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Elliott Coleman Professorship in the Writing Seminars

Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Established in 1993 by friends and students in memory of Elliott Coleman

ColemanElliottIn 1947 ELLIOTT COLEMAN founded the Hopkins Writing Seminars, which was only the second such program in the country. Dr. Coleman, who published 18 volumes of poetry and essays, continued to chair the department until his retirement 30 years later. He was a mentor to many American writers who later gained prominence, including Russell Baker, A&S 1947, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Growing Up, and John Barth, A&S 1951, 1952 (MA), who won the National Book Award for Chimera.

Son of an Episcopal minister, Professor Coleman studied theology at Oxford University and the General Theological Seminary in New York City. He was ordained a deacon in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, but shortly after his father’s death, Dr. Coleman entered the publishing business. He went on to become a prolific and admired writer, as well as beloved teacher. Professor Coleman died in 1980.

“I have admired Elliott Coleman’s short poems and his long poems; most of all I admire his longest-running poem: the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, over which his benignant spirit still very much presides.”

John Barth, Alumni Centennial Professor Emeritus in the Writing Seminars


Held by Jean McGarry

JEAN MCGARRY is the Elliott Coleman Professor in Writing Seminars.  She is the author of nine books of fiction, among them the novel Ocean State, and short story collections Dream Date (JHU Press), and No Harm Done (Dalkey Archive Press).  Her 2006 novel, A Bad and Stupid Girl (University of Michigan Press), received the University of Michigan Fiction Prize.  Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Yale Review, Boulevard, The Southwest Review, and others.  She previously served as chair and co-chair of the Writing Seminars department.  Dr. McGarry is a graduate of the Baltimore-Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.