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Emerson Names Two Distinguished Professors

Two Emerson professors – one familiar face and one newcomer to the College – have been named Distinguished Professors of Creative Writing.

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding will begin teaching in the Writing, Literature and Publishing (WLP) Department in September, and National Book Award finalist Jerald Walker, a WLP professor since 2010, has been named a Distinguished Professor.

“The title of Distinguished Professor is a way that the College can recognize the most extraordinary achievements of our faculty,” Interim Provost Jan Roberts-Breslin said.

White man with grey hair, beard, wearing white button-down shirt sits in brocade chair
Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Paul Harding. Photo/Sam Harding

Paul Harding is the author of three novels: the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers, Enon, and This Other Eden, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and one of President Obama’s favorite books of 2023.

He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and PEN America. Before coming to Emerson, he taught at Harvard College, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Michener Center for Writers, and Stony Brook University.

“I am simply thrilled to be joining the Emerson community, which I’ve admired and had the highest regard for for decades,” Harding said. “I cannot wait to get back to Boston and begin teaching and getting to know all my new colleagues and the students.”

Jerald Walker head shot smiling
Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Jerald Walker. Photo/Brenda Molife

Jerald Walker is the author of The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult; Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption, winner of the PEN/New England Award for Nonfiction; and, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Massachusetts Book Award.

Read: Walker on Writing Essays, Receiving Rejection, and Looking for Humor Everywhere

His work has appeared in publications such as The Harvard Review, Creative Nonfiction, The Iowa Review, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and Mother Jones, and has been widely anthologized, including five times in The Best American Essays series. In addition to being awarded a Pushcart Prize, Walker has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the James A. Michener Foundation. His next book, Magically Black and Other Essays, will be published by HarperCollins in September.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition from President Bernhardt,” Walker said. “It’s gratifying to work at an institution whose administration celebrates faculty accomplishments. Interim Provost Jan Roberts-Breslin, for instance, has been a long-time champion of creative, scholarly, and teaching successes, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank her along with the president.”

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