MFA Graduate Timothy Moore

When Timothy first entered Roosevelt University in 2010, he was full of creative stories waiting to be written. "I wanted to write like Cormac McCarthy, or something." Recently, the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (CHESS) was pleased to welcome back to campus Timothy Moore, an alumnus, an educator, and now, a published author. He spoke to the Creative Writing MFA program about his latest collection of short stories, I Will Teach You Retribution. Timothy began writing this collection during his time at Roosevelt as an MFA student, so this visit also served as a homecoming celebration for his work. Published by LONG DAY PRESS, Timothy describes this collection as including his “weirdest and darkest stories yet.” It’s fitting then that for Timothy, coming back to the university as a speaker felt “quite surreal.” He recalled how, “I would go to these author events and look up to the authors and wonder what their lives are like and stuff like that.” Now, Timothy lives the life of a published author. 

A self-described Army brat, Timothy grew up on multiple army bases across the country before his family settled in Tacoma, Washington. His Korean heritage and Buddhist upbringing have been integral to his writing style, which Timothy describes has running the gamut from fictionalized realism to dark surrealism. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree in Philadelphia, Timothy was looking to explore the world of creative fiction writing in another metropolitan city. Roosevelt’s program immediately piqued his interest. He reached out to then program director, the late Scott Blackwood, who Timothy remembers as “very welcoming and very warm.” After that, “It was a no brainer. I didn't even apply anywhere else. I just was like, ‘I'm gonna go to Roosevelt.’”

During his time at the University, Timothy became a prolific writer. Over the course of the three-year program, Timothy produced nearly 50 stories. He hopes to one day publish them into more short story collections. The lectures and workshops hosted by the Creative Writing program helped Timothy and his small cohort hone their raw craft into lifelong skillsets. The dedication and passion of professors like Scott Blackwood, Kyle Beachy, and Kathleen Rooney were just a few of the many educators Timothy was grateful to learn from. During his time in the MFA program, he served as a teaching assistant, as well as an editor of the storied literary publication Oyez Review. The members of his cohort were also essential to his experience in the Creative Writing program. During class, they would critique each other’s work. Afterwards, they would often find themselves in nearby shops discussing their favorite writers. 

In 2012, Timothy completed his master’s of fine arts in Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction. He has gone on to have his work featured in esteemed publications such as McSweeney’s, Midnight Breakfast and The Chicago Reader. He has also been the recipient of multiple fellowships and grants for his work. While Timothy credits much of his professional success to the training he received at Roosevelt, he also noted the impact this time had on his personal life. Following graduation, Timothy remained close friends with his cohort. One of his closest friends even introduced Timothy to the woman he would eventually marry. With a chuckle, Timothy says, “I wouldn’t even have this family without the program.”  Today, they all still meet up to talk about writing, and now, to share about their experiences as parents.

When Timothy was invited to speak to the current class of MFA students, he was delighted to return to the classroom. He read excerpts from I Will Teach You Retribution before answering questions, and finally leading a creative writing workshop with the students. Timothy had this to say of his return to the Creative Writing program:

“The students were great. They all had really thoughtful questions. The workshop was so much fun. I kind of forgot how much I missed being in the workshops. It was great. And they are such great writers, too. It was a really wonderful experience, to be on the other side.”

Today, Timothy Moore is a published author, an educator, a husband and a father to two young children. While he is currently celebrating the success of I Will Teach You Retribution, he is already ruminating on his next project, which according to Timothy, will shift more towards realism. He credits his time at Roosevelt as preparing him for a career in publishing. For current and prospective students, Timothy had this to say: 

“Take advantage of the time you have here. Make friends. Hang out with them outside of class. Go to readings across the city. There's so many readings and so many great local presses and authors here. Email your professors all the time and ask them questions. Go all the time for the time that you're here.”

That strategy certainly worked for Timothy.

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