Creative Writing Program marks successes of faculty, students and alumni

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Creative Writing Program marks successes of faculty, students and alumni

Recent and upcoming publications from alumni, faculty and students in the Creative Writing Program.
Faculty, students and alumni of the Creative Writing Program have celebrated publication achievements.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Creative Writing Program is celebrating a run of achievements by students, alumni and faculty.

Most recently, alumna Claire Jimenez’s debut novel, “What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez,” made national headlines and was met with critical acclaim. The book was her creative writing dissertation, which propelled her to graduate with her doctorate in May 2022. “What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez” was featured by NPR, Shondaland and Reader’s Digest, and was named a best book of March by Time and a “must-read” by USA Today. It was also a finalist for the inaugural book of the new CBS New York Book Club.

Timothy Schaffert, director of the program, said the successes demonstrate the faculty’s dedication to whole development of the students, from writing instruction to opportunities for networking with publishing professionals.

“The Creative Writing faculty has long been committed to the professional development or our students, and we make ourselves available for advice and guidance; we’re all greatly invested in our students’ success,” Schaffert, professor in English and Women’s and Gender Studies, said. “And the program overall provides diverse programming and access to publishing professionals, all of which has really helped launch their careers as novelists, poets, memoirists, teachers and editors.”

Schaffert himself is among several colleagues with recent announcements of forthcoming books. Following the success of “The Perfume Thief,” Schaffert will publish “The Titanic Survivor’s Book Club,” with Doubleday, in 2024. Chigozie Obioma, associate professor of English and Man Booker prize finalist, also will publish “The Road to the Country” in 2024 with Hogarth Books, and Hope Wabuke, associate professor of English, will publish her memoir, “Please Don’t Kill My Black Son, Please,” with Vintage in August.

Additionally, Joy Castro, Willa Cather professor of English and director of the Ethnic Studies program, published her latest novel, “One Brilliant Flame,” in January. She received critical acclaim, including in the Toronto Star, and was a number-one bestseller on Amazon in historical Caribbean and Latin American fiction.

The following is a list of recent publications, forthcoming books and achievements from students and alumni of the program:

  • Jessica Poli, doctoral student, published a poetry collection, “Red Ocher,” in March. It was a finalist for the 2023 Miller Williams Poetry Prize, from the University of Arkansas Press.

  • Jamaica Baldwin, doctoral student, will release a poetry collection, “Bone Language,” in the spring with YesYes Books.

  • Kimberly Reyes, doctoral student, will publish a poetry collection, “vanishing point,” in April with Omnidawn.

  • Katie Schmid is a 2023 Literature Fellow in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts

  • Jordan Farmer will publish his new novel, “Lighthouse Burning,” with Thomas & Mercer in July.

  • Rachel Cochran will publisher her first novel, “The Gulf,” with Harper in June.

  • Edgar Award-winning author Erin Flanagan will publish “Come With Me” in August with Thomas & Mercer.

  • Raul Palma will publish his novel, “A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens,” with Dutton in October.

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