Karen Dwyer, Ph.D.
Coordinator, Literature and Creative Writing Programs
- Bachelor of Arts, English and Creative Writing, Loyola College
- Master of Arts, English, The University of Illinois, Chicago
- Doctor of Philosophy, English/Creative Writing, The University of Illinois - Chicago
- Introduction to Fiction Writing
- Advanced Fiction Writing
- Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
- Advanced Creative Nonfiction
- Contemporary Literature
- The Short Story
- American Literature Survey II 1865-Present
- World Literature I and II
Associate Professor Karen Dwyer, Ph.D., has lived in six cities and visited dozens more in dozens of countries. She has touched four continents and swum in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, three of the Great Lakes and the Mediterranean and Black seas. She's been a lifeguard, an electrical engineer, a liquor store manager, a (terrible) waitress and once wrote product descriptions for Playboy magazine and documentation letters for a firm which worked to support immigrants' applications for citizenship.
Dwyer reads, studies and writes short stories and essays. Her fiction and nonfiction attempt to capture the impatient restlessness of contemporary middle class American life on average American women struggling with the social expectations of being a "woman" in a society that no longer offers a shared sense of culture. Her stories reflect a consistent attention to protagonists endeavoring to be "normal" in an America that considers individuality both amorphous and subjective yet maintains the insistent social milestones of coupling and motherhood that women are expected but also conditioned to achieve. Her characters are desperately seeking sameness in a world that seems to change too suddenly, importantly, and quickly, even if not dramatically - a nod to the Chekhovian notion of "and suddenly everything became clear to him."
Selected Works and Presentations
- "Ancient Texts," Red Orchard Review.
- Presented paper "I'm Never Alone and Always Lonely" at the AWP Conference, Feb. 2012, Chicago, Ill.
- Short story, "The Smoker," published in Triquarterly Review, Spring 2012.
- Short story, "If and Then," a finalist in Zoetrope: One Story.
- Presented paper "Carver, Poe, and the Short Story: It's not Epiphany; It's Grace" at the Association of Writers and Writers and Writing Programs National Conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 2011.
- The contemporary short story
- Hysterical realism and the surreal in the contemporary novel
- Association of Writers and Writing Programs
- Modern Language Association
Point Park Features
- "Creative Writing, Secondary Education M.Ed. Alumnus Josh McCann ’18 ’23 is an English Teacher and Published Writer," Point Park University website, June 20, 2023.
- "Short Fiction Writer John Fried Leads Master Class and Reading with Literary Arts Students," Point Park University website, Nov. 12, 2019.
- "Creative Writing Alumna, West Coast Native is the Lifestyle Editor for LOCALpittsburgh," Point Park University website, Nov. 4, 2015.
- "Creative Writing 2015 Graduate Offered Full-Time Position Right After Graduating," Point Park University website, July 9, 2015.
- "2015 HHS Symposium Featured Open Mic Reading, Variety of Research Posters and Presentations," Point Park University website, May 11, 2015.
- "Bestselling Novelist Stewart O'Nan Leads Master Class, Offers Students Writing Advice," Point Park University website, March 23, 2015.
- "Students Encouraged to Find Their Personal Stories at Human Rights Symposium," Point Park University website, April 29, 2013.
- "Cultivating Young Writers," The Point, Fall 2012 issue.
- "Creative Writing Workshops Allow Students to Hone Their Craft," Point Park University website, April 8, 2011.