Martin Riker

Martin Riker

Senior Lecturer in English​
PhD, University of Denver
research interests:
  • International and experimental fiction
  • The philosophy of style
  • Non-canonical literary traditions
  • Literature in translation
  • Literary criticism
  • Publishing theory and practice

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1122
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor Riker teaches a wide range of courses that draw upon and often combine his varied background as a novelist, book critic, and literary publisher. He loves literature of all types and from all eras but has particular fondness for traditions outside the American mainstream, including experimental works and literature in translation.

Riker is author of the novel Samuel Johnson's Eternal Return (2018), which was favorably reviewed in the New Yorker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. As a literary critic, he has written on contemporary fiction and literature in translation for such publication as New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, London Review of Books, TLS, Paris Review Daily, and The Guardian. Prior to coming to Washington University, he served for almost a decade as Associate Director of the nonprofit publishing house Dalkey Archive Press, and as an editor for the periodicals The Review of Contemporary Fiction and CONTEXT: A Forum for Literary Arts and Culture. In 2010, he and his wife, Danielle Dutton, co-founded the feminist publishing house Dorothy, which offers internships to students at Washington University. Dorothy has garnered wide international praise for publishing innovative writers such as Marguerite Duras, Leonora Carrington, and Renee Gladman, and for launching the careers of acclaimed contemporary writers such as Nell Zink, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, and Jen George.

Courses Taught

  • Experimental Traditions
  • Critic as Writer
  • The Writer in the World
  • The Literary Life (freshman seminar)
  • Fiction 1
  • Fiction 2