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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 Department of Art & Art History, UAB Theatre, graphic novels, the Bronte Parsonage, Vulcan history, addiction, suicide, public health, transgender rights, human rights.

Office Hours: By appointment


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

Kerry Madden-Lunsford is an associate professor of Creative Writing at UAB and the author of eight published books for children and adults. Her newest is a picture book, Ernestine’s Milky Way, published by Random House Studios in 2019 and was selected as the State Book of Alabama at the National Book Festival in Washington DC. She wrote the Smoky Mountain Trilogy for children, which includes Gentle's Holler, Louisiana's Song and Jessie's Mountain, published by Viking, Penguin Random House. Her first novel, Offsides, (Morrow) was a New York Public Library Pick for the Teen Age. Offsides was first optioned by Diane Keaton and Jim Henson Productions over twenty years ago and has been more recently optioned again for a series, and Kerry and her sister, Keely Madden, are currently at work on a pilot and series bible. Her book, Up Close Harper Lee, made Booklist’s Ten Top Biographies of 2009 for Youth. She also wrote, Writing Smarts, published by American Girl, filled story sparks to encourage young writers. Nothing Fancy about Kathryn & Charlie was illustrated by her daughter, Lucy, and published by Mockingbird Publishers. Upon the book’s publication, 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 went to the Selma Dallas County Public Library in Kathryn Tucker Windham’s name. She is an occasional contributor to the LA Times Op-Ed Page and taught for ten years in the Antioch MFA Program in Los Angeles. The mother of three adult children, she divides her time between Birmingham and Los Angeles.

Madden-Lunsford was also a recipient of an Alabama State Arts Council Grant for her new Middle Grade Novel, Werewolf Hamlet for 2022. She received a Dean’s Excellence in Mentorship Award in 2021 at UAB. She has been asked to judge the Zelda Fitzgerald Young Writers’ Award in 2022 as part the Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. She received two UAB faculty development grants to work with a freelance editor on both her children’s novels and her literary fiction. She has presented workshops and readings at NCTE, AWP, ALA, SCBWI, Carson McCullers Conference in Rome at John Cabot University, CD Wright Women’s Writers Conference, and the Charlotte Huck Literary Conference. She was the former editor of PoemMemoirStory, now Nelle. She has collaborated with UAB faculty including: Doug Baulos, (art students illustrating picture books and stories for Audubon’s Society Darwin Day), Michele Forman (student memoir films), Karla Koskinen, (creative writing and theatre workshop for new musical), Tina Kempin Reuter (Representation and Respect: Addressing Transgender Rights at UAB and Beyond) and is conversation with Melissa Yes about a new Harper Lee project. She has done hundreds of writing workshops across the country for young writers over the years as well as writing storytelling workshops at Donaldson Correctional Facility. She was honored as a Tennessee Williams Scholar and a Walter E. Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. The mother of three grown children, she divides her time between Los Angeles and Alabama as her husband, Kiffen, is tenured in Los Angeles.

Visit www.kerrymadden.com to learn more about Madden-Lunsford and her work.

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.

As I’ve been working more online, I try to build a strong community of writers by building connections within smaller writing groups, and I invite diverse professional writers from all genres to meet and or zoom with UAB students including: television writing, screenwriting, mysteries, literary fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and others.

  • 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
    • Werewolf Hamlet (Recipient of State Arts Council Grant for new Middle Grade Novel)
    • Ernestine’s Milky Way (State Book of Alabama at the National Book Festival in Washington DC – picture book, Random House Studios.)
    • Offsides (pilot and series bible cowritten with sister, Keely Madden.)
    • “Missing My Mountain Mother” (essay, North Carolina Literary Review)
    • “Wild Things” (essay, Nelle)
    • “The Christmas Suit” (LA Times)
    • “Hard Time and Soft Back Books – Teaching Children’s Literature in Prison” (LA Times)
    • “When Every Suicide in the News is a Reminder of a Death in your Family” (LA Times)
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • Authors 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
    • Association of Writers and Writing Programs
    • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Student Groups
    • DISCO
    • Magic City Poetry Festival
    • UAB Creative Writing Club
    • Readings and Writing Workshops with Jefferson County Students
    • SPARK
    • O’Neal Library Summer Workshops for kids
    • Hoover Library – Talk on Fairy Tales in Literature with UAB faculty