Robin Hemley

Humanities (Writing)



Professor Robin Hemley obtained his BA in Comparative Literature with a Minor in Film Criticism in 1980 at the Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction in 1982, at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. He was the Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at University of Iowa since 2004.

Teaching and Residential Life

Prof Hemley has been on the faculty of The University of Iowa, The University of Utah, Western Washington University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as well as the Viebranz Visiting Chair of Writing at St Lawrence University. He has also taught in the low-residency Master of Fine Arts Programs at Vermont College of Fine Arts and City University in Hong Kong. He has taught numerous workshops in creative writing around the world in India, Taiwan, Great Britain, Australia, Slovenia, Croatia, Hong Kong, Macau, France, the Philippines, Fiji, Singapore, Canada, Greece, and Cuba. He has likewise taught writing workshops to graduate students, undergraduates, and members of the community at large from coast to coast in the United States.


Prof Hemley has published 10 books of nonfiction and fiction and is the winner of many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Nelson Algren Award for Fiction from The Chicago Tribune, The Story Magazine Humor Prize, as well as three Pushcart Prizes in both fiction and nonfiction, and many others. His popular craft book, Turning Life into Fiction, has sold over 80,000 copies and is now in its fourth printing with Graywolf Press, and his other books have won awards such as the Independent Press Book of the Year Award, The American Library Association’s Editor’s Choice Award, and the Washington State Book Award. He is a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and directed the Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa from 2004 to 2013. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published in the US, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. He frequently teaches creative writing workshops around the world. Prof Hemley has been widely anthologised and has published his work in such places as The New York Times, The Believer, The Huffington Post, Orion, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, New York Magazine, and many of the finest literary magazines in the US. The BBC is currently developing a feature film based on his book Invented Eden that tells the story of a purported anthropological hoax in the Philippines. His third collection of short stories, Reply All, was recently published by Indiana University Press (Break Away Books) and The University of Georgia Press recently published his book A Field Guide For Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, And Travel. He is a Contributing Editor of The Iowa Review as well as the publisher of a popular online journal, Defunct ( that features short essays on everything that has had its day. He is the founder and organiser of NonfictioNow, a biennial conference on the myriad forms of nonfiction.