About Us


Rita  Ciresi

Rita Ciresi

Rita Ciresi
Professor of English


Office: CPR 320
Phone: 813/974-9570



Rita Ciresi is author of the novels Blue Italian, Pink Slip, Remind Me Again Why I Married You, and Bring Back My Body to Me, and the award-winning short-story collections Second WifeSometimes I Dream in Italian, and Mother Rocket.  She also has written the romantic comedies Love on Longboat Key, Love on Lido Key, and Love on the Links under the pen name of Meg West.  Her fiction has been translated or optioned for translation in German, Dutch, Greek, Polish, and Bulgarian. 

Ciresi's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in magazines such as CosmopolitanCreative NonfictionBrevitySouth Carolina ReviewCalifornia Quarterly, and Prairie Schooner, and included in anthologies published by Penguin, William Morrow, Hyperion, Legas, Mammoth Books, Purdue University Press, Welcome Press, Other Press, and the Feminist Press. 

She has received support from the state arts councils of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida as well as the National Writer’s Voice. She has been a visiting writer at the American Academy in Rome, Hawthornden International Writers’ Retreat, Martha's Vineyard Writers Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. She has written the first and final drafts of most of her work at the Ragdale Foundation.  

Ciresi is professor of English at the University of South Florida and fiction editor of 2 Bridges Review, an annual published by New York City College of Technology.  

Visit her website at www.ritaciresi.com and follow her on Twitter @ritaciresi.


M.F.A., Penn State University


p>We welcome new students into our supportive and nurturing undergraduate and MFA programs.  I'm especially interested in working with prose writers who have a clear vision of their first book and intend to work hard to produce it.  I was privileged to serve as director of the following MFA theses that resulted in publication: 

• Phillippe Diederich, Playing for the Devil's Fire, Cincos Puntos Press, 2016 (novel)
• Kimberly Karalius, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, Swoon Reads, 2015 (novel)
• Christine Lasek, Love Letters to Michigan, ELJ Editions, 2016 (stories)

I also have worked with award-winning former students Aracelis Gonzalez Asendorf, Karen Brown, Jaquira Diaz, Mary Jo Melone, Darrell Nicholson, John Nieves, and Claire Stephens.

Two of my mentees, Claire Stephens and Darrell Nicholson, were awarded the USF Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Award, the highest distinction given by the university for graduate work.

Please contact us to find out more about our exciting creative writing program! 

Specialty Area

Fiction; creative nonfiction; linked short stories; women's fiction; romantic comedy; flash fiction and nonfiction; memoir; illness/grief narratives; Italian-American literature.