PSU and Tin House form partnership in support of writing
Author: David Santen, Office of University Communications, Portland State University
Posted: April 2, 2012



(Portland, Ore.) April 2, 2012 — Portland State University’s graduate program in Creative Writing has joined forces with Portland-based publishing enterprise Tin House to establish the Tin House Writer-in-Residence at Portland State University.

The partnership will bring national caliber writers to Portland for in-depth teaching opportunities in PSU’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing, beginning this spring with author Amy Stewart.

Amy StewartStewart (pictured, left) will lead a nonfiction workshop in spring term at PSU (beginning in April), as well as taking part in community activities. She will also deliver a public presentation on Friday, May 11, at 6:30 p.m. The reading will be held at Eliot Chapel, Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave., Portland, Ore. Admission will be $10 and free for PSU students with PSU student ID.

Amy Stewart ( is the award-winning author of five books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including three New York Times bestsellers: Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers; Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities; and, most recently, Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon's Army and Other Diabolical Insects.

Wicked Bugs book jacketStewart has written for the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and every national garden magazine, including Fine Gardening, where she is a contributing editor. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the American Horticulture Society's Book Award, and a California Horticultural Society Writer's Award. Stewart lives in Eureka, California, with her husband Scott Brown, where they own an antiquarian bookstore.

“This partnership brings together a pre-eminent publishing and literary enterprise with a vigorous MFA Creative Writing program at Portland State University,” said Michele Glazer, MFA program director and associate professor of English at PSU. “Tin House enjoys an international reputation for the books it publishes, for its distinguished quarterly Tin House and for the Tin House Summer Writer's Workshop in Portland.”

“Through this new partnership, Tin House will strengthen its local presence, while enriching our students' educational experience, and giving PSU’s young MFA program greater visibility nationally and internationally,” Glazer said.

“Tin House is thrilled about the partnership with PSU for the Writer-in-Residence program. We're so impressed with the graduate program in creative writing and glad we can be part of a enterprise that will enrich both organizations,” said Holly MacArthur, Tin House deputy publisher.

The distinguished Writer-in-Residence will be housed in a newly furbished apartment adjacent to the Tin House headquarters in Northwest Portland. Applicants will be selected from a pool of ascendant and established writers from the U.S. and abroad. The residency will rotate through the three MFA strands: nonfiction, poetry and fiction.

Tin House and PSU have additional partnerships underway. This spring, PSU and Tin House bring national award-winning author Anthony Doerr to Portland as part of an inaugural “master class” that will begin with a term-long intensive study of the author’s work, and culminate in a reading and interview.

Anthony DoerrFiction faculty member Charles D’Ambrosio will lead a graduate seminar on Anthony Doerr, in which students read all of Doerr’s oeuvre while exploring what it is that distinguishes his writing, and, as developing writers themselves, learn from it. Both D’Ambrosio and Doerr have taught at the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop.

On May 18, 2012, D’Ambrosio will host a staged question-and-answer session with Anthony Doerr for students and community members. For more information, contact

Anthony Doerr ( is author of the story collections The Shell Collector and most recently, Memory Wall; the novel About Grace and a memoir, Four Seasons in Rome. His short fiction has won four O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in numerous collections, while his awards include the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction and two Pushcart Prizes. He lives with his wife and children in Boise, Idaho.

The Listeners by Leni ZumasTin House and PSU’s MFA Creative Writing program have another connection: fiction writer Leni Zumas, who joined PSU’s English department faculty in fall 2011.

Tin House Books will publish Zumas’ debut novel, The Listeners, in May 2012:

Additional plans for the partnerships include editing and publishing internships for PSU students.


Established in Portland, Ore., as a magazine in May 1999 (then expanded to Brooklyn, N.Y.) Tin House’s mission is to publish compelling and authentic narratives of our time. The quarterly Tin House salutes the artistic edge but remains rooted in the tenets of the classic storytelling tradition. Magazine excerpts appear consistently in Best American Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, the O.Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthologies. 

Tin House Books publishes fiction, non-fiction, story collections, and everything in between by both first-time and established authors. The Tin House Writer’s Workshop takes place for one week every summer in Portland and includes workshops, seminars, panels, and readings led by the editors of Tin House magazine and Tin House Books and guests—prominent contemporary American writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Department of English at Portland State University. Building on a long-running master’s program in writing and community connections, PSU established the MFA in 2010, offering poetry, fiction and nonfiction. The program’s faculty includes Diana Abu-Jaber, John Beer, Tom Bissell (affiliated), Paul Collins, Charles D’Ambrosio, Michele Glazer (program director), Craig Lesley, Michael McGregor, A.B. Paulson and Leni Zumas.


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For Immediate Release (#12-030)

David Santen, Office of University Communications, Portland State University | 503-725-8765

Michele Glazer, Department of English, Portland State University | 503-725-9715

Holly MacArthur, Deputy Publisher, Tin House | 503-219-0622