Michael Downs, MFA

Professor, Director PRWR


Contact Info

LA 5332


MFA, University of Arkansas, 1999
BS, University of Arizona, 1986

Areas of Expertise

Creative Writing


Michael Downs teaches courses in fiction and creative nonfiction writing. He is the author of House of Good Hope (University of Nebraska Press), which won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize. His short stories have been anthologized in High Five, and Points of Contact, and have twice appeared in volumes of Best American Mystery Stories. The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Five Points, Witness and The Missouri Review have also published his fiction, and in 2005 he won a literary fiction fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, where he sets his fiction, following the advice of a mentor who once told him, "we write from where we get the wound."

Writers who have influenced his work include William Kennedy, Anton Chekhov, Alice Munro, Elizabeth Bishop, William Trevor, Katherine Anne Porter, Gary Smith and Sheri Venema.

In another life, Downs was a newspaper reporter, covering sports, city and county government, and general assignments. He continues to work as a teacher/editor with the American Indian Journalism Institute and reznet, an online site offering news from Native America.

After Connecticut, Downs lived in Vermont, Arizona, Arkansas and Montana prior to arriving in Maryland. His house is in the Hamilton neighborhood of Baltimore, near a duckpin bowling alley and a park that has a woods for walking dogs. Downs is a basketball fan who, though nearsighted and slow, plays every week, grateful that a place remains on the court for errant jump shots and goofy black sport goggles.