Albert Haley

Albert Haley, Professor of English, grew up in Alaska and graduated from Yale where he earned a B.A. degree in economics. At Yale he also studied fiction writing from John Hersey (A Bell for Adano, The Wall, Hiroshima) and Gordon Lish, then fiction editor of Esquire. After college, Haley went on to write and publish with E. P. Dutton Home Ground: Stories of Two Families and the Land and Exotic, the latter the winner of the John Irving First Novel Prize. Places where Haley’s short fiction has appeared include The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and Image: A Journal of the Arts & Religion.  His poetry has been published in Poems & Plays, The Texas Review, Christianity and Literature, and Rattle.  In 1993 he received an MFA degree in creative writing from the University of Houston.  Since 1997 he has served as Writer in Residence at Abilene Christian University where he teaches Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction Workshops as well as Business and Professional Writing.

Sample Poem ("Les Étoiles," published in Poems & Plays, Spring/Summer 2002)

Sample Fiction (excerpt of short story “Line of Duty,” published in Mars Hill Review, March 2001)

What Others Said About Home Ground: Stories of Two Families and the Land

“The best fiction we have about contemporary Alaska.”  Larry McMurtry

“I think Home Ground’s terrific.” Raymond Carver

“Haley’s is a booming voice, original, singular, clear…he has the makings of a novelist of the first rank.”  Los Angeles Herald Examiner

“Like James Joyce’s Dubliners, Home Ground accumulates through self-contained narratives an ambitious near-novel rich in meaning…”  New York Times

What Others Said About Exotic, a Novel

Exotic takes off like a rocket,” L.A. Times

“It’s easy to see oneself in this novel…. Exchanges between the newly married pair echoed through my mind like conversations out of my own bedroom, laying bare forgotten pains.”  The Oakland Press

“Read as a fable of two fallible mortals who say no to some things and yes to others, Exotic is as sweet and satisfying as a papaya peeled and presented by the one you love.”  L.A. Herald Examiner

Personal Remarks About Writing

“One of the great tasks for contemporary fiction writers may be to rediscover a transcendent God and His creation through credible characters who are open to a spiritual way of life.”

“There’s not a particular locale where God comes to reward those who wish to create.  Instead of being about place, it’s about time.  There is only one time for the one who wishes to create in his name.  The time is now, this present moment.  Wherever I am, in that moment I reach out to him and I allow him to come into me.  It is then that the miracle can finish itself and creativity can be drawn up out of me by him.  I cannot prove this or articulate the steps to make it happen; it’s just a hunch.  If I want to write, if I want to be creative beyond measure, I need all the help I can get.  I need that most unfashionable thing of all.  I need God.”

"What drives me as a writer is an overwhelming curiosity about life.  I take seriously Jesus’s call to become ‘like little children.’  I’m interested in the political landscape; the economy; movies, paintings; rock, blues, jazz, classical music; barbeque; the names of flowers; the losers and winners in life; making soap bubbles; building model cars; talking back to my computer; running around a track until my brain starts to hear new voices; conversing with my wife and friend Joyce about anything (especially theology); and getting down in the floor and playing with Coleman, my young son, who doesn’t know how to be anything other than an unrestrained artist and lover of life.”

Thoughts About Creative Writing at ACU

“Most Christian colleges of ACU’s size offer a single course for beginning creative writers that takes an all-in-one approach.  A few weeks are spent on poetry, a few weeks on story writing, and some more time is allowed for trying playwriting or nonfiction.  

ACU, on the other hand, offers four separate courses in creative writing:  poetry, fiction, playwriting, and creative nonfiction. These courses allow students to explore each distinctly different genre in depth for a whole semester, giving them enough time to really learn the craft.”

“I’m most proud of the caliber of students who sign up for the creative writing courses.  They are imaginative, hard working, and believe in the high standard I set before them, which is to try to write publishable work.  Because the students are so committed, they have had phenomenal success in winning contests in which their work has been entered, both statewide and national.” 

“Since we are made in the image of the Creator of all that exists, and because we know this, Christians ought to be the most creative artists working on the face of the planet.  To make this happen, we need teachers who can model a kind of fearless willingness to use their God-given gifts to inspire and amaze others, all the while asking for power and guidance from God.”

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