Kathryn Burak

Master Lecturer, COM Writing Program

About Kathryn Burak

Kathryn Burak is the Director of the Writing Program and author of Writing in the Works (Cengage). She has published stories and poems in The Missouri Review, Grey Sparrow, Seventeen, Western Humanities Review, Fiction, and others. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the Boston Globe, Belt magazine and other places. Her young adult novel, Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things (Roaring Brook), was a finalist for an Edgar Allan Poe Mystery Writer's Prize. The book was included in Best Children's Books of 2013 by Bankstreet School of Education, Tri-State Reviews Books of Note, Southern Maine Cream of the Crop list, and the Independent Booksellers New Voices List of 2012. She has presented on the teaching of writing at the College Composition and Communications Conference, and on the power of poetry--particularly Emily Dickinson's poetry--on influencing young writers.

My teaching begins and ends with the only slightly bad advice for writers: "prepare for wasted effort." It's bad advice because I really don't believe any effort is wasted. At the same time, I know not all effort makes a beeline to finished product. In fact, most of it doesn't. But what writers need to know is, no matter where they start, if they continue, they'll make progress. Oh yes they will. I believe this. I know this. As the writer Samuel Beckett said: "Ever tried. Ever Failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

I like my students to come to class. Talk to us; talk with us. Ask questions--it shows you care--and be kind, but also honest.
We're all learning from each other here.


  • BA, Kutztown University
  • MFA, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • Graduate Certificate, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Boston University