Faculty Spotlight: Adam McOmber
October 11, 2011
By Benita Zepeda (BA '11)
Whether he’s on his way to work or jotting down notes while walking down the street, English professor and author Adam McOmber is always thinking about his next project.
“I think it’s important for any artist to always see the future as well as the present,” McOmber says. “[One] puts a lot of energy into the present but once that’s over, one can feel depressed because it’s done, but if there’s something else to move on to, it feels good.”
McOmber definitely stays busy. His collection of short stories called This New & Poisonous Air, was released in June 2011; his first novel is due in September 2012; and he has already written part of his second novel.
Additionally, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes this year for his short stories published by the magazines Arts and Letters and Third Coast; both stories also appeared in his book.
McOmber, who joined Columbia’s English Department in 2001, teaches a wide array of courses, such as Writing and Rhetoric, Creative Nonfiction Workshop, The Bible as Literature, and Ancient Mythology. He is also the managing and associate editor of Columbia’s Hotel Amerika, a literary magazine that showcases many different writing genres. McOmber says his personal interest in mythology is apparent in both of his courses, as is his gothic and fantastic style of writing—which primarily uses supernatural elements within a story.
McOmber says he has wanted to be a writer ever since he was 14 years old. After graduating from Ohio University with a BA in creative writing in 1998, he went on to complete his MFA in creative writing and fiction in 2001 at Indiana University. During graduate school, he won an Associated Writing Programs Intro award.
As a teacher, McOmber understands that not every student wants to be a writer, so he believes it’s important to make writing fun and accessible for all. His advice for students who want to make it in the writing field is to stand out and push through even when it’s tough.
“It’s really hard to be a writer and takes a ton of perseverance, and a ton of rejections. So there is rejection, rejection, rejection, but then there is an acceptance and they will start to build some momentum,” McOmber says. “[They should] stick with it and do something that is unique, nontraditional, and something where they can put themselves into it.”