Cathryn hankla                           








Cathryn Hankla's eleven books include Fortune Teller Miracle Fish: stories, Last Exposures: a sequence of poems, and Texas School Book Depository: prose poems.  She is Professor of English and Susan Gager Jackson Professor of creative writing at Hollins University. Director of the MFA and undergraduate writing programs from 2008-2012, and a former chair of the English department, she also served as the inaugural director of the Jackson Center for Creative Writing.

Hankla's poetry, fiction, and nonfiction appears regularly in literary journals and anthologies; she has presented her work at colleges and universities, conferences, bookstores, bookclubs, and libraries across the US and abroad in the U.K, Czech Republic, France, southern Spain and Malta. Her work has been honored by a PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize, the James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry, and a New York Book Festival award, among others. She serves as Poetry Editor for The Hollins Critic and is also an award-winning visual artist.

Born in southwest Virginia, Hankla graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, earning first-in-class honors from Hollins College.  As an undergraduate she received an Intro award from AWP and twice won the Academy of American Poets Prize.  She took her graduate degree in 1982, studying alongside Madison Smartt Bell, Jill McCorkle, Kim Kafka, and the late Don Belton.

After 30 years in higher education, including appointments at University of Virginia, Washington and Lee University, and numerous visits to various schools, teaching continues to be a high priority for her; she has introduced several innovative writing and literature courses, including Image and Word, Cross Genre & Experimental Writing, and How Writing is Written.  She enjoys applauding the many successes of her students over the years.



Book publications


Fortune Teller Miracle Fish (stories), Michigan State University Press, 2011.

The Land Between (novel), Baskerville Publishers, 2003.

Poems for the Pardoned (poems), LSU, 2002.

Emerald City Blues (poems), Tryon Publishing Co, 2002.

Texas School Book Depository: prose poems, LSU, 2000.

Negative History (poems), LSU, 1997.

Afterimages (poems), LSU, 1991.

A Blue Moon in Poorwater (novel), Ticknor & Fields, 1988. (rpt. University Press of Virginia, 1998)

Learning the Mother Tongue (stories), University of Missouri Press, 1987.

Phenomena (poems), University of Missouri Press, 1983.



Teaching experience


Hollins University       Roanoke, VA



Susan Gager Jackson Professor of Creative Writing, 2012-

Professor of English and Creative Writing, 1998-

Director, Jackson Center for Creative Writing, 2010-2012

Director, MFA and Undergraduate Creative Writing Sequence, 2008-2012.

Poetry Editor, The Hollins Critic, 1997-

Director, Graduate Teaching Fellow Program, 2004-2007

Director, Undergraduate Creative Writing Sequence, 2004-5.

Chair, Department of English, Jan 1995-June 1998.


Current and Recent Courses Taught

Image and Word

Cross-Genre & Experimental Writing

Teaching Practicum

Graduate Tutorials in Poetry and Fiction

Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry and Fiction

Advanced Studies in Short Fiction

How Writing is Written

Direct Graduate and undergraduate theses in creative writing




1989–1991       Washington and Lee University       Lexington, VAVisiting Assistant Professor of English 


Spring 1987       Randolph-Macon Woman’s College       Lynchburg, VA



Spring 1985       University of Virginia       Charlottesville, VA

Visiting Lecturer in Fiction Writing


Selected Journals, Anthologies, and appearances


The Virginia Quarterly Review, Missouri Review, Mid-American Review, Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, College English, Mondo Barbie, Mondo Elvis, Pool, The Hampton-Sydney Poetry Review, The Yellow Shoe Poets: Selected Poems 1964-1999, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Exquisite Corpse, Passages North, Vital Signs, Quarterly West, Meridian, Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, The Sacred Place, Buck and Wing: Southern Poetry at 2000, Appalachian Heritage, Connecticut Review, The Cincinnati Review, Mississippi Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and etc.

Epilogue Bookstore, Steamboat Springs, CO.; Artposium, Colorado Art Ranch; University of Wyoming, University of Michigan, Smith College, New York University, 92nd Street Y, Bethesda Writers Center, Quail Ridge Books (Raleigh, NC), Barnes & Noble (VA, MD, MA), Virginia Commonwealth University, New Dominion Bookstore, Charlottesville Festival of the Book, Anglia Polytechnic University (Cambridge), Miami Book Fair International, The Globe Bookstore (Prague),  Stonecoast Writers Conference (Maine), Roanoke College, Blue Ridge Writers Conference (VPI, Blacksburg, VA). Prairie Lights Bookstore (Iowa City), AWP Conference 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. The Ruminator (St. Paul, MN), The Book Stall (Chicago), Malaprops (Asheville, NC), Randolph Macon College, Randolph College, University of Kentucky, and etc.


honors and recognition


New York Book Festival, 2011: Fortune Teller Miracle Fish, winner of compilations/anthologies category.

The James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry, 2010: "Bee Tree."

St. James Cavalier Center for Creativity, Malta. Residency: June 2009.

Studio Visit: a juried selection of international visual artists, vol. 5, April 2009.

Auvillar, France, Residency: May 25-June 7, 2008.

Colorado Art Ranch, Steamboat Springs, CO, Residency: April-May, 2008.

New American Paintings, runner-up; Stephen Bennet Phillips, juror, 2007.

Blair Wiley Fishwick Memorial Award, “Contemplation Cubes” sculptures by Ann Glover and Cathryn Hankla; Roanoke Sidewalk Art Show, 2005.

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts,  Residencies: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 1986.

“Powerful Angels,” The Virginia Quarterly Review, 100 Other Distinguished

Stories of 2000: in The Best American Short Stories, 2001.


Finalist: 4th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Award in Poetry for Texas

School Book Depository: prose poems (2001).


Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojácar, Spain, Residency: April 2001.


Cabell Fellowship, sabbatical, 2007-08, 2000-01, and 1993-94.            


Herta T. Freitag Faculty Legacy Award, Hollins University, February 2000.


PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, "Lost in Space," 1989.


Breakthrough Award in fiction (Learning the Mother Tongue), University of

Missouri P, 1987.


Breakthrough Award in poetry (Phenomena), University of Missouri P, 1983.











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