Department of English

Laura Furman

Professor EmeritusB.A., 1968, Bennington College

Professor Emerita
Laura Furman



Creative writing; fiction; non-fiction; biography.


Laura Furman is the Susan Taylor McDaniel Professor of Creative Writing in the English Department. She received her BA from Bennington in 1960. Current research interests include fiction, non-fiction, and biography. She has been the series editor for The O.Henry Prize Stories since 2003, and has published many of her own works, including Drinking with the Cook (story collection); Ordinary Paradise (memoir); Bookworms: Great Writers and Readers Celebrate Reading (edited with Elinore Standard); Tuxedo Park (novel); Watch Time Fly (story collection); The Shadow Line (novel); The Glass House (story collection and novella). In February 2011, Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, will publish Professor Furman's new story collection, The Mother Who Stayed.

Courses taught:

E318L Fiction

E325 Creative Writing: Reading and Writing the Personal Essay

E325 Creative Writing: Reading and Writing Biography

E348 20th-Century Short Story-W

E379S Contemporary Short Story

E385N Creative Writing: Workshop in Personal Essay

E385N Creative Writing: Workshop in Biography


National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature (Fiction), 2008

President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award, 2005-2006

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, 1983


E 325 • Reading/Writing Personal Essay

34520 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ B0.302
Wr C2

Course Description: We will read, discuss, and write personal essays. Though there may be a broad range of subject matter in the personal essay, the hallmark of the form is the voice of the writer--subjective, personal, present. The memoir is the most popular type of the personal essay, but the form also includes adventure essays, ruminations on works of art, appreciations of a writer or historical figure or place, family histories, and other variations. Some memoirs require undertaking serious research. The single element defining the personal essay, as opposed to journalism and editorials, is that the writer is included in the story he or she is telling. For the first part of the course, we will read personal essays to gain an idea of the form and its possibilities. The rest of the semester is a writing workshop. We will read essays by the members of the class: two beginning drafts of two separate essays and a revision of one draft. The maximum length of the beginning drafts will be no longer than 8 pages. The final revised draft may be no longer than 10 pages. It is a requirement of the course that you make written comments on the text of the essays by your fellow students as you read, and that you hand that marked copy to the author after class discussion. Be helpful, polite, and honest.  Your spoken comments in class will be considered in the final grade.

Texts: Best American Essays 2001; Patricia Hampl, I Could Tell You Stories; Peter Handke, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams. Available at UT Coop.

Grading: Your written work counts heavily for your final grade, but your class participation and your responsiveness both to editorial suggestions and to our developing sense of the personal essay will also be counted. Grading is in whole grades only and according to the following measure: A/excellent, B/good, C/average, D/below average, F/failing. The proportion for grading is: Class work: 15%. Written work: 85%.

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

E 318L • Fiction-W

34915-34930 • Fall 2009
Meets MW 3:30PM-5:00PM UTC 3.132
Wr C1

Unique #s 34195, 34920, 34821, 34925. 34930

E 325 • Read/Writ The Personal Essay-W

35030 • Fall 2009
Meets MW 5:00PM-6:30PM UTC 3.120


E 385N • Creatv Writing: Wrkshp In Fict

35665 • Fall 2006
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 101


E 385N • Creatv Writing: Wrkshp In Fict

33620 • Fall 2005
Meets W 5:00PM-8:00PM CAL 200


E 385N • Creatv Writing: Wrkshp In Fict

31075 • Spring 2002
Meets M 5:00PM-8:00PM PAR 310


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