Gregory Michael Orfalea, MFA

Adjunct Faculty Member
Humanities Room #209


Gregory Orfalea was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and educated at Georgetown University and the University of Alaska.  He is the author of eight books, the most recent of which are the short story collection The Man Who Guarded the Bomb (2010) and Angeleno Days (2009), called by Richard Rodriguez "delightful and wise."  Orfalea is a seminal historian of the Arab American community.  His The Arab Americans, A History (2006) is the most comprehensive work on the subject.  In recent years he has been teaching Middle Eastern American Literature at Georgetown University.

The recipient of many awards for his writing, Orfalea's Angeleno Days has won the 2010 Arab American Book Award and has been named a Finalist for the PEN USA Award in Creative Nonfiction.

In addition to his work at CLU, Orfalea is teaching a seminar in Fiction Writing at the Claremont Graduate University.  Once director of the writing program at Pitzer College, he has also taught at George Washington University and Santa Barbara City College.




MFA, Creative Writing, University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK

B.A., English, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

HS Diploma, Crespi Carmelite High School, Encino, Ca


Orfalea is a noted scholar on Arab American history and literature.  He has been interviewed for or quoted by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Diane Rehm Show, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the National Catholic Reporter, KOCE-TV Public Television, and many others. 

He has guest lectured at many universities, including MIT, UCLA, USC, Wake Forest, Johns Hopkins, UC Davis, and Westmont College, and has spoken at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Archives, the Arab American National Museum, the City Museum of New York, the American Center in Amman, Jordan, and others.

His chief areas of expertise and practice in literature are the short story and creation nonfiction/memoir writing.  He also is known as a commentator on California life and culture.  In a review of Angeleno Days, James Fallows, the national correspondent for The Atlantic, places Orfalea in line with Southern California's "distinct literary voices, from Nathanael West and Joan Didion to Walter Mosley and Michael Connolly."  He goes on, "Gregory Orfalea is the next in this series, with his moving essays."

Many of his short stories have been anthologized, including "The Chandelier."   His work has been translated into three languages:  Arabic, Polish, and German.



The Man Who Guarded the Bomb, Stories, Syracuse University Press, 2010

Angeleno Days:  An Arab American Writer on Family, Place, and Politics, UArizona Press, 2009

Obama’s First 150 Days:  Perspectives from An Arab American Writer, Georgetown, 2009

The Arab Americans:  A History, Olive Branch Press/Interlink, 2006

Up All Night:  Practical Wisdom from Mothers and Fathers, w/B. Rosewicz, Paulist Press, 2004

Grape Leaves, A Century of Arab American Poetry (ed. with Sharif Elmusa), Interlink Publishers, 2000, (reprint of University of Utah Press 1988 edition)

Messengers of the Lost Battalion (The Heroic 551st and the Turning of the Tide at the Battle of the Bulge), The Free Press/Simon and Schuster, 1997

Before the Flames: A Quest for the History of Arab Americans, University of Texas Press, 1988

The Capital of Solitude (poems), Ithaca House, 1988

Memoirs and Essays

Washington Post, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Baltimore Sun, Antioch Review,

Michigan Quarterly Review, American Studies International, MELUS, Journal of American Ethnic History

Fiction and Poetry

Antioch Review, Banipal, California Quarterly, Christian Science Monitor, Greenfield Review, Kansas Quarterly, Jewish Currents, Mizna, Northwest Review, Poet Lore, Triquarterly, 2Plus2

Textbooks and Anthologies

In Thyme:  Middle Eastern American Literature, Syracuse University Press, forthcoming 2011

Papa, PhD:  Essays on Fatherhood by Men in the Academy, Rutgers U. Press, 2010

Inclined to Speak:  An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry, U. of Arkansas, 2008

Etching Our Own Image:  Arab American Art Movement, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007

Multiculturalism in the United States, Greenwood Press, 2005

Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2000

The Norton Introduction to Poetry, W.W. Norton, 1995

New Worlds of Literature: Writing from America’s Many Cultures, W.W. Norton, 1994

The Oxford Companion to Women’s Literature, Oxford University Press, 1994

Visions of America: Personal Narratives from the Promised Land, Persea Books, 1993

American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context, Houghton Mifflin, 1991

Imagining America: Tales from the Promised Land, Persea Books, 1991

Triquarterly’s Best Fiction of the 1980s (1990)

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