Professor of Comparative Literature at Chapman University, Director John Fowles Center for Creative Writing, Writer.
Mark Axelrod is a Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of English at Chapman University, Orange, California. Prior to teaching at Chapman, he taught at the University of East Anglia, UK and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a graduate of both Indiana University (BA, MA) and the University of Minnesota (PhD). For nineteen years he has been the Director of the John Fowles Center for Creative Writing for which he has received 5 National Endowment for the Arts grants. He was awarded a post-Baccalaureate Fulbright to study at Exeter College, Oxford. He is a two-time recipient of a United Kingdom Leverhulme Fellowship for Creative Writing (University of East Anglia, Edinburgh University), a three-time recipient of the Alliance Française National Writing Award, has written over 20 works of fiction including Capital Castles (Pacific Writers Press, 2000), Cloud Castles (Pacific Writers Press, 1998), Cardboard Castles (Pacific Writers Press, 1996) and Bombay California (Pacific Writers Press, 1994) and Secret Histories: Borges’ Travel, Hemingway’s Garage (fc2, 2005) which was published in Spanish by Thule Ediciones, Barcelona as Viajes Borges, Talleres Hemingway.
A partial listing of his fiction writing includes: his Pan-Euro-American trilogy titled, The Posthumous Memoirs of Blase Kubash, based on the character Braz Cubas created by the 19th century Brazilian novelist, Machado de Assis. In addition to Borges’ Travel, Hemingway’s Garage which received excellent reviews in the New York Times, the Georgia Review and Publisher’s Weekly, among others, he has written three other additional Secret Histories including: Balzac’s Coffee, DaVinci’s Ristorante; Nietzsche’s Café, Axel’s Charhouse and Bartleby’s Books, Gatsby’s Café. He has written other short fiction as well including Dante’s Foil & Other Sporting Tales (Black Scat Press, 2015) and The Apotheosis of Aaron. He has been published in numerous national and international literary journals including the Iowa Review and the New York Quarterly and was a contributor to the former New York avant-garde magazine, Splash Magazine. Among the awards he has won for his fiction include: the Tim McGinnis Award (University of Iowa); Camargo Foundation Fellowship in Fiction Writing, Cassis, France (2); the Maxwell Perkins Award for Fiction Writing, New York, NY; a Bush Foundation Fellowship for Fiction Writing, St. Paul, MN; and an Award for Experimental Writing (Indiana University). He has also won an award from Western Illinois University for his play, Ti Amo Lucia Olivetti and has completed a trilogy of new one-act plays titled: Taxing Tales, that includes: Van Gogh’s Audit, Superman in America and Bruno Arlt at the Grille Café as well as the play, A Colloquy of Birds. He has translated several works including Xavier de Maistre’s novella, Un voyage autour de ma chambre, Baudelaire’s novella, La Fanfarlo, and Balzac’s play, Mercadet, which was retitled, Waiting for Godeau (Black Scat Press, 2014). He is currently at work on a book of memoirs titled, Posthumous Papers of a Living Writer which includes reminiscences on people from Beckett to Borges, Letterman to August Wilson. His critical books include, The Politics of Style in the Fiction of Balzac, Beckett and Cortázar (Palgrave Macmillan, UK, 1990); The Poetics of Novels (Palgrave Macmillan, UK, 1999) and series of literary essays titled No Symbols Where None Intended (Palgrave, 2014) and Notions of the Feminine (Palgrave, 2014) as well as Poetics of Prose: Literary Essays from Lemontov to Calvino (Palgrave, 2016). His latest novels include, A Dinkytown Romance; or, A Day in the Life of Jürgen Jürgensen, Imaginary Cartographer A Novel in Four Cities and The Checks and Balances of Alfie Schiller, and the short story collection, Kissing Sonia Braga and Other Tales. He is currently at work on a new novel titled, The Mad Diary of Malcolm Malarkey PhD. In May, 2015 he completed a biography titled, Big Thoughts Are Free, on the former Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and founder of ICN Pharmaceuticals, Milan Panić. Published by Peter Lang, Chapman University will have a book launch for the book in October, 2015.
From 2005-2007 he was a judge on the Fulbright Commissions Panel for Creative Writing from 2005-2007. In spring, 2002, he was honored as a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Pitzer College, Claremont, CA and was a featured speaker at the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series at San Diego State University in October, 2003. In 2005, he was a guest professor of Creative Writing-Fiction at Pomona College, Claremont, CA and was invited to return in spring, 2006. In June 2005, he was invited to teach at the 65th Annual Indiana University Writers Conference in Bloomington. In November, 2008, he was invited by the Museum of Latin American Art, Buenos Aires, to participate in the 1st Annual FILBA International Literary Festival there where he read from his fiction and sat on a panel devoted to creative writing. He has been a regular political blogger for the HuffingtonPost.com since 2009 and his non-fiction and reviews have appeared in such periodicals and magazines as the Times Literary Supplement, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, the American Book Review, OC Weekly, Irish America, MSP Magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, Playboy and others.
He is a practicing screenwriter and has won awards for his writing from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; the Writers Guild of America, East; the Screenwriters Forum (University of Wisconsin); and the Sundance Institute. His adaptation and co-production of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “An Author’s Mother” won awards from the Scottish Association of Filmmakers, the London International Film & Video Festival, and the Festival Internacional de Video do Algarve, Portugal. He has taught or conducted screenwriting seminars and workshops throughout Latin America, Europe, and the United Kingdom as well as the United States including stints at: the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba [the school founded by García Márquez]; the Goethe Institute, Santiago, Chile (with Antonio Skármeta [author of Il Postino]); with both SICA, the Cinematographer’s Union of Argentina, and Proyectos Culturales in Buenos Aires; at the National Film School of Denmark, Copenhagen; the UIAH, Helsinki, Finland; the Grimme Akadamie, Cologne; the Flemish Film Academy, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium; PILOTS, Barcelona, Spain; Edinburgh University, Scotland; the University of Belgrano, Buenos Aires; the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK; Columbia College, Chicago; Independent Features North, Minneapolis; Western Washington University, Bellingham; Elmira College, Elmira, NY; Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and Paris Writers Workshop, Paris. For four years, he was a regular visiting adjunct professor of screenwriting at the Hamburg Media School, Hamburg, Germany.
In May, 2006, he was invited by the United States Embassy, Berlin to speak on screenwriting and to conduct screenwriting lectures at a number of German universities in Munich, Berlin, Leipzig and Cologne among other places. Between 2006 and 2010, he lectured at UNIACC in Santiago, Chile and PEN International asked him to be the lead judge for the 2006 Best Original Screenplay Award. In addition, he has been invited to conduct screenwriting lectures the John Huston School of Film and Digital Media, Galway, Ireland as well as at FAMU, Prague; and Black Coffee Films, Mumbai, India. In August, 2008 he was invited to teach at ARCOS Film School in Santiago, Chile at the invitation of the United States Embassy, Santiago and also gave film lectures in Buenos Aires at the invitation of the United States Embassy, Buenos Aires. In September, 2008 he was invited by UNIACC Film School, Santiago, to participate in a major Latin American screenwriting conference sponsored by IBERMEDIA. Most recent, he was invited to be a screenwriting mentor at Hatchfest 2010 in Bozeman, Montana where he also lectured at Montana State University and has been invited to read at UC Santa Cruz in May, ’14.
His film books include: Aspects of the Screenplay (Heinemann, 2001); Character & Conflict: Cornerstones of Screenwriting (Heinemann, 2004); I Read It at the Movies: Screen Adaptation (Heinemann, 2006) and Constructing Dialogue: From Citizen Kane to Midnight in Paris (Bloomsbury, November, 2013). Recent scripts of his include an adaptation of the Yasujiro Ozu film, Tokyo Story for Hoosiers director, David Anspaugh and Stayin’ Alive which he wrote for Cuckoo Clock Productions in Hamburg, Germany and which was shortlisted for Best Feature Screenplay at the 2014 Irvine International Film Festival. His screenplay, Chicago Bares, won Best Feature Screenplay at the Illinois International Film Festival, 2014 and was a finalist at the Chicago International Film Festival. His script, Of Gold & Ashes, based on the 1936 Berlin Olympics, has won awards from the Writers Guild East, the Williamsburg International Film Festival, the Oregon International Film Festival, Amsterdam International Film Festival and has been short-listed at the Milan International Film Festival. A short he wrote, titled The Villiers Chalice, was a finalist at the Firereel Film Festival in Redding, California. In December 2009, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach screenwriting at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, received a second Fulbright Fellowship to teach screenwriting at Stockholm University in December, 2014 and a third Fulbright to teach at the University of Copenhagen in 2016. He was invited to be a juror at the 18th Annual Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn, Estonia in November, 2014 and lectured at the Baltic Media and Media School in December, 2014. He was recently invited to lecture on Calvino’s, if on a winter’s night a traveler in Sanremo as part of the 30th Anniversary of his death. He is currently collaborating with the actor, Malcolm McDowell on a new feature film project titled, MALARKEY, which is set to begin filming in January, 2017.