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Alexander Parsons

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Associate Professor

Alexander Parsons is a novelist and associate professor of creative writing. He is the author of the novel Leaving Disneyland, which won the Associated Writing Program’s Award for the Novel, the Writer’s League of Texas Violet Crown Award, and was a finalist for the PEN West Award. His second novel, In the Shadows of the Sun, was a Barnes & Discover Great New Writers selection. He has worked with Paramount Pictures as a Chesterfield Writing Fellow, where he wrote several screenplays, and has also taught at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference as the John Gardner Fellow. He has received various recognitions for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, the Sherwood Anderson Prize, and a Texas Fellowship in Literature. At the University of New Hampshire he was awarded the Roland H. O’Neal Professorship for Excellence in Teaching; since joining the faculty at UH he’s been awarded the 2010 Teaching Excellence Award and the 2014 Ross M. Lence Award in the Humanities.

Parsons worked as an editor prior to graduate school. He emphasizes craft and technique in his workshops and especially enjoys the Advanced and Master workshops on long-form fiction (novellas, novels). Authors of particular interest include Haruki Murakami, Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, and James Salter, though he’s interested in most contemporary fiction. Of late he’s enjoyed teaching dystopian literature and the work of sometimes novella-ists, such as César Aira, Alessandro Baricco, George Saunders, and Stephen Millhauser.


BA, Wesleyan University, 1991

MFA, University of Iowa, 1997

MA, New Mexico State University, 1999

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Leaving Disneyland (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press)

In the Shadows of the Sun (Nan A. Talese Books/Anchor Books)

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Recent Awards

University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award, 2010

Ross M. Lence Teaching Excellence Award, 2014

Houston Arts Alliance New Works Fellowship Grant, 2013-14

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Graduate Courses

ENGL 8323

  • Master Workshop: Narrative

ENGL 7324

  • Writers on Literature: Deep Structure in the Novel
  • Writers on Literature: The Dystopian Experience
  • Writers on Literature: First Book to Best Book
ENGL 7323
  • Advanced Fiction Workshop
ENGL 6323
  • Fiction Workshop
  • Fiction Workshop: Cascading Variables
ENGL 6321
  • Fictional Forms & Techniques: Profluence in the Novel
  • Fictional Forms & Techniques: The Novella & Short Novel

Undergraduate Courses

ENGL 4353
  • Writing Projects: Triptych Stories
  • Writing Projects: The Novella
ENGL 4350
  • Short Story Writing
ENGL 3330
  • Beginning Creative Writing: Fiction

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