Cris Mazza

601 South Morgan Street (MC 162)
University Hall, Suite 1932
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312.413.2795
Fax: 312.413.1005
Curriculum Vitae


In the past 8 years, Cris Mazza's work has continued to consider psychological and emotional complexities of life, but has opened up to include the contributing complication of place: How regions or localities that still have their own unique characteristics of landscape, society, and culture can impact the human experiences (sexuality, family, gender) that Mazza explores in fiction. Her 2001 novel, Girl Beside Him, inhabits rural Wyoming. Homeland (2004) involves a woman and her elderly father grappling with a 30-year-old family tragedy while they also find themselves homeless, living in the canyons of suburban Southern California alongside migrant agricultural workers. Indigenous / Growing Up Californian (2003), a collection of personal essays, deals with place as it anchors memory and the reconstruction of experience. Mazza’s most recent novel, Waterbaby, (2007), looks at how local 19th century legends still live and grow in a seacoast town in Maine.

In 2005, Mazza had two novels published: Many Ways to Get It, Many Ways to Say It details two "reversals" of man-on-woman sexual harassment. In Disability, the "place" is of a different sort. Here Mazza has anchored the characters inside a state institute for profoundly retarded, physically handicapped children. The minimum wage basic caregivers struggle to remain both optimistic and realistic, two emotions very much at odds, but which the caregivers try to maintain in balance.  As their personal failures mount, two female employees, with their own unseen "disabilities" in dealing with their lives and pasts, react harshly to the breakdown in the balancing act.

Mazza is the author of thirteen books of fiction. Some of her other notable titles include Is It Sexual Harassment Yet?, the PEN / Nelson Algren winning How to Leave a Country, and Your Name Here :____.

Mazza is director of the UIC Graduate Program for Writers and usually teaches the novel workshop. UIC's writing program is one of only a handful that offers a workshop specifically designed for novels-in-progress. The workshop discusses novels from the first draft of a first chapter to finished manuscripts in their second or third stage of revision. The novel workshop strives to teach first-time novelists to develop the rhythm and sometimes wide-angle view that makes writing a novel unlike short fiction. The workshop also considers and debates current issues, trends, prejudices and foibles in the publishing industry. This segment of the novel workshop has prompted Mazza to begin to offer the graduate publishing workshop: a forum where students not only prepare their materials for shopping manuscripts (poetry, essays, short fiction as well as novels), but also research and discuss other corners of the life of a professional writer, from editing anthologies to putting out literary magazines, from reviewing books to judging (or entering) literary contests, from useful niches to undesired labels, from societal pressures and influences on the commercial publishing industry, to the writer's job in book promotion.

Visit Cris Mazza's website.


Waterbaby: A Novel
Soft Skull Press
Published: October 28, 2007
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Many Ways To Get It, Many Ways To Say It
Chiasmus Press
Published: February 28, 2005
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Disability: A Novella
Fiction Collective 2
Published: February 25, 2005
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Indigenous: Growing Up Californian
City Lights Books
Published: May 2003
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Girl Beside Him
Fiction Collective 2; 1st ed edition
Published: 2001
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Is It Sexual Harassment Yet
Northwestern University Press; New Ed edition
Published: September 30, 1998
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Dog People: A Novel
Coffee House Press
Published: May 1997
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