Wunderlich Named Director of the Writing Seminars
Bennington College announced today that poet Mark Wunderlich has been named the next director of the Bennington Writing Seminars, the College’s MFA program in writing.
Poet and essayist Mark Wunderlich has been on the Bennington College faculty since 2004, and has been a core faculty member for the Bennington College Writing Seminars since 2009.
“With his deep commitment to literature and rigorous writing instruction, Mark embodies the values of the Bennington Writing Seminars,” said Bennington College President Mariko Silver. “Between Mark’s strong roots at Bennington and his vision for how the program fits in the national landscape, we are thrilled to see him take on this new role, and we are looking forward to a bright future for the program.”
“I believe in the vision of the program: that being a writer is an extension of being a critical and discerning reader. I want to celebrate and evolve the model that has yielded so many incredible writers, while connecting it to Bennington’s broader literary history and ensuring that the Writing Seminars represent the diversity, complexity, and richness of American literature today.” Mark Wunderlich
Founded in 1994, Bennington College’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program was one of the first low-residency creative writing programs in the country. It continues Bennington’s long literary history that has included such faculty as Mary Oliver, W.H. Auden, Bernard Malamud, Stanley Kunitz, and Howard Nemerov, as well as alumni writers Kiran Desai ’93, Jonathan Lethem ’86, Bret Easton Ellis ’86, Donna Tartt ’86, Michael Pollan ’76, Ann Goldstein ’71, Megan Marshall ’75, Luke Mogelson ’05, Mary Ruefle ’74, and, more recently, Anais Duplan ’14, Jeva Lange ’15, Safiya Sinclair ’10, and Bruna Dantas Lobato ’15. Recent alumni of the Writing Seminars include Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney MFA ’13, author of the bestseller The Nest; Morgan Jerkins MFA ’16, essayist and cultural commentator who has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Ebony, and Buzzfeed; Megan Mayhew Bergman ’10, associate director of the program, essayist and author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise and Almost Famous Women; Charles Bock MFA ’97, author of the New York Times bestsellers Alice & Oliver and Beautiful Children, and Katy Simpson Smith MFA ’13, author of The Story of Land and Sea and Free Men. Bennington Review, a national biannual print literary journal, is also housed at the College.
“Between faculty members, students, and alumni at both the graduate and undergraduate level, Bennington has been at the forefront of some of the most interesting writing in American literature,” said Wunderlich. “For a small college, we punch way above our weight.”
Wunderlich has directed the Poetry at Bennington reading series, which brings established and emerging poets to campus for brief multi-day residencies. Recent speakers have included Natasha Trethewey, Safiya Sinclair ’10, and Terrance Hayes.
Wunderlich is the third director in the program’s history, following Sven Birkerts, who will return to the program’s faculty in June 2018, and founding director Liam Rector.