MFA Faculty

Core Faculty
Amy Gerstler is a writer of poetry, nonfiction and journalism. In 2018 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Penguin published her most recent book of poems, Scattered at Sea, in 2015 and it was long-listed for the National Book Award and short-listed for a Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her book Dearest Creature (Penguin, 2009) was a finalist for an LA Times Book Award and the Poets Prize, and was named of one the New York Times' notable books for 2009. Her previous twelve books include Ghost Girl, Medicine, Crown of Weeds, which won a California Book Award, Nerve Storm, and Bitter Angel, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry Magazine, several volumes of Best American Poetry and The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry and elsewhere. She was the guest editor of the yearly anthology Best American Poetry in 2010. She has taught at the Bennington Writing Seminars program at Bennington College, at Art Center, College of Design in Pasadena, California, and in the Masters of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California as well as at California Institute of the Arts, Cal Tech, the University of Utah, and Pitzer College.

Michelle Latiolais is the Director of the Programs In Writing.  She is the author of the novel Even Now which received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California.  Her second novel, A Proper Knowledge, was published in 2008 by Bellevue Literary Press.  Widow, a collection of stories, Involutions and essays, was released in January 2011 from Bellevue Literary Press, and was a finalist for The Believer Award.  She was released in May 2016 by W.W. Norton & Company, a novel with embedded stories.  Recent work has appeared in Zyzzyva, Santa Monica ReviewJuked and The Kenyon Review.

Claire WatkinsClaire Vaye Watkins was born in Bishop, California in 1984. She was raised by her mother in the Mojave Desert, in Tecopa, California and Pahrump, Nevada. A graduate of the University of Nevada Reno, Claire earned her MFA from the Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. She is the author of the ecofabulist novel Gold Fame Citrus, and the short story collection Battleborn, which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.
Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Granta, The Paris Review, Tin House, Freeman’s, Story Quarterly, The New Republic, and many anthologies including New American Stories, Best of the West, Best of the Southwest, Pushcart Prize XLIII, and The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story. A Guggenheim Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow, and named one of Granta's "Best Young American Novelists" in 2017, Claire lives in the Mojave Desert. Claire’s areas of interest are Creative Writing, Literary Journalism and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Michael Ryan is Director of the MFA Program in Poetry.  He has been teaching creative writing and literature at UCI since 1990. He taught previously at the University of Iowa, Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He has written five books of poems, an autobiography, a memoir, and a collection of essays about poetry and writing for which he has won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Lenore Marshall Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, among many other distinctions. His most recent book of poems, This Morning, was published in 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Visiting Faculty

Once a year the Programs in Writing welcomes two visiting writers to teach the Graduate Writers’ Workshop. In recent years, visiting writers have included: Percival Everett, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Colette LaBouff Atkinson, Charles Baxter, Ann Beattie, Frank Bidart, Don Bogen, Jennifer Clarvoe, Killarney Clary, Stuart Dybek, Doreen Gildroy, Louise Glück, Glen David Gold, Andrew Sean Greer, Linda Gregerson, Robert Hass, Ursula Hegi, Brenda Hillman, Edward Hirsch, Cynthia Huntington, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, William Kittredge, Margot Livesey, Thomas Lux, Heather McHugh, James McMichael, Maile Meloy, Carol Muske-Dukes, Ann Patchett, Robert Pinsky, Martha Rhodes, Mark Richard, Christine Schutt, Jim Shepard, Mona Simpson, Ted Solotaroff, Pamela Stewart, Robert Stone, Mark Strand, Melanie Thernstrom, Lawrence Thornton, Brad Watson and C.K. Williams.