Associate Professor, Director, Creative WritingThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
University Hall 5049
(205) 934-2641

Research and Teaching Interests: Creative nonfiction, literary fiction, writing and illustrating for young people, collaborative and team teaching with the UAB Art Department, graphic novels, the Bronte Parsonage, Vulcan history

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.A., University of Tennessee
  • MFA, University of Tennessee

Kerry Madden-Lunsford has written plays, screenplays, articles, and books including Offsides, a New York Library Pick for 1997, and Writing Smarts, a guide to creative writing published by the American Girl Company. Her play “Chattanooga Flamenco” was a finalist at Ensemble Studio Theatre in 2004. She  turned her hand to children’s literature with her award-winning and well-reviewed Maggie Valley Trilogy — Gentle's Holler (2005), Louisiana's Song (2007), and Jessie's Mountain (2008). Her biography of Harper Lee was a Booklist and Kirkus Pick of 2009. Nothing Fancy about Kathryn & Charlie was illustrated by her daughter Lucy Madden-Lunsford; in the summer of 2013, Kerry and Lucy went on a book tour to rural Alabama libraries to do art and writing workshops with children across the state. A portion of the royalties go directly to the Selma Dallas County Public Library in Kathryn Tucker Windham’s name.

Madden has been honored as a Tennessee Williams Scholar and a Walter E. Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She is an editor of Poem Memoir Story. The mother of three almost-grown children, she divides her time between Los Angeles and Alabama as her husband, Kiffen, is tenured in Los Angeles. Her youngest is a student at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and her older children are graduates of Sarah Lawrence College and UC Santa Barbara. Visit www.kerrymadden.com to learn more about Madden-Lunsford and her work.

Kerry's biography, Up Close Harper Lee, has been rereleased by Viking Penguin in conjunction with Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee's second novel. She will be attending the Mississippi State Book Festival on a Harper Lee panel. She has published five essays with the Los Angeles Times in the past year. She will be participating in Jane Yolen's picture book boot camp in September 2015 at Yolen's home with a group of other children's authors.

How I Teach English

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” — E. L. Doctorow

As my students' teacher and mentor, I try to help them make that trip with joy, curiosity, and hope. Dread and that harsh inner editor will no doubt try to hitch a ride, too, but I encourage my students to believe in themselves as writers. Through a series of writing sparks, I encourage my students to delve into their own lives to mine for material. I use a wide range of texts help students shape their stories.

I am also a firm believer in having students read their words out loud to see how they sound. I call this the “Grace Paley Method” of workshopping as I want them to listen to the way words sound and react to how a story is working on a visceral level on that first read. My philosophy is to allow the writing to be lively, messy and full of risks in the first drafts. Then together, we look hard at the revision process and how to shape and craft a story in rewrites by asking a series of questions to get to the heart of the narrative. I try to help my students see the joy and possibility in the revision process, because they have the literary map in front of them filled with possibility. My goal is for the students to leave the workshop with a stronger sense of voice and commitment to the narrative and a greater understanding of the discipline needed to embrace the writing life.

  • Recent Courses
    • Advanced Creative Nonfiction
    • Beginning Nonfiction
    • Memoir in Writing and Film
    • Beginning Fiction
    • Writing for Young People
    • Introduction to Creative Writing
    • Advanced Fiction Writing
  • Select Publications
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • Author’s Guild
    • Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
    • Sewanee Writers Conference Fellow and Scholar
    • Antioch University Mentor
    • Los Angeles Review of Books contributor
    • Aid to Inmate Mothers Storybook Project
  • Student Groups
    • Creative writing salons around town at the Spencer Honors House, Hulsey Hall, Forest Perk, Bottle Tree, and Avondale Brewery