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Faculty and Staff

The most important element of an education in writing is the quality of the program’s faculty and staff. Students attending the College of Charleston’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program benefit from the wisdom, expertise, and love of the word and its teaching by nationally and internationally acclaimed writers who have long been practicing and professing the art. Though the program is an intimate one with a small core faculty, the following numbers attest to the vast experience they bring to their art and classrooms:

  • A combined 75 years of teaching
  • A combined 25 books published
  • Over 150 published stories
  • Over 200 published poems
  • Over 60 published essays

In addition, faculty and staff have through the years served in various capacities, from first readers to editors, with such journals as The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Epoch, Cimarron Review, The Journal, Writers Forum, Ironhorse Literary Review, Blue Mesa Review, Denver Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Review of Contemporary Fiction and, of course, Crazyhorse, bringing to our students a deep knowledge of the writing and publishing process.

Bret Lott

Photo - Bret LottBret Lott is the bestselling author of fourteen books, most recently the nonfiction collection Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian (Crossway 2013) and the novel Dead Low Tide (Random House 2012). Other books include the story collection The Difference Between Women and Men, the nonfiction book Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer’s Life, and the novels Jewel, an Oprah Book Club pick, and A Song I Knew by Heart. His work has appeared in, among other places, The Yale Review, The New York Times, The Georgia Review, Vanity Fair Online and in dozens of anthologies.

Born in Los Angeles, he received his BA in English from Cal State Long Beach in 1981, and his MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1984, where he studied under James Baldwin. From 1986 to 2004 he was writer-in-residence and professor of English at The College of Charleston, leaving to take the position of editor and director of the journal The Southern Review at Louisiana State University. Three years later, in the fall of 2007, he returned to The College of Charleston and the job he most loves: teaching. His honors include being named Fulbright Senior American Scholar and writer-in-residence to Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, speaking on Flannery O’Connor at The White House, and having served as a member of the National Council on the Arts from 2006 to 2012.


  • Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian (nonfiction), Crossway, 2013
  • Dead Low Tide (novel), Random House, 2012
  • Ancient Highway (novel), Random House, 2008
  • The Difference Between Women and Men (stories), Random House, 2005
  • Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer’s Life (nonfiction), Ballantine Books, 2005
  • A Song I Knew By Heart (novel), Random House, 2004
  • The Hunt Club (novel), Villard Books of Random House, 1998
  • Fathers, Sons and Brothers (nonfiction), 1997
  • How To Get Home (stories), John F. Blair, Publisher, 1996
  • Reed’s Beach (novel), Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • Jewel (novel), Simon and Schuster, 1991
  • A Dream of Old Leaves (stories), Viking, 1989
  • A Stranger’s House (novel), Viking, 1988
  • The Man Who Owned Vermont (novel), Viking, 1987

Anthony Varallo

Photo - Anthony VaralloAnthony Varallo’s fourth story collection, Everyone Was There, winner of the Elixir Press 2016 Fiction Award. He is the author of three previous collections: This Day in History (University of Iowa Press), winner of the 2005 John Simmons Short Fiction Award and finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize; Out Loud (University of Pittsburgh Press), winner of the 2008 Drue Heinz Literature Prize; and Think of Me and I’ll Know (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press), finalist for the 2013 Balcones Fiction Prize. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature, the Journal Short Story Award, the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, an AWP Intro Journals award, and other awards. His short stories have appeared in AGNI, Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Epoch, Harvard Review, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. He received his PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2005, where he was a Senior Advisor in Fiction and Contest Coordinator for the Missouri Review. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa/Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1997, where he studied under Marilynne Robinson, and was the recipient of a prestigious Iowa Arts Fellowship, the highest fellowship awarded by the program. He joined the Department of English at the College of Charleston in 2005 and serves as Fiction Editor of Crazyhorse.


  • The Lines (novel), University of Iowa Press, 2019
  • Everyone Was There (stories), Elixir Press, 2017
  • Think of Me and I’ll Know (stories), TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2013
  • Out Loud (stories), University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008
  • This Day in History (stories), University of Iowa Press, 2005

Emily Rosko, Program Director

Photo - Emily RoskoEmily Rosko's newest poetry collection is Weather Inventions (University of Akron Press, 2018). She is the author of two previous award-winning poetry collections: Prop Rockery, winner of the 2011 Akron Poetry Prize, and Raw Goods Inventory, winner of the 2005 Iowa Poetry Prize. Raw Goods Inventory also received the 2007 Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers from Shenandoah. Her other honors include: the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine, and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri and a M.F.A. from Cornell University. Her poems have been included in a variety of literary journals, such as Antioch Review, AGNI, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, Pleiades, and West Branch. Her pedagogical essays on poetic craft have been anthologized in Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook and The Working Poet II. She is the editor of A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (University of Iowa Press 2011) and is poetry editor of Crazyhorse.


  • Weather Inventions, University of Akron Press, 2018
  • Prop Rockery, University of Akron Press, 2012
  • A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line, coedited and introduced with Anton Vander Zee, University of Iowa Press, 2011
  • Raw Goods Inventory, University of Iowa Press, 2006

Gary Jackson

Photo - Gary Jackson

Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Gary Jackson is the author of the poetry collection Missing You, Metropolis, which received the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in numerous journals including Callaloo, Tin House, Los Angeles Review of Books, Crab Orchard Review, and he’s been published in Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology. He was featured in the 2013 New American Poetry Series by the Poetry Society of America and is the recipient of both a Cave Canem and Bread Loaf fellowship. He joined the Department of English at the College of Charleston in 2013, currently teaches in the MFA program as well as undergraduate creative writing, and is the associate poetry editor at Crazyhorse.


  • Missing You, Metropolis, Graywolf Press, 2009

Jonathan Bohr Heinen, Managing Editor, Crazyhorse

Photo - Jonathan Bohr HeinenJonathan Bohr Heinen began working on literary magazines as an assistant for Cimarron Review He has since served as managing editor for Blue Mesa Review, senior managing editor for Iron Horse Literary Review, associate fiction editor for Q Avenue Press, and has worked as a publishing consultant for the Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop’s Lit Fest and the Tomales Bay Workshops Writers Conference. Currently, he is the managing editor for Crazyhorse at the College of Charleston. His writing has appeared in The Florida Review, Arroyo, Cimarron Review, The Boiler, among others, and has received special mention in the Pushcart Prize anthology. Beyond his writing and editing, he is a staff member at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.