MFA alumna Cinelle Barnes ’15 (Creative Nonfiction) was selected as a judge for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize Awards memoir category.
Barnes earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Converse. She is the author of Monsoon Mansion and Malaya: Essays on Freedom, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Longreads, Buzzfeed Reader, Literary Hub, and CNN Philippines, among others.
While a student at Converse, Barnes’ thesis advisor and primary mentor was Professor Susan Tekulve. Eight years later, they maintain a personal and professional friendship, a common relationship many of our faculty and students share after graduation.
Barnes said she spent nearly a year reading several books a week as part of her role as a Pulitzer Prize judge. Barnes said, “We are proud of the genre and form, and we are grateful to be able to celebrate its artists and voices in this way. My love for memoir is stronger and deeper than ever, and in the age of A.I., I’m even more convinced that our work is vital.”
Barnes was named one of the 50 Most Influential by Charleston Business in 2021. She is currently at work on an immigrant travel memoir.