Danielle Evans, a former Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellow, will join the faculty of the UW-Madison creative writing program as an assistant professor in the fall of 2014. A position opened about a year ago when Lorrie Moore, a revered fiction stylist who was also recognized as a rising star when she came to Wisconsin in the 1980s, quietly accepted a professorship at Vanderbilt University.
A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, Evans has been teaching at American University since her Madison fellowship ended in 2007. Her 2010 short story collection, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, won the PEN American/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and the National Book Foundation named her to their 2011 "Five Under 35 Fiction Writers" list.
An African American who grew up primarily in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Evans writes with an anthropologist's eye for detail, often about black and mixed-race teenagers and young adults navigating a post-Civil Rights America. Evans has been frequently named as rising star in fiction writing. Her work has earned the praise of celebrated authors Salman Rushdie and Richard Russo, who selected her stories to appear in Best American Short Stories in 2008 and 2010.
In announcing the new appointment, English professor and program co-director Jesse Lee Kercheval remarked that Evans' writing had won her over.
"The stories in Danielle's collection deal with class, race and coming of age in America in ways that are fresh, arresting and genuine. Her first novel will be out soon, and we are all eager to read it," Kercheval says.
The UW's MFA program in creative writing has been consistently rated third in the country, after the programs at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Michigan.
Kercheval and her colleagues are confident they've found another great writer who will be a fine teacher.
"We expect great things from Danielle," Kercheval says. "Her students at American University loved her, and we are sure the students at Wisconsin will, too."