Jen Hirt, M.F.A.

Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Composition, School of Humanities
Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Humanities in English
Program Coordinator, Certificate Program in Writing Instruction Specialist
Program Coordinator, Minor in Writing
Humanities Graduate Faculty
Office Phone: +1 717 948 6167
Office Location: Olmsted Building, W355
Mailing Address:

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Jen Hirt is a creative writer who specializes in creative nonfiction essays and book-length memoirs, as well as experimental nonfiction and prose poetry. Her first book, the memoir Under Glass: The Girl with a Thousand Christmas Trees, was published in 2010 and won an emerging writer prize. She regularly teaches introductory creative writing courses, as well as advanced courses in nonfiction, poetry, expository writing, and social science writing. She is the faculty advisor to From the Fallout Shelter, the campus literary arts magazine, and she is active in the honors program and the graduate communications program. Hirt’s research is focused on the natural world, especially odd encounters with animals, unusual trees, and greenhouses. 


  • 2012 Gabehart Prize for Nonfiction for “Glow in the Dark”
  • 2011 Drake University Emerging Writer Prize for Under Glass
  • 2010 Pushcart Prize for “Lores of Last Unicorns”
  • 2010 Notable essay mention in Best American Essays 2010
  • 2009 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Literature Grant
  • 2004 Bernheim Arboretum Writer-in-Residence fellowship
  • 2003 Ohioana Library Grant

Professional Affiliations 

  • Associated Writing Programs
  • Ohioana Library Association
Research Interests
The art of the essay
20th century and 21st century creative nonfiction writers
Trends in award-winning essays