The Program in Creative Writing presents a reading by John Keene, 2018 MacArthur Fellow and Chair of the Department of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University.


john keene smiling in hat and red scarf

Photo by Nina Subin/Courtesy of New Directions

JOHN KEENE’s recent books include the story collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015, 2016), and several books of poetry. He also has translated the Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat Books, 2014). His recent honors include an American Book Award and Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction, as well as a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He chairs the department of African American and African Studies, and teaches English and creative writing at Rutgers University-Newark.


New Jersey Public Media featured John Keene on State of the Arts in March 2019:

2018 MacArthur “Genius” John Keene is the author of Counternarratives, a book of experimental stories set in the African diaspora following the introduction of the slave trade to the Americas. Keene describes the power of fiction, and we visit his graduate creative writing seminar at Rutgers University-Newark, where he is a professor of English and chair of African and African American Studies.

Watch the episode clip at

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  • Program in Creative Writing