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EIU Master of Arts in English

English MA provided alum foundation for his goals

Lee Martin

Lee Martin ‘79, Professor of English
Creative Writing Program, The Ohio State University

Although it’s been more than 30 years since Lee Martin graduated from the MA program in English at Eastern Illinois University, he still credits the program for providing the foundation he needed to reach his goals.

“The MA prepared me for my entry into the MFA program and later my Ph.D. program,” Dr. Martin said. “The MA at Eastern was the first step toward the life I’d always wanted, the life of a writer and a teacher.”

Dr. Martin worked for three years as the coordinator of an Education Talent Search program at Vincennes University after completing his MA at EIU. He then entered the MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Arkansas. From that point on, the only job he has held is that of a teacher and a writer. He spent five years in a doctoral program at the University of Nebraska, which prepared him for life in academia, he said.

Today he is a Professor of English in the Creative Writing program at The Ohio State University. He teaches workshops and seminars in fiction and creative nonfiction, and teaches at writers’ conferences across the country. He spends his days going back and forth from his own work to the work of his students.

“I like to spend some time every day with whatever novel, essay or short story I happen to have underway,” he said. “So after an eight-mile morning run, I settle into my writing room. Then there are classes to prepare for and teach.”

Dr. Martin is the author of four novels, three memoirs and a short story collection. His novel The Bright Future was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 2006.

Dr. Martin’s advice to current MA students:

“Know where you want to end up and know how the MA will help you get there. Talk to your professors, and stay in touch with them after you receive your degree.”

Dr. Martin is a recipient of a 2009 Outstanding Graduate Alumni Award from the EIU Graduate School. Read his Outstanding Graduate profile in the awards program here.


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