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Brad Kessler, MFA

Antioch University Los Angeles

Brad Kessler is a critically acclaimed novelist whose work has been translated into several languages. He won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in Fiction for his novel, Birds in Fall, a Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as a Whiting Writers Award. He is an educator and farmer and author of the literary non-fiction Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese. His other books include the novel, Lick Creek, and The Woodcutter’s Christmas, and the forthcoming novel, North (2021, The Overlook Press/Abrams). His work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Bomb, Kenyon Review, and The New Yorker. He’s received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the Lange-Taylor Prize from Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. He teaches creative writing at the MFA program at Antioch University, Los Angeles, and has lectured at – among other places – Northwestern University, Smith College, The New School University, and the Kenyon Writers Workshop. He lives on the smallest licensed goat dairy in the state of Vermont where he makes cheese alongside the photographer and activist, Dona Ann McAdams.

Educational History

  • MFA, New School, NY

Teaching Statement

As writers, we all want the ideal reader of our works-in-progress. Someone who is part editor, part counselor, objective, and fiercely critical toward the text—but not the person. This is the type of first reader I cherish and the kind of mentor I strive to be when working with students. I mark up pages, ask a lot of questions, find the weaknesses and transgressions in the text– as well as the potential openings. Point out what is not being addressed.

I am happy working with students at any stage in their development, those who are just stumbling into a new novel or essay or those applying the final polish to a book, or those who have no idea what they are doing. I enjoy working in cross-genres, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and with experimental forms.

  • Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese
  • Birds in Fall
  • The Woodcutter’s Christmas
  • Lick Creek
Brad Kessler

Affiliate Faculty,

MFA in Creative Writing Program


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