Bronco Spotlight: Kai Harris

Ph.D. in creative writing, 2021

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Santa Clara University

Author, Tiny Reparations Books/Penguin Random House

I'm a tenure-track professor specializing in creative writing, and a fiction author with debut novel upcoming in 2022.

What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?

The experience of being a student (and especially a grad student) helped prepare me for my career. I was able to gain experience in the classroom as a graduate teaching assistant, as well as learning alongside my professors in their classrooms. I had helpful mentors in my department who spent time preparing me for comp exams, dissertation, job market, etc. It was also wonderful learning under an established fiction author as I began my career in fiction.  

Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success?

Time management, networking, attention to detail, communication, strong work ethic. 

What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?

I have always been a writer and wanted to pursue a career path that would allow me to continue writing, teach others about writing, and impact my community through writing. My role as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing allows me to do all three, and I also appreciate the flexibility of the role. 

What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?   

Take a moment to think about what exactly you'd like to experience, accomplish, etc. on this career path, then set specific goals with those things in mind. As a fiction writer, one of the most important things for me was networking and finding my community, which meant writing accountability groups, mentors, writing partners, etc. It is a tough industry, but having those people in your corner makes it easier! Other than that, my best advice is just to keep writing. 

See other Spotlights