Mary Routt Chair of Writing

The Mary Routt Chair of Writing position was made possible by a donation from journalist Mary Patterson Routt, who was a member of the first board of trustees for Scripps College, serving in that capacity from 1926 to 1965 and playing an active role in the development of the college. Her donation allows the Writing Program to invite a nationally recognized professional writer to campus each spring, where he or she will teach a semester-long course in his or her specialty, deliver public presentations, and arrange for other acclaimed writers to visit campus for readings.

Chair
Spring 2014 Danzy Senna Scripps is honored to have Danzy Senna as the Mary Routt Chair for 2014. Senna is an award-winning author of four novels and several short stories and essays which explore themes of multiracial identities and personal histories. Her first book, Caucasia (Riverhead Books 1998), was awarded a “Best Book of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times (1998), the Book of the Month Club Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction (1999), and the Whiting Writers Award (2002). Her other novels include You Are Free: Stories (Riverhead Books 2011), Where Did You Sleep Last Night? A Personal History (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2009), Symptomatic (Riverhead Books, 2006), and Other Languages Are All We Have (Riverhead Books, forthcoming). Her essays and short stories have appeared in such publications as Vogue (U.S.) and The Boston Review. Among her previous appointments, she has been the Remsen Bird Artist-in-Residence at Occidental College and held the Jenks’ Chair of Contemporary American Letters at the College of the Holy Cross. Senna is an alumnus of Stanford University (BA) and UC Irvine (MFA).
Spring 2013 Meghan O’Rourke Meghan O’Rourke is the author of two volumes of poetry, Halflife (Norton 2007) and Once (Norton 2011), as well as numerous poems published in anthologies (eg Best American Poetry 2007, The Pushcart Prize Anthology) and journals and magazines (e.g. The New Yorker, Poetry, The New Republic). She has also published a memoir/essay on mourning, The Long Goodbye (Riverhead 2011), and over a hundred essays and reviews (in publications such as The New Yorker, Slate, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation). Winner of the Pushcart Prize in 2006 and 2007, among other awards, she teaches at New York University and Princeton, serves as an editor for several top publications, and is the founding editor of Double X, a website of politics and culture for women.
Spring 2012 Helena María Viramontes Helena María Viramontes is the author of the novel Their Dogs Came with Them and two previous works of fiction, The Moths and Other Stories and the novel Under the Feet of Jesus. Named a USA Ford Fellow in 2007 by United States Artists, she is also the recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, a Sundance Institute Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the Luis Leal Award.
Spring 2011 David Treuer David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the NEH, Bush Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He is the author of three novels and a book of criticism. His essays and stories have appeared in Esquire, TriQuarterly, The Washington Post, the LA Times, and Slate.com. Treuer published his first novel, Little, in 1995. He received his PhD in anthropology and published his second novel, The Hiawatha, in 1999. His third novel The Translation of Dr Apelles and a book of criticism,Native American Fiction; A User’s Manual appeared in 2006. The Translation of Dr Apelles was named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages.
Spring 2010 Marcia Aldrich Marcia Aldrich received her master’s in creative writing and her Ph.D in English from the University of Washington; she is an associate professor of creative writing at Michigan State University. She is the author of a memoir called Girl Rearing, as well as poems, short stories, essays, and works of creative nonfiction which have appeared in a wide variety of venues, including Seneca Review, Northwest Review, Mississippi Review, The Best American Essays, The Beacon Book of Essays by Contemporary American Women and been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. Last fall her essay “My Mother’s Toenails” appeared in The Best of Brevity, and most recently her essay “The Bed of Metamorphosis,” originally published in The Fourth Genre, was selected as a Notable Essay of 2006. She is completing a second collection of essays tentatively titled The Mother Bed; she is also Senior Editor of The Fourth Genre.
Spring 2009 Bernard Cooper Bernard Cooper received his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts in 1979. He has taught at the UCLA Writer’s Program, Antioch University Los Angeles, and Bennington College. He writes in a number of genres: memoir, essay, fiction, and poetry; some of his work is a blend of these. His first book, Maps to Anywhere (1990), won the 1991 PEN/Hemingway Award for Fiction, and the title piece of his third book, Truth Serum, won an O. Henry Award in 1994; he has also won a Guggenheim fellowship (1991) and an NEA fellowship (2004). Other works include A Year of Rhymes, a novel, Guess Again, a collection of short stories, and most recently, a memoir called The Bill from My Father. His stories, essays, and art reviews have appeared in anthologies such as The Best American Gay Fiction 1996 as well as in the Georgia Review, Harper’s, Los Angeles Magazine, the Mid-American Review, Nerve, the New York Times Magazine, the North American Review, the Paris Review, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, the Threepenny Review, and on This American Life.
Spring 2008 John D’Agata John D’Agata holds MFAs from Iowa in both nonfiction and poetry and is an assistant professor in Iowa’s Non-Fiction MFA program as well as the editor of lyric essays for the Seneca Review. He is the author of Halls of Fame, a collection of lyric essays, and the editor of The Next American Essay, an anthology of innovative American nonfiction from the past 35 years as well as two historical companions to The Next American Essay: The Lost Origins of the Essay, an anthology of innovative essays from ancient Sumer up through contemporary Slovenia, and The American Essay, an anthology of exclusively American work from 1680 to 1974. He has taught at Colgate University, Columbia University, and California Institute of the Arts. His course at Scripps was entitled “The Lyric Essay” and focused on experimental writing and creative non-fiction; he read from his forthcoming booklength essay Lifespan of a Fact on Nevada’s Yucca Mountain Project.
Spring 2007 Sandra Tsing Loh Sandra Tsing Loh holds a degree from USC’s Master of Professional Writing Program. Her books include Mother on Fire (2008), A Year in Van Nuys (2001), Aliens in America (1997), Depth Takes a Holiday: Essays From Lesser Los Angeles (1996), and a novel, If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now, which was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the 100 best fiction books of 1998. Her story “My Father’s Chinese Wives” received a 1997 Pushcart Prize and was featured in the 1999 Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. She is a writer/performer of several solo shows, a musical composer, a pianist, and a regular commentator on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and on Ira Glass’ “This American Life.” She produces a daily segment on NPR called “The Loh Down on Science” and her weekly segment “The Loh Life” is also on NPR. She is currently a contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly and was a 2006 finalist for the National Magazine Award.Her Scripps course focused on memoir, and she read from her well-known book review of Joan Sewell’s book I’d Rather Eat Chocolate: Learning to Love My Low Libido for Atlantic Monthly.