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Mark Brazaitis

Professor; Creative Writing Coordinator

Mark Brazaitis is the author of eight books, including The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala, winner of the 1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award, The Incurables: Stories, winner of the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize and the 2013 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Prose, Julia & Rodrigo, winner of the 2012 Gival Press Novel Award, and Truth Poker: Stories, winner of the 2014 Autumn House Press Fiction Competition. His latest book is The Rink Girl, which won the 2018 Prize Americana from Hollywood Books.

Brazaitis’ stories, poems, essays, and journalism have appeared in more than 70 journals, magazines, anthologies, and newspapers, including Ploughshares, Witness, Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, and USA Today, and his fiction and nonfiction have been acknowledged in the Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays anthologies. He wrote the script for the award-winning Peace Corps film “How Far Are You Willing to Go to Make a Difference?”

Brazaitis’ writing has been featured on the Diane Rehm Show as well as on public radio in Cleveland, Iowa City, New York City, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and technical trainer, he is a professor of English and the director of the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop.


  • Creative writing, especially fiction

Selected Publications:

  • The Rink Girl (short story collection)
  • Truth Poker (short story collection)
  • The Incurables (short story collection)
  • Julia & Rodrigo (novel)
  • The Other Language (poetry collection)
  • An American Affair (short story collection)
  • The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala (short story collection)
  • Steal My Heart (a novel)
  • “The Rink Girl” in Ploughshares
  • “Blackheart” in Witness
  • “The Sleeping Beauty” in Michigan Quarterly Review
  • “The Boy behind the Tree” in The Sun
  • “Cuts” in Beloit Fiction Journal
  • “The Blind Wrestler” in West Branch.
  • “Because I Love You, I Love the World” in Atlanta Review
  • “Depression, the Sit-Com” in Rhino
  • “Spring is Here” in Poetry East
  • “Scenes from Another Country” in Gris-Gris
  • “Tom Eagleton is My Political Role Model” in USA Today
  • “Locked in to Life” in The Sun
  • “Lament” in Under the Sun

Talks Offered

Mark Brazaitis currently offers the following talk as part of the English Department Speakers program:

The Great Adventure

“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country,” John F. Kennedy said in his 1961 Inaugural Address and out of this sentiment, the Peace Corps was born. Founded more than 50 years ago, the Peace Corps has produced hundreds of creative writers, including Bob Shacochis, Norman Rush, Eileen Drew and Mike Tidwell. The speaker will discuss the impact serving in the Peace Corps had on his own writing and talk about what the Peace Corps is doing today.

The English Department Speakers program (EDS) provides talks for a variety of audiences-high schools, civic groups, community organizations, etc.-free of charge. To obtain more information about the EDS program or to schedule a speaker, e-mail Professor Lisa Weihman at

Recent Courses

English 314 (001)
Creative Writing Workshop: Non-Fiction 
Time: MWF 2:30-3:20

“What a Great Story!” So why not write it? This course will allow you to use real-life stories-yours or someone else’s-to create memorable, engaging works of creative nonfiction.

Although it will focus primarily on personal memoir, English 314 will also cover a variety of creative nonfiction topics, including profiles, travel writing, and reviews.

In addition to offering you the chance to present your work in a supportive, helpful workshop environment, it will give you the chance to read and discuss published works of creative nonfiction.

Some of the authors we might read: Maya Angelou, Mary Karr, Richard Wright, James Ellroy, Esmeralda Santiago, and John Thorndike. 

English 318 (001)
Topics in Creative Writing “Genre Blends” 
Time: MWF 12:30-1:20

“Is it a Poem? A Short Story? A Memoir?” Maybe it’s all three-or more. This course will examine published works that blend two or more genres (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and drama). It will also allow students to write in all four genres as well as experiment with genre blends. Students will present their work in a constructive, supportive workshop environment.

Works the course may examine: Kim Addonizio’s Jimmy & Rita, a novel in the guise of a poetry collection; John Steinbeck’s Burning Bright, a play in the form of a novel; Julia Kasdorf’s The Body and the Book, a memoir with poems; Jean Toomer’s Cane, a blend of poetry, fiction and drama; and Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone, a straight memoir, and The Things They Carried, a memoir-novel-short story blend.