

Suzanne Rigdon

Manager, Fall for the Book Festival

Suzanne Rigdon holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University, and a BA in English and History from Hartwick College. She is the Festival Manager for Fall for the Book, and teaches English Composition. Her debut novel, Into the Night, was published in 2014 with Spence City Books. Her short prose has appeared in Coldnoon Magazine, The Northern Virginia Review, Bartleby Snopes, and The Albion Review.

Laura Ellen Scott

Laura Ellen Scott

Undergraduate Academic Advisor

Professor

Laura Scott received her MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University in 1993. She teaches fiction writing and is the Department's Academic Coordinator and primary advisor to undergraduates in the Creative Writing and English majors.

Her debut novel, Death Wishing, was released in 2011. Her novels The Juliet and The Mean Bone in Her Body were released in 2016. The Mean Bone in Her Body is Book 1 of the New Royal Mysteries series. Book 2, Crybaby Lane, was released 2017.

Art Taylor

Art Taylor

Assistant Director

Associate Professor

Art Taylor teaches creative writing, literature, and composition, and for many years he helped to coordinate marketing for the annual Fall for the Book Festival.

Art won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story for "English 398: Fiction Workshop," originally published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. He is the author of On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and he has won three additional Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, two Macavity Awards, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction. His work has also appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, and he edited Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015, winner of the Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection.

His short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, in the Chesapeake Crime anthologies This Job Is Murder, Homicidal Holidays, and Storm Warning, and in other journals and anthologies. He contributes frequently to the Washington PostWashington Independent Review of Books, and Mystery Scene.

For more information, visit his website at http://www.arttaylorwriter.com, like his author page at Facebook here, or follow him on Twitter at @arttaylorwriter.

Gregg Wilhelm

Gregg Wilhelm

Director

Assistant Professor

Gregg Wilhelm became Director of Creative Writing at Mason in Spring 2018. His expertise covers book publishing, arts administration, and higher education. He started his career at Johns Hopkins University Press, launched three imprints including one with a major independent bookseller, founded nonprofit literary arts organization CityLit Project, and held adjunct and leadership positions at several institutions. Prior to joining the English Department at Mason, Gregg served as Director of Marketing and Enrollment Development at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has sat on grant review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts (FY2014 and FY2019), the Maryland State Arts Council, and the RUBYs Artist Grants.