The University of Iowa

Mieke Eerkens

Mieke Eerkens is a Dutch-American writer who grew up in Los Angeles and The Netherlands. She earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, and an M.F.A. in Nonfiction Writing from The University of Iowa. She has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing and currently teaches creative writing for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, Catapult, Los Angeles Review of Books, Pank, Guernica, and Creative Nonfiction, among others. Her work has further been anthologized in Best Travel Writing 2011; Norton’s Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts; and A Book of Uncommon Prayer, selected as a “notable essay” in Best American Science and Nature Writing, and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. All Ships Follow Me, a book about her parents’ experiences in WWII and the inheritance of war trauma, was released in 2019 by Picador/Macmillan.

Instructor Events

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Mieke Eerkens

It should come as no surprise that in the fast-paced, Twitter-dominated society we live in today, very short, self-contained essays and stories are quite popular. Generally under 1000 words and often under 500, "flash" essays and stories can provide a welcome break from longer projects while keeping our writing muscles active. In addition, producing material appropriate for publication in a relatively short time can foster a sense of tangible accomplishment.

Weekend June 27 to June 28 2020
Instructor(s): 
Mieke Eerkens

This weekend course promises to stock you with enough fresh material for 10 essays, stories, or even a book to flesh out over the months following the class. In an invigorating, supportive, no-pressure environment, we’ll use tested and effective writing prompts to get some beginnings down on paper for further development when you go home. We’ll have some time to discuss and share our work at the end of class each day and get some feedback on how to proceed with the work we’ve generated, as well as get a list of prompts to generate new material at home. 10 prompts. 2 days.

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Mieke Eerkens

Shopping list as essay. Death certificate as personal narrative. Map as manifesto. Where once writers of nonfiction were expected to adhere firmly to traditional presentation of their material and avoid overly creative manipulation of form, contemporary writers increasingly challenge these rigid notions, insisting that the thoughtful exploration of a subject can be enhanced by a complementary form to add additional layers of meaning. Today’s prose might therefore borrow the formats of poetry or drama in order to most effectively make its point.