Amy Quan Barry |
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Amy Quan Barry


  • Fellow
  • 2024
Creative Writing, Fiction, Letters, Poetry

Amy Quan Barry is a decorated poet, novelist, playwright, and the Lorraine Hansberry Professor of English at UW-Madison. Barry is the author of eight books of fiction and poetry and a full-length staged theater production. Born in Saigon and raised on the north shore of Boston, she spent summers with her grandparents at the northern tip of Door County next to the ferry landing that serves Washington Island.

Barry’s work is fueled by fearless curiosity and her orbit has spanned all seven continents. Her upbringing and travels—Saigon to Boston, Antarctica to Mongolia, and beyond— metamorphose into literature that ranges wildly from one publication to the next, but all of her works involve complex journeys toward what it means to be human. With poetic lyricism and sharp wit she activates themes of race, identity, colonialism, patriarchy, misogyny, climate disaster, displacement, spirituality, physics, mythology, pop culture…the whole of life in question and at hand. Barry is one of a select group of writers to receive an NEA fellowship for both poetry and fiction.

While her work has garnered national and international audiences and has earned her multiple literary honors and residencies, her impact can be felt most acutely here in Wisconsin through her deep commitment to her students and community as she has helped to maintain the reputation of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing as one of the most well-regarded programs in the country. Writer in Residence at Forward Theatre, Amy has also served on their Advisory Board as the company continues to expand their vision towards evermore diverse and underrepresented voices. 

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