Cris Mazza

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Cris Mazza (born 1956) is an American novelist, short story and non-fiction writer.


A native of Southern California, she earned her BA and MA at San Diego State University and her MFA in writing at Brooklyn College. She has published nine novels, four collections of short stories, and a collection of essays. She is widely anthologized as an example of post-feminist, formalist, or contemporary experimental fiction. Her work often deals with second and third-wave feminist concerns as well as frank sexuality.

Along with Jeffrey DeShell, she coined the term "chick lit" for the edited anthology Chick Lit Postfeminist Fiction (1995) and the follow-up anthology Chick Lit 2: No Chick Vics (1996).[1] While originally meant to be ironic, the term was co-opted to define a very different sort of work.

Mazza directs the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.[2]

She won the PEN / Nelson Algren Award for her novel "How to Leave a Country."[3]

In addition, Cris Mazza received an &NOW award in 2009 for her story “Trickle-Down Timeline,” published in The &NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Writing in 2009. Mazza has also participated in the biennial &NOW festival.


  • Animal Acts (FC2, 1988)
  • Is It Sexual Harassment Yet? (FC2, 1991)
  • How to Leave a Country: a novel (1992)
  • Revelation Countdown (FC2, 1993)
  • Dog People: a novel (1997)
  • Former Virgin (FC2, 1997)
  • Girl Beside Him (FC2, 2001)
  • Indigenous: Growing up Californian (City Lights, 2003)
  • Homeland (Red Hen Press, 2004)
  • Disability (FC2, 2005)
  • Many Ways to Get It, Many Ways to Say It (Chiasmus Press, 2005)
  • Waterbaby (Soft Skull Press, 2007)
  • Various Men who Knew us as Girls (Emergency Press, 2011)


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