Carnegie Mellon University

Sharon Dilworth

Sharon Dilworth

Associate Professor of English

Department of English, Carnegie Mellon University, Baker Hall 259, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Area of Study

Creative Writing, Film and Visual Media


As an artist in mid-career, my writing explores the small tragedies and resonance of lives underway.  In my recent plays and novels, I have attempted to discern the timbre and qualities that have emerged in my own adult life with characters whose desires are circumscribed by the landscapes they may have created and pasts they can no longer escape.  I think my writing is now more resonant emotionally than my earlier work.  Ambiguity and paradox have become familiar subjects, and with that, I attempt to capture the sadness and grace notes of the quotidian.   I would not ultimately characterize myself as an experimental writer.  Nor would I place myself in the category of feminist writing, even though many of my protagonists and their situations could be thought of as particular to contemporary women.  Rather than being dogmatic, I think my characters and I just eventually muddle through, coming to some resolution without the aid of stark omens or transcendental epiphanies.  Telling the story leads me where I am going to go. 

I have published three collections of short stories, The Long White, Women Drinking Benedictine, & Two Sides, Three Rivers as well as two novels, Year of the Ginkgo and My Riviera.  I have received an Iowa Award in Short Fiction, a Pushcart Prize in Fiction, and a Hopwood Award as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.