ASU announces new interim director for Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing

By

Jake Friedman

Following the resignation of founding artistic director Jewell Parker Rhodes earlier this year, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is proud to announce and welcome a new interim director at the center: Matt Bell, assistant professor of creative writing at Arizona State University.  

With two novels, two short story collections and stand-alone work in many leading literary journals and magazines, Bell is widely considered to be one of the foremost voices in contemporary literature. More than this, he has dedicated himself to uplifting and supporting the voices of others, frequently contributing book reviews and criticism to major media outlets like the New York Times Book Review and PEN America. He has served as a senior editor at the independent publisher Dzanc Books, was the founding editor of "The Collagist," and currently serves as faculty advisor for ASU's own Hayden's Ferry Review.

Angie Dell, assistant director for the Piper Center said: "Matt Bell is a true asset to ASU and the Center. His strengths as a writer, teacher, and leader have already had a deep influence on the student body and local literary community, and I have confidence his artistic vision and extensive knowledge of the creative writing field will guide the Center to excel across our programs."

Most recently, Bell authored the novel "Scrapper," a Michigan Notable Book for 2016, and the short story collection "A Tree or a Person or a Wall." His previous novel, "In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods," was a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award and an Indies Choice Adult Debut Book of the Year Honor Recipient, as well as the winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. He is also the author of the short story collection "How They Were Found," the novella "Cataclysm Baby" and a non-fiction book about the classic video game "Baldur’s Gate II."

Bell's stories have been published in magazines such as Tin House, American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Unstuck, Fairy Tale Review, Guernica and Hobart, as well as anthologies including "Best American Mystery Stories" and "Best American Fantasy." His poems have appeared in Salt Hill, Spork, Barn Owl Review, Waxwing, Tupelo Quarterly and Big Lucks, among other venues. He has written book criticism and coverage for The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Believer, PEN America, Rain Taxi, American Book Review, The Quarterly Conversation and The Brooklyn Rail.