Domenica Ruta

BA, Oberlin College. MFA, University of Texas–Austin, Michener Center for Writers. Ruta is author of With or Without You, aThe New York Times bestselling memoir; Last Day, a novel; and the forthcoming novel, All the Mothers (summer 2025). Her short fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in Iowa Review, Boston ReviewIndiana Review, Epoch, 9th Letter, The New York Times, The CutAmerican Scholar, and elsewhere. SLC, 2022–

Undergraduate Courses 2024-2025


Grow Up! Depicting Childhood in Literary Fiction

Open, Seminar—Fall

WRIT 3155

In this generative creative-writing class, we will study the way child narrators and child protagonists are made real on the page through a close reading of authors like Jesamyn Ward, Jeanette Winterson, Joy Williams, Ha Jin, Mariana Enriquez, Sandra Cisneros, Truman Capote, and others. Through experimentation and play, we will write short fiction featuring different child narrators and protagonists. A portfolio of exercises, including at least one completed story, will be our output. This course is great for students curious about creative writing and fiction but don't know where to start, as well as committed creative writers looking for a laboratory to try something new and outside-the-box of a traditional workshop.


Previous Courses

MFA Writing

Embodied Text–Nonfiction Craft


In this craft class, we will explore the different ways in which authors of creative nonfiction inhabit their texts; the pleasures (as both readers and writers) of such embodiment; and the aesthetic, emotional, and political pitfalls of such deep immersion into the characters, landscapes, and experiences of supposed subjectivities. Through generative exercises, meditation, experimentation, and play, we will inhabit new and, hopefully, exciting spaces in our writing. Close reading of authors such as Marlon James, Louise Erdrich, Michael Twitty, Barbara Demmick, Lydia Yuknavitch, Katherine Raven, Melissa Febos, and others will inspire and instigate us.


Nonfiction Workshop


This memoir workshop will follow the traditional format of manuscript exchange and evaluation with a particular emphasis on Kaula, or community building. Constructive criticism is not constructive; the only helpful "critiques" meet each individual author exactly where they are, on their own unique terms, and offer support and encouragement of what we, as readers, perceive, from our highest selves, are the author's intentions for the work. This can only be achieved in a safe and mutually respectful community. In conference, students will complete an intensive structural analysis of a book-length, published work of personal narrative (either memoir or "collected essays," aka memoir) and will take turns presenting to the class an excerpt of the book that they have chosen for conference study. Please come to the first class with a vague idea of which book you are interested in studying on a deeper level this semester.