Welcoming Prof. Zein El-Amine to the English Department

Headshot of Zein El-Amine

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Prof. Zein El-Amine is in the midst of a book tour promoting his most recent collection of short stories, Is This How You Eat a Watermelon? It’s already won the Megaphone Prize for Short Fiction and has been published by Radix Media. Launching at the Center for Fiction in Brooklyn and the iconic City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, you can order your own copy and learn more about Prof. El-Amine’s work at his website

Prof. El-Amine will be teaching two courses with us next semester:

ENGL 280 – Intro to Creative Writing

This course will introduce the writer to fundamental elements of the craft of poetry, prose, essay, and creative non-fiction.  This is an intensive creative writing course with four main components:

1) Reading and in-class discussions of selected pieces from that would give the student a survey of the genres mentioned above. The focus will be on readings that break out of the Eurocentric canon. However, they will include provocative works from contemporary western writers.
2) Writing: Multiple writing exercises will serve as prompts for students to write poems, short stories, essays, novels, and even movie scripts. Assigned work will focus on the revision process so the student must be prepared to take in constructive critiques from fellow students and professors and revise the work according to what is judged to be helpful to the writer’s goal.
3) Workshop: Students will share their original work; they will offer feedback to their peers and receive constructive criticism from fellow students and instructors.  Significant time will be put into training students on proper workshop conduct, understanding that these groupings are arbitrary and are often guided by personal taste rather than listening to what the writer is trying to achieve.
4) Final Portfolio: Students will compile the entirety of their work (original drafts and revisions of all poems, short stories, and essays) and create a portfolio that will be returned to them so that they can build on it in the future.

ENGL 451-01 – Advanced Poetry and Short Prose Workshop  

This workshop will help you write a portfolio of poems and/or short prose pieces. We will read and discuss poems, short fiction, and creative essays; work over the drafts of our own poems and prose; and write critiques of published works. There will be significant time set for workshopping poems, short stories and essays during every class once we get rolling on the writing.  The goal of the workshops will be to determine what the writer is trying to accomplish with the work as opposed to relaying our likes and dislikes (instead of expressing our disparate tastes).  You will receive constructive criticism of your work in a group setting, and in conferences with the professor. This workshop offers you a chance to advance your writing skills, gain inspiration from provocative and engaging reads, invigorate your writing routine, and collate your work in a portfolio at the end of the semester.  The semester will conclude with an inquiry into submission and publication of work that will equip you with resources to meet the challenges of publication.  Prerequisites: one college-level course in creative writing (any genre), or equivalent background, or a passion for writing.

Prof. El-Amine was featured recently in Plume Magazine regarding his most recent publication, and we encourage you to check out the interview!