Mary Ann Rishel

Mary Ann Rishel

Professor Emerita, Writing

Professor Emerita in Humanities at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, and Professor (ret) at the Weill Cornell Middle East Medical College in Qatar, she taught liberal arts and medical humanities for over twenty years at Ithaca and ten years in Qatar.  She graduated with degrees in literature from the University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University, with post-graduate work in history at Duquesne and fine arts and literature at Harvard.  From 2003-2012, as the founding coordinator for first-year seminars at the Cornell Medical Centre in Qatar, she taught medical humanities in critical analysis and moral epistemologies within intercultural arenas.  She has traveled to over fifty countries, lecturing in over thirty of them.  A fiction writer, she won the Best American Short Story Award for her story “Staus,” which was made into a film for PBS, and she also published numerous short stories and an academic book, Writing Humor:  Creativity and the Comic Mind. 


  • fiction: short story, novella, novel
  • humor
  • academic writing
  • aesthetic theory


  • B.A. English, University of Pittsburgh, 1962
  • M.A. Liberal Arts, University of Pittsburgh, 1969
  • M.F.A. Creative Writing-Fiction, Cornell University, 1979

Some Publications

  • Writing Humor: Creativity and the Comic Mind. Wayne State University Press. 2002.
  • The Devin Gate. (novel)
  • "The Crash Window." Scrivener (McGill University), VII, No. 1 Winter 1986 [formerly published as "Lunenberg, Nova Scotia"].
  • "Staus." Hudson Review, XXX, No. 2 Summer 1978. "Staus" was included in Best American Short Stories (Houghton Mifflin 1978) and also produced for the PBS series Realizations--Aging in America in 1982. In 1990, the story was included in Narodny Kalendar, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Slovak Society.
  • "Uncle Perk's Leg." Cornell Review 7 Fall 1979.
  • "Nickel Dirt." Red Cedar Review (Michigan State Univ), XI, No.1 January 1977.