In its Guide to 2016’s Great Reads, NPR recommended Nitro Mountain by Lee Clay Johnson ’07, The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney MFAW ’13, Kookooland by Gloria Norris ’76, and The Queen of the Night by former MFAW faculty Alexander Chee.
Counted among the best books of 2016, each book was reviewed and recommended by "NPR staff and critics."
Nitro Mountain received praise for its prose. "Johnson writes like lightning, and this wild, careening ride through mountain roads, dirt-covered couches, cold vans and burning bars jumps perspectives and makes you laugh when you least expect it. If you want to see literary talent applied in refreshingly new ways, come along."
Of the The Nest, they wrote, "You'll want to spend time with each and every one of these characters to figure out how they got to where they are. The suspense and humor will keep you turning pages."
Kookooland was commended for the way that the author "exactly captures the chilly calculus of abuse: What it would cost her to disagree out loud? But what it would cost her to stay silent?"
The review called The Queen of the Night "shimmering new novel" and remarked upon the narrative voice, which they termed "captured beautifully."