Nancy directed the Kenyon Review Novel Workshop from its inception in 2012 to 2016. She is still the associate director of Kenyon Review Writers' Workshop held each June.


In 2016 she stepped down from her tenure as series editor of The Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction after nine years. She's very proud of the first-time authors she selected for this prestigious award.* Before that she was the fiction editor of The Kenyon Review for nine years. She has taught at several universities, including Masaryk University in the Czech Republic as a Fulbright Fellow.  She has won two National Endowment for the Arts grants, the maximum allowed, and also served as an NEA judge.


She has published two novels, The Metal Shredders, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and Lucky Strike, a Book Sense Notable.  She has also published two collections of short stories, The People I Know, winner of the Flannery O'Connor award for short fiction, and Home Jar, called one of the ten best books of the year by The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

For the past few years she has been trying her hand at writing screenplays and now serves as a mentor at the Stowe Story Lab for writers wanting to learn how to adapt their novel or short story to a a screenplay.  


*Lori Ostlund, Hugh Sheehy, Linda Grover,                     E.J. Levy,  Amina Gautier, Monica McFawn,,                Karin Lin-Greenberg, Siamak Vissourghi,                       Lisa Graley,  Anne Raeff,  Tom Kealey. 

Working with Nancy Zafris at the Kenyon Review Novel Workshop was eye-opening and exactly what my manuscript needed. She deftly pinpointed the structural problems of the story arc of my work, and she is a great problem solver and teacher. The week-long workshop is unlike any other in that it is entirely focused on making your work-in-progress better. She fashioned the craft instruction of the workshop to suit the needs of the group. Time was spent working large sections of manuscript from the macro level down to the level of the paragraph and the sentence. Moreover, she assembled a fantastic group of her colleagues who contributed to the teaching. Their camaraderie and skill sets worked synergistically to provide the entire class with significant individual attention. The experience was game-changing.  --Alison Strack

NANAfter publishing two books, I wondered if I would be able to do so again. Nine years after the second , I won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, which jump-started my career. I found Nancy Zafris to be a brilliant editor of my work, and felt very lucky to have her in my corner as I returned to the publishing world.

                  -- Jessica Treadway, Please Come Back To Me