Holly Woodward

Rafi Zabor is an extraordinary teacher. I recommend him with great enthusiasm. He teaches with wisdom and kindness, and an encyclopedic knowledge of literature, both contemporary and classic. I have experienced his skills as a teacher firsthand in a semester advanced writing workshop at the Unterberg Center of the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. In the classroom, he has a commanding presence that inspires students and energizes discussion, pushing us to aim higher, work harder, and delve deeper.

The writing assignments he devised challenged and brought out the best in each author. The care with which he read and listened was exceptional, and I continue to come to him for advice on writing. His patience for line edits is a rare gift, and his comments astute and helpful.

He is in a league by himself in his writing. His first novel won the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel, The Bear Comes Home. It is a masterpiece, and his second book, I, Wabenzi, a memoir published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, is also a major achievement, a complex and nuanced account. He has a new novel his agent is circulating now.

I wholeheartedly recommend Rafi Zabor. I have studied at Columbia for my MFA, and SUNY for my PhD in writing, and I have never had such a wise and generous mentor.