Writers Institute

Glen Retief, Ph.D.

Glen Retief

Glen Retief is the director of the Writers Institute and an associate professor of English and creative writing. He teaches intermediate and advanced courses in memoir and personal essay, introductory courses in creative nonfiction, occasional fiction workshops, and literature and composition courses.

Once every other year or so, he also takes students to his native South Africa to turn their experiences into travel essays.

Glen grew up in a South African game park during the apartheid era, but emigrated to the U.S. in 1994. His memoir, The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood, was published by St. Martin’s Press in April 2011. It won a Lambda Literary Award and was selected as a Book of 2011 by the Africa Book Club. Glen has spoken about his memoir on the nationally prominent NPR show Writers on Writing. The Jack Bank was also featured on PBS’s Smart Talk with Mark Wallace as well as in Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day on June 2, 2011.

Glen’s essays and short stories have appeared in numerous publications and journals, including Virginia Quarterly Review; Puerto del Sol, Fugue; The Massachusetts Review; The Greensboro Review; New Contrast, South Africa’s premier literary magazine; and Tribute, a South African mass market glossy magazine roughly equivalent to Ebony or Essence.

Occasionally Glen publishes newspaper columns and op-ed pieces in, among others, The Pittsburgh Courier-Post, The Harrisburg Patriot-News and the U.S. online magazine InsideHigherEd.com. His literary criticism has appeared in English Studies in Africa, Conradiana and Research in African Literatures.

Before landing in academia, he worked as an instructor of homeless HIV-positive substance abusers, a needle exchange advocate, an English Second Language teacher and a teacher of high school students with learning disabilities. He has lived in Cape Town, South Africa; New York City; Tallahassee, Fla.; Miami; London; Madrid; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Richmond, Ky. He speaks English, Afrikaans, and Spanish, and he can say a few words in Xhosa and Zulu, including ones with some pretty interesting-sounding clicks.

For more information, or to follow Glen on Twitter or Blogspot, see www.glenretief.com

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