1958. Warlock, by Oakley Hall. The creators of Deadwood surely must have read this Western literary classic about a fictional Tombstone. Thomas Pynchon calls it one of America's best.
1976 Donald Heiney's (MacDonald Harris) The Baloonist is nominated for a National Book Award.
1984 Kem Nunn drops in with Tapping the Source, the best surf noir novel ever written.
1988 The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon makes UCI (and Chabon) famous, really famous.
1994 Poet Yusef Komunyakaa wins Pulitzer Prize for Neon Vernacular.
1995 Whitney Otto's How to Make an American Quilt becomes a film starring Winona Ryder. (The book is better.)
1996 Richard Ford wins a Pulitzer for Independence Day. Now everybody wants one.
1997 Chez Chance, a novella by short story writer Jay Gummerman (We Find Ourselves in Moontown) does a fictional take on our magical kingdom county.
1999 Connie Voisine wins AWP award for Cathedral of the North.
2000 Hector Tobar, LA Times reporter, graduates from the program, as if his journalistic success weren't impressive enough. Writes The Tatooed Soldier, soon to be a major motion picture.
2002 Alice Sebold's memoir of rape and recovery, Lucky, is published. It could be even better than the famous ghost-girl mystery novel bestseller.
2009 Sunnyside, Glen David Gold's (Carter Beats the Devil), second novel arrives, a historical romp through Charlie Chaplin's time in Hollywoodland.
2012 A second novel from Tobar, The Barbarian Nurseries. Shards by Ismet Prcic, about two young Bosnians in the war-torn 90's and their impossible choices, wins all kinds of prizes. One man escapes to America, the other fights in the Bosnian War. Izzy is one of the smartest, darkest, funniest writers to come out of the program.
And more, no doubt, on the way...
Andrew Tonkovich hosts the Wednesday night literary arts program Bibliocracy Radio, on KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California.