Valerie Sayers

Professor Emerita, English

Professor Emerita, English
233 Decio Faculty Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556


Valerie Sayers arrived at Notre Dame in 1993, was named the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English in 2017, and retired as Professor Emerita in June 2021. She is the author of a collection of stories, The Age of Infidelity (2020), and six novels, including The Powers (2013), which explores baseball, pacifism, and 1941 New York in parallel narratives of prose and photography. Her novels Who Do You Love and Brain Fever were named New York Times “Notable Books of the Year,” and a film, "Due East," was based on her novels Due East and How I Got Him Back. All six novels have been reprinted in uniform paperback editions from Northwestern University Press. Sayers’s stories, essays, and reviews have appeared widely, in such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Commonweal, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, Agni, Southern Review, Image, Georgia Review, and Prairie Schooner, and have been cited in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. A member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors, her literary honors also include a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes for fiction.

In the English Department, Sayers served as the Director of Creative Writing (1993-96 and 2001-03) and Department Chair (2011-14). She also served as Acting Director of Africana Studies, where she was affiliated faculty, in 2018. She was honored with the Kaneb, Sheedy, and Joyce Awards for Excellence in Teaching.