Creative Writing MFA Alumni Spotlight: Stephane Dunn ('00)

Author: Paul Cunningham

Stephane Dunn

"[Dunn] argues books are essential for teenagers’ psychological development and the expansion of their worldviews. In light of current national conversations about censorship, Dunn notes how texts such as the autobiographies of Malcom X, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis, Frederick Douglass and Richard Wright express the liberation that can come from literacy. To exclude books, especially when most students need encouragement to read at all, is dangerous."

Last year, writer and filmmaker Stephane Dunn made her YA debut with Snitchers (Cinco Puntos Press, 2022). Snitchers, which tells the story of how Indiana teen Nia copes with the tragic loss of a young life, has been called a "thrilling story grounded in a thoughtful exploration of social themes" by Kirkus Reviews and an "adept look into contemporary social issues such as gun and intracommunal violence" by Publishers Weekly. Snitchers is also now available as an audiobook, narrated by the author herself.

Earlier this summer, Allie Griffith ('17, '19M.Ed.) highlighted Dunn's experiences as a student at Notre Dame as well as her many accomplishments for Notre Dame Magazine. In the article ("The Liberation of Literacy"), Dunn writes "Books are the doorway to imagination, but also to the development of literacy and being able to critically think. There's a lot on the line with censorship. It's the way we can access other lives, other people, other cultures. It really does alarm and scare me, because I don't know where I'd be if I had not read early on."

Most recently, Dunn published an essay in Newsweek ("My Student Loan Costs Me $700 a month. I Need Forgiveness"), addressing the hurdles of student loan repayment plans, interest inflation, and the Biden administration's latest effort at loan forgiveness. 


Stephane Dunn is a writer, filmmaker and professor. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Vogue, Ms. magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education,, The Root, and Best African American Essays 2009, among others. She is the author of Baad Bitches & Sassy Supermamas: Black Power Action Films, and the Tirota/Finish Line Social Impact Script Competition award-winning screenplay, Chicago '66. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Find her on Twitter at @DrStephaneDunn.