PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University professor of English and Comparative American Cultures Alexander Kuo has been appointed the university’s first Writer-in-Residence.
The position, within the College of Liberal Arts, will permit Kuo, an internationally recognized as a writer of poetry, novels and short stories, to devote more time to his own writing while continuing to teach creative writing.
“This . . . is a sign that these are new times for the WSU College of Liberal Arts and the English department,” said Kuo. “We are moving in an innovative direction for WSU that is positive. It comes at an appropriate time in that the WSU Department of English is just now strengthening creative writing as an option for English majors.”
English department chair Victor Villanuev said, “Alex Kuo is one of the pioneers among writers of color. I am glad that he is being recognized as the international leader he has been for the last 25 years as a poet and writer of color.”
The appointment of a Writer-in-Residence is new for the college, said Barbara Couture, liberal arts dean. “In accepting it, Professor Kuo has committed not only to pursue his own growth as a writer, but also to enhance the WSU creative writing program by helping to secure external grants and gifts for the program, including funds to support additional Writer-in-Residence appointments. WSU is particularly pleased by this appointment; Professor Kuo has been actively sought by other institutions and recently turned down an attractive offer from the College of William and Mary.”
Kuo has accepted a one-year assignment as the acting chair of the WSU’s CAC department, beginning in August. “The top priority will be to find the best people in the country to fill faculty vacancies,” he said. “In addition, I will use this opportunity to become involved in the ongoing discussions about linking programs offered in the present CAC, American Studies and Women Studies units.”
Kuo recently completed his sixth book, a collection of short stories called “Lipstick.” His other most recent books are a novel, “Chinese Opera,” and a book of poems titled “This Fierce Geography.” He is an MFA graduate of the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa and served as academic vice chancellor at the University of Colorado prior to coming to WSU 22 years ago.