John Brandon, author and MFA faculty at Hamline University

John Brandon

Associate Professor - Creative Writing
Work space: St. Paul Main Campus > 1500 Englewood, CWP > 1500 Englewood, CWP 1500EN 2

John Brandon, associate professor of creative writing, who teaches in both the BFA and MFA creative writing programs, is the author of four novels, Arkansas, Citrus County, A Million Heavens, and Ivory Shoals and a short story collection, Further Joy, all with McSweeney's. Brandon's novels have been published in several languages. Additionally, Brandon's debut novel, Arkansas, was adapted into a motion picture in 2020, starring Vince Vaughn, Liam Hemsworth, Clark Duke, John Malkovich, Michael K. Williams, Eden Brolin, and Vivica A. Fox.

His shorter work has appeared in Oxford American, The Believer, ESPN the Magazine, GQ, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, The New York Times Magazine, and numerous university journals. For two seasons, he wrote about college football for 

He holds an undergraduate degree from University of Florida and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. He's recently spent time as the Grisham Fellow in Creative Writing at University of Mississippi, and as the Tickner Writing Fellow at Gilman School, in Baltimore, and is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Fellowship.




McSweeney’s, forthcoming, TBD in 2024

Cover of Ivory Shoals by John Brandon

Ivory Shoals

McSweeney’s, 2021

  • “Fetching … a book chock-full of … moments of psychological acuity, physical action and natural beauty … truly brilliant.” —The New York Times, July 20, 2021
Further Joy by John Brandon

Further Joy

McSweeney's, 2014

  • "Brandon has continued to hone his ear for the poetry of American talk.” Boston Globe, June 16, 204
A Million Heavens by John Brandon, MFA Faculty

A Million Heavens

McSweeney's, 2012

  • “Wondrous… More than once I handed A Million Heavens to a friend and watched the rhythms compel him or her into the thickness of a paragraph, then onto the next page…. I had to stop reading to actually pace, marveling at what one writer can imagine, what a novel is capable of holding.” —Charles Bock New York Times Book Review, August 3, 2012
Citrus County by Hamline professor John Brandon

Citrus County

McSweeney's, 2010

  • Named as one of four finalists for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award
  • "With Citrus County, John Brandon joins the ranks of writers like Denis Johnson, Joy Williams, Mary Robison and Tom Drury, writers whose wild flights feel more likely than a heap of what we've come to expect from literature, by calmly reminding us that the world is far more startling than most fiction is. He subverts the expectations of an adolescent novel by staying true to the wild incongruities of adolescence, and subverts the expectations of a crime novel by giving us people who are more than criminals and victims. The result is a great story in great prose, a story that keeps you turning pages even as you want to slow to savor them, full of characters who are real because they are so unlikely." New York Times Book Review, July 15, 2010
Arkansas by John Brandon


McSweeney's, 2008

  • "John Brandon’s remarkable first novel will blow away a certain readership. . . . Arkansas rants against the machine in a voice combining Raymond Chandler’s side-of-the-mouth noir with Quentin Tarantino’s gleeful-psychopath wit and Mark Twain’s episodic romance of the journey.” —San Francisco Chronicle

  • Arkansas was adapted into a motion picture in 2020, starring Vince Vaughn, Liam Hemsworth, Clark Duke, John Malkovich, Michael K. Williams, Eden Brolin, and Vivica A. Fox.


The Lost Coast
Co-written with Eli Horowitz, July 2017

  • The Lost Coast is a six-part novella, serialized alongside Season Two of HOMECOMING, the podcast from Gimlet Media.  


Sample of other publications 

"Rain nor Snow"
Published on, November 17, 2022

Published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern 67, August 4, 2022 

Published in Eclectica Magazine, April/May 2022

“Where Moth and Rust Destroy”
Published on, November 11, 2021