Marcus Endowed Chair Faculty Profile: Joseph Cassara

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Joseph Cassara in conversation at The Poetry Center

Assistant Professor Joseph Cassara is a champion of fellow writers, including his students at SF State. He empathizes with the pace and peace that they need to draft a manuscript.

“Writing is a process that requires you to just slow down and block out the rest of the world,” Cassara said in a new video profile produced by the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, “so you can focus on what’s going on in your head and how you are going to translate that to the page.”

His debut novel, “The House of Impossible Beauties” (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2018), is an imagining of characters from the 1980s documentary “Paris is Burning,” which explored New York City’s drag ball scene. The novel won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, two International Latino Book Awards and the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award for Best Fiction Book and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction.

Cassara joined San Francisco State in fall 2020 as a George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Creative Writing. This new tenure-track position is one of four endowed chairs established by SF State’s George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts.

Cassara’s short fiction, essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Style Magazine, The Boston Review and a London-based anthology titled “The Queer Bible.”

— Video by Ying Wencie Hoang

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