Most of us would go above and beyond to meet our favorite authors. We cram into overly crowded bookstores just to get a glimpse of them or wait in line for hours just to meet them for a few seconds, maybe even get a book signed. For some lucky college students, though, going to class means getting to spend time with the writer’s work they so admire. We don’t always realize it, but many of today’s most popular authors work as college professors as well.
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Tucked away in the countryside of upstate New York, Bard College can only be described as off the beaten track. Many people know where it is, though, including Neil Gaiman, who teaches English there. The bestselling author has tried his hand at many different areas of fiction, including novels, screenplays, and graphic novels and been quite successful. He’s best known, though, for his works of fiction, such as Anansi Boys, Stardust, and American Gods, which is currently being adapted for television. According to a source at the college, his classes are very popular.
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Stanford University is home to many distinguished faculty members, but few more so than Tobias Wolff of the creative writing department. Wolff is best known for his memoir This Boy’s Life, but he’s also published multiple novels and short story collections. His many credentials include a National Medal for the Arts and a PEN/Faulkner Award, to name just a few. One of his former students/mentees is Mary Karr, a bestselling author famous for her memoirs. She currently teaches at Syracuse University. Clearly Wolff taught her well.
Jennifer Finney Boylan
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Barnard College of Columbia University is also home to a distinguished memoirist. Jennifer Finney Boylan, formerly of Maine’s Colby College, is currently a professor English there as well as the Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence. She’s also known, though, for fiction writing and has published a total of thirteen books. Her memoir, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, made history as the first bestselling book written by a transgendered American author.
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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of most highly revered technical schools in the world, but students don’t just go there to study science and engineer. The students who major in areas involving English and writing get the rare privilege of studying with Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz. Diaz won this award for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He has many other impressive credentials, though, such as a MacArthur Fellowship and a PEN/Malamud Award.
Jonathan Safran Foer
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New York University has a faculty that has featured many popular writers over the years. One of their current members is Jonathan Safran Foer, author of bestsellers Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated as well as non-fictional work Eating Animals. He has received many distinguished honors, including the National Jewish Book Award and a Guardian First Book Prize. Foer has also been named as one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “People of the Year” and Esquire Magazine’s “Best and Brightest.” The NYU writing faculty also includes bestselling author Colson Whitehead, who’s recent work The Underground Railroad, was just named as part of Oprah’s Book Club.
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