Malcolm Culleton


Malcolm Culleton

College Essay Specialist

B.A. Columbia University
M.F.A. Chatham University

Introduce yourself:

With two bibliophile parents, I grew up on a steady dose of literature and poetry—some might say the sound of language is in my blood. At least, I hope it is. I grew up on the campus of a small Quaker boarding school before attending Columbia University, where I majored in Creative Writing and specialized in fiction. I recently earned my Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from Chatham University, where I specialized in Creative nonfiction.


I've traveled throughout the United States and Canada, including on two long solo bicycle voyages, and worked as an activist and political organizer in Philadelphia before deciding to focus on getting back in touch with my literary roots. I now live on the other side of the state, in Pittsburgh, where I’m an adjunct professor and creative writing teacher. Nothing excites me more than a free-form essay prompt! Like the road ahead, the possibilities are endless!


Fun Facts:

  • I was a campus DJ throughout my 4 years of college, hosting multiple radio shows across a variety of music genres. This first piqued my interest in vinyl records, which I still collect today.
  • I was obsessed with dinosaurs as a kid—for a long time, I wanted to grow up to be a paleontologist. Before that, I wanted to be a pirate.
  • Aside from reading and writing, my hobbies include running, crossword puzzles, playing guitar, hand-drawing street maps of cities (both real and imagined), and walking other people’s dogs (with their permission, of course). I also play center field (and sometimes other positions) on a team called the Crows in the gender-inclusive Doc Ellis sandlot baseball league.


Pop Quiz:

If I were a dean of admissions this is an essay prompt that I'd want students to answer: Tell me the story of a made-up adventure you'd like to have. Feel free to include any fantastical elements you'd like: ancient magic, space aliens, talking animals, etc. Be imaginative!

What do you spend too much time doing? Grading papers… and watching broadcasts of old Philadelphia Phillies games on YouTube. 

What are three skills you’ve learned in the past year that you really should’ve known already? I’ve learned how to grow vegetables such as peppers, squash, tomatoes and beets in my community garden plot, how to throw a curveball, and how to auto-forward messages from both of my university Outlook email accounts. I’m also teaching myself how to play slide guitar after a friend randomly gifted me a Dobro!

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