Faculty Biographies

Rita Ciresi

Retired Faculty


Office: N/A
Phone: 813-974-9570
Email: rciresi@usf.edu



Rita Ciresi is author of the novels Blue Italian, Pink Slip, Remind Me Again Why I Married You, and Bring Back My Body to Me, and the award-winning short-story collections Second Wife, Sometimes I Dream in Italian, and Mother Rocket. She also has written the romantic comedies Love on Longboat Key, Love on Lido Key, and Love on the Links under the pen name of Meg West. Her fiction has been translated or optioned for translation in German, Dutch, Greek, Polish, and Bulgarian.

Ciresi's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in magazines such Cosmopolitan, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, South Carolina Review, California Quarterly, and Prairie Schooner, and included in anthologies published by Penguin, William Morrow, Hyperion, Legas, Mammoth Books, Purdue University Press, Welcome Press, Other Press, and Feminist Press.

She has received support from the state arts councils of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida, as well as the National Writer's Voice. She has been a visiting writer at the American Academy in Rome, Hawthornden International Writers' Retreat, Martha's Vineyard Writers Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. She has written the first and final drafts of most of her work at the Ragdale Foundation.

Ciresi is Professor of English at the University of South Florida and fiction editor of 2 Bridges Review, an annual published by New York City College of Technology.

Teaching Methodology

We welcome new students into our supportive and nurturing undergraduate and MFA programs. I'm especially interested in working with prose writers who have a clear vision of their first book and intend to work hard to produce it. I was privileged to serve as director of the following MFA theses that resulted in publication:

  • Phillippe Diederich, Playing for the Devil's Fire, Cincos Puntos Press, 2016 (novel)
  • Kimberly Karalius, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, Swoon Reads, 2015 (novel)
  • Christine Lasek, Love Letters to Michigan, ELJ Editions, 2016 (stories)

I also have worked with award-winning former students Aracelis Gonzalez Asendorf, Karen Brown, Jaquira Diaz, Mary Jo Melone, Darrell Nicholson, John Nieves, and Claire Stephens.

Two of my mentees, Claire Stephens and Darrell Nicholson, were awarded the USF Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Award, the highest distinction given by the university for graduate work.


Fiction; creative nonfiction; linked short stories; women's fiction; romantic comedy; flash fiction and nonfiction; memoir; illness/grief narratives; Italian-American literature.


  • M.F.A., Penn State University