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Acclaimed Author Joins UCR

Tom Lutz to Direct UCR Palm Desert Master of Fine Arts Program

Acclaimed author joins UCR as professor of creative writing.

(September 20, 2006)

PALM DESERT, Calif. ( — Tom Lutz has been appointed associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, and director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Writing for Performance program at UCR Palm Desert. He succeeds Eric Barr, who directed the program on an interim basis since 2005.

Lutz served as acting director for the MFA writing program and visiting professor of critical studies at the California Institute of the Arts, located in Valencia, for the past academic year. He concurrently served as professor of English at the University of Iowa, which he joined in 1988 as an assistant professor.

A prolific and critical acclaimed author, Lutz’s latest work — “Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums in America” - has been reviewed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, Publisher’s Weekly, Esquire and Playboy, among other media.

In conjunction with “Doing Nothing,” Lutz has recently appeared on CBS Sunday Morning and National Public Radio’s Marketplace.

Lutz is the author of “Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears in 1999. His “American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History” was a New York Times Notable Book in 1991.

Lutz earned his doctorate in modern thought and literature from Stanford University in 1989.

“I’m very excited to help build this new program, one of the only MFA programs in the country to concentrate on screenplay and teleplay writing alongside the more traditional genres of fiction, poetry and nonfiction,” Lutz said..

“The Palm Desert campus is a jewel in UCR’s crown, a place where the finest graduate programs will serve the community as well as students from around the nation and the world,” he added. “Through outreach programs of various kinds we hope to bring valley residents of all ages and interests into closer contact with the world of literature and film,” Lutz said.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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