Faculty Biographies

The writers who serve as faculty for the MFA program are outstanding for both their level of national or regional literary achievements and for their teaching records and abilities. These accomplished authors share a sense of joy around their work, bringing their diverse writing styles and voices to the mix. During residencies and the guided study that follows, the MFA faculty advisor is hard at work on his or her own writing, and every exchange with a student is touched by mutual goals.

Sandra Alcosser, Poetry

Sandra Alcosser has published seven books of poetry, including A Fish to Feed All Hunger and Except by Nature, which have been selected for the National Poetry Series, the Academy of American Poets James Laughlin Award, the Larry Levis Award, the Associated Writing Programs Award in Poetry, and the William Stafford PNBA Award. She is the National Endowment for the Arts' first Conservation Poet for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Poets House, New York, as well as Montana's first poet laureate and recipient of the Merriam Award for Distinguished Contribution to Montana Literature. She founded and directs the MFA program at San Diego State University, and has been a writer-in-residence at National University of Ireland, University of Michigan, University of Montana, Glacier National Park and Central Park, New York. She received two individual artist fellowships from the NEA, and her poems have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry and the Pushcart Prize Anthology.

Steve Amick, Fiction

Steve Amick has published two novels with Pantheon: Nothing But a Smile (2009) and The Lake, the River & the Other Lake (2005), which was a BookSense Pick, a Washington Post Book of the Year, and was cited in the Encyclopedia Britannica’s Britannica Book of the Year as one of three “standout” debuts of 2005.

His shorter work has appeared in places like McSweeney’s, Playboy, Story, Southern Review, Five Chapters, New England Review, Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The New York Times, on National Public Radio, and in a range of anthologies including The Sound of Writing (Anchor, 1991), New Sudden Fiction (W.W.Norton, 2007) and Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them (Wayne State University Press, 2011).

Awards include the Michigan Notable Book Award, twice, the Dan Rudy Prize, the Phoebe Fiction Award, and most recently, the Lawrence Foundation Prize for the Michigan Quarterly’s best fiction of 2011. He earned an MFA from George Mason, studying with Richard Bausch and Susan Richards Shreve. Along the way, he’s had plays produced in Chicago, including his first, which took top honors in the city’s renowned Collaboration Sketchbook festival. He has a Clio and other nearly-accidental advertising awards, a CD of original songs, and sometimes hosts the Ann Arbor Moth. Most recently, he’s been teaching in the MFA writing workshop at Northwestern. For more information, see his website.

Ellen Bass, Poetry

Ellen Bass' poetry books include The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) and Mules of Love (BOA Editions, 2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. She has a new poetry collection forthcoming in early 2014 from Copper Canyon Press.

Ellen co-edited the groundbreaking book, No More Masks!: An Anthology of Poems by Women and has published several nonfiction books, including the pioneering The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (HarperCollins 1988, 2008) and Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth.

Among her awards for poetry are a Pushcart Prize, the Elliston Book Award from the University of Cincinnati, the Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod/Hardman, the Larry Levis Prize from Missouri Review, New Letters Poetry Prize, Greensboro Poetry Prize, and The Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award. Her work has appeared in many publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares. Visit her website.

Photo by Irene Young



Marvin Bell, Poetry

Marvin Bell has been called "an insider who thinks like an outsider," and his writing has been called "ambitious without pretension."

Judith Kitchen, writing for The Georgia Review: "These new books by Marvin Bell are sending poetry into new and original territory. Bell has redefined poetry as it is being practiced today." On his two latest collections, Ms. Kitchen wrote: "I believe that Marvin Bell’s Dead Man poems should close any anthology of the 20th century, and open any anthology of this new century’s work. They change the game."

Bell was for many years Flannery O'Connor Professor of Letters at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His former students cover a wide range of aesthetics and include Denis Johnson, Juan Felipe Herrera, Marilyn Chin, Larry Levis, Rita Dove, Norman Dubie, Michael Burkard, Albert Goldbarth, Joy Harjo, Mark Jarman, David St. John, Thomas Lux, Patricia Hampl, Kimiko Hahn, Stephen Kuusisto and James Tate.

He served two terms as the state of Iowa's first Poet Laureate. He has collaborated with composers, musicians, dancers and other writers, and is the originator of a form known as the "Dead Man" poem. His 23 books include Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems and Whiteout, a collaboration with photographer Nathan Lyons — both released in 2011. His literary honors include awards from the Academy of American Poets, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Poetry Review, Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and Senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia.

See a brief video interview with Marvin Bell in the "On the Fly" series.

Judy Blunt, Nonfiction

Judy Blunt knocked out the literary world with her collection of nonfiction essays, Breaking Clean (Knopf, 2002). She was winner of the Whiting Writers' Award in 2001. Her book won the Pen/Jerard Award, Mountains and Plains Nonfiction Award, Willa Cather Literary Award, and was listed as one of The New York Times Notable Books.

More recently she was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2006. Judy's short pieces have appeared in Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Big Sky Journal, and others. She is an associate professor in English at the University of Montana.

Bonnie Jo Campbell, Fiction

Bonnie Jo Campbell is the author of the acclaimed novel Once Upon a River (W.W. Norton, 2011). She was a 2009 National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for her collection of stories, American Salvage, which won the Foreword Book of the Year award for short fiction.

Campbell is also author of the novel Q Road and the story collection Women & Other Animals. She’s received the AWP Award for Short Fiction, a Pushcart Prize, and the Eudora Welty Prize. Her poetry collection, Love Letters to Sons of Bitches, won the 2009 CBA Letterpress Chapbook award.

“American fiction waited a long time for Bonnie Jo Campbell to come along,” writes Jaimy Gordon, winner of the 2010 National Book Award. “A lot of us, not only women, were looking for a fictional heroine who would be deeply good, brave as a wolverine, never a cry baby, as able as Sacagawea, and with a strong and unapologetic sexuality.”

Campbell holds a second degree black belt in Koburyu kobudo, an Okinawan weapons art, and in her spare time tries to train her donkeys, Jack and Don Quixote. Visit her website and her writer’s life blog, The Bone-Eye.

Carolyn Coman, Fiction/Young Adult

Carolyn Coman writes both fiction and nonfiction for children, young adults and adults. Her most recent book for children, The Memory Bank, is a graphic story book created in collaboration with artist Rob Shepperson. Other critically acclaimed books for children and young adults include What Jamie Saw (National Book Award finalist and Newbery Honor book), Many Stones (National Book Award finalist and Printz Honor book), Bee & Jacky, The Big House and Sneaking Suspicions.

She is also the author of Writing Stories, a professional book for classroom teachers, and Body & Soul: Ten American Women, a collection of interviews with photographs by Judy Dater. She has taught at Vermont College and Hamline University in their MFA in Writing programs for Children and young adults, and has taught fiction writing at Harvard Extension and Harvard Summer School and the Goffstown Prison for Women.

Eduardo Corral, Poetry

Eduardo C. Corral's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, New England Review, and Ploughshares. His work has been honored with a "Discovery"/The Nation Award, the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize from Poetry, and writing residencies to the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. He has served as the Olive B. O'Connor Fellow in Creative Writing at Colgate University and as the Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University. Slow Lightning, his first book of poems, was selected by Carl Phillips as the 2011 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. He's the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Claire Davis, Fiction

Claire Davis’ first novel Winter Range was listed among the best books of 2000 by the Washington Post, Chicago Sun Times, Denver Post, Seattle Post, The Oregonian and The Christian Science Monitor, and was the first book to receive both the PNBA and MPBA awards for best fiction. Her second novel, Season of the Snake, and her short story collection, Labors of the Heart, were both released to wide critical acclaim. She is co-editor of the anthology Kiss Tomorrow Hello: Notes from the Midlife Underground by Twenty-five Women over Forty. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary magazines such as The Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, Southern Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Best American Short Stories. She lives in Lewiston, Idaho, where she teaches creative writing at Lewis-Clark State College. 

Kwame Dawes, Poetry

Born in Ghana in 1962, Kwame Dawes spent most of his childhood in Jamaica. As a poet, he is profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of that lush place, citing in a recent interview his "spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music." His book Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius remains the most authoritative study of the lyrics of Bob Marley.

Kwame Dawes is the author of 12 collections of poetry. Collections include Impossible Flying (Peepal Tree, 2007) and Wisteria (Red Hen, 2006) which has also been set to music by Kevin Simmonds and premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in London England. In January 2007, Akashic Books published his novel She’s Gone. His novel Bivouac and his collection of poems, Back of Mt. Peace, were published by Peepal Tree in December 2009, Wheels in the fall of 2011 and Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems, by Copper Canyon Press in 2013.

His awards include The Forward Poetry Prize, the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, the Poetry Business Award, and an Emmy. His nonfiction writing includes the book A Far Cry from Plymouth Rock: A Personal Narrative (Peepal Tree, January 2007). Kwame Dawes, former director of the MFA program at the University of South Carolina, was founder and director of the USC Poetry Initiative between 2000-2011. Between 2005 and 2011 he was the executive director of the University of South Carolina Arts Institute. Since 2008, he has been the associate poetry editor at Peepal Tree Press. Kwame Dawes is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dawes is the director of the Calabash International Literary Festival’s Writer’s Workshop and a faculty member of Cave Canem.

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffith

Jack Driscoll, Fiction

Jack Driscoll is the author of four books of poems, two collections of short stories, and four novels. In addition, he is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, the NEH Independent Study Grant, two Pushcart Prizes and Best American Short Story citations, the PEN/Nelson Algren Fiction Award, the Associated Writing Programs Short Fiction Award, and seven PEN Syndicated Project Short Fiction Awards.

His stories have been read frequently over NPR’s The Sound of Writing, and his work has appeared nationally in magazines, literary journals and newspapers, such as Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star, Civilization, Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review and Ploughshares.

His novel Lucky Man, Lucky Woman received the 1998 Pushcart Editors’ Book Award, the Barnes and Noble Discovery of Great New Writers Award, and the 1999 Independent Book Publishers Award for Fiction. Stardog, his third novel, appeared in 2000, and How Like an Angel, a University of Michigan Press Sweetwater release, appeared in May 2005. His newest short story collection, The World of a Few Minutes Ago, was published by Wayne State University Press in 2012.

Katherine Dunn, Fiction

Katherine Dunn’s third novel, Geek Love, was a finalist for the National Book Award and for the Bram Stoker Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines ranging from The Mississippi Mud to the Paris Review. Dunn has been a freelance boxing journalist for more than three decades, writing about the sport for Mother Jones, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Vogue and Playboy, among many other publications. A collection of her boxing essays, One Ring Circus, was released in 2009. Her collaboration with photographer Jim Lommasson on the book Shadow Boxers won the Lange-Taylor Documentary Prize.

Dunn’s criticism and essays on cultural topics have been widely published. Death Scenes won the Firecracker Alternative Book Award. Dunn lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Photo by Robbie McClaran

Vievee Francis, Poetry

Vievee Francis is the author of Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), which won the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize for a second collection, and Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University, 2006). Her third book, Forest Primeval, is slated for release in 2015 (Northwestern University Press). Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, textbooks, and anthologies including Poetry, Best American Poetry, Cura, Waxwing and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (W.W. Norton 2012). She has also been a Poet in Residence for the Alice Lloyd Scholars Program at the University of Michigan. In 2009 she received a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award and in 2010, a Kresge Fellowship. She is currently an Associate Editor for Callaloo, and a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing (Undergraduate Creative Writing Program) at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.

Pete Fromm, Fiction 

Pete Fromm's latest novel, As Cool As I Am, was made into a film starring Claire Danes, James Marsden and Sarah Bolger, and was released in 2013. He is a four-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Literary Award for As Cool As I Am, his novel How All This Started, a story collection, Dry Rain, and his memoir Indian Creek Chronicles. Hailed as one of "America's best-kept literary secrets," he has published four other story collections, as well as more than 200 stories in magazines. He lives with his family in Montana.

Frank X. Gaspar, Fiction

Frank X. Gaspar was born and raised in Provincetown, Mass., of Azorean descent (Pico, Sao Miguel). His ancestors were traditionally whalers and Grand Banks fisherman, sailing out of the Islands and then Provincetown.

He holds an MFA from the Graduate Writing Program at UC Irvine and is the author of five collections of poetry and two novels. Among his many awards are multiple inclusions in Best American Poetry, four Pushcart Prizes, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature, and a California Arts Council Fellowship in poetry.

His debut novel, Leaving Pico, was a Barnes and Noble Discovery Prize winner, a recipient of the California Book Award for First Fiction and a New York Times Notable Book. The Fundacao Luso-Americana and Edel Editora have acquired the European rights to this novel, and the Portugese language edition launched late summer, 2013.

His second novel, Stealing Fatima, was a MassBook of the Year in Fiction (Massachusetts Foundation for the Book). Selected poems have appeared in the anthologies The Gavea-Brown Book of Portugese-American Poetry (Brown University Press) and Luso-American Literature (Rutgers University Press). He most recently held the Helio and Amelia Pedrosa/Luso-American Foundation Endowed Chair in Portuguese Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He is currently at work on a new novel.

Debra Gwartney, Nonfiction

Debra Gwartney is the author of Live Through This, a memoir published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2009, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Books for a Better Life Award. Her book was also named one of the best books of 2009 by The Oregonian and Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Association.

Debra has published in many magazines and newspapers, as well as literary journals including Poets & Writers, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Prairie Schooner, Washington Square Review, Kenyon Review, Salon, Triquarterly Review, and others. She was co-editor, along with Barry Lopez, of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, published in 2006 by Trinity University Press.

Laura Hendrie, Fiction

Laura Hendrie’s first book, Stygo, won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award in 1995, the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Fiction Award, and a finalist citation for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her novel, Remember Me, was a Book Sense selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers selection, a finalist for the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and is under option for a movie.

Her fiction has been aired on National Public Radio and published in many anthologies including Missouri Review, Colorado Review, Best of the West, Writers Forum, and Going Green; her nonfiction has appeared in magazines such as Outside, Boston Review, LIFE, and Chicago Tribune. She teaches at Lighthouse Writers in Denver, Colorado, and has taught at Warren Wilson in Asheville, N.C. She currently lives in Salida, Colorado.

Pam Houston, Fiction/Nonfiction

Pam Houston is the author of two collections of linked short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat. Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century. A collection of essays, A Little More About Me, was published by W.W. Norton in the fall of 1999.

In 2001, she completed a stage play called Tracking the Pleiades. Her first novel, Sighthound, was published by W.W. Norton in January 2005, and her second novel, Contents May Have Shifted, was published by W.W. Norton in 2012. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction, and The Evil Companions Literary Award.

She is the director of creative writing at U.C. Davis, and she divides her time between Davis, California, and her ranch at 9,000 feet in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

Scott Korb, Nonfiction

Scott Korb graduated from the University of Wisconsin late in 1997 and relocated to New York not long after. While there he earned a degree in theology from Union Seminary and another in literature from Columbia University. With M. Ryan Purdy, for a number of years he edited a small literary magazine called The American Journal of Print.

His books include The Faith Between Us (2007), a collection of personal essays presented as a conversation with Jewish writer Peter Bebergal; Life in Year One (2010), a popular history of first-century Palestine; and Light Without Fire (2013), an intimate portrait of the first year at America’s first Muslim liberal arts college.

He is associate editor of The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers (2008), which was awarded the American Historical Association’s 2009 J. Franklin Jameson Prize. With Robert Bolger, he is editing a collection of essays about David Foster Wallace and philosophy, Gesturing Toward Reality (Continuum). Scott teaches writing at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts. He lives with his family in New York City.

Photo by Hong-An Tran

Steve Kuusisto, Nonfiction

Steve Kuusisto is director of the Renee Crown Honors Program at Syracuse University, where he is also a University Professor in Disability Studies. He has taught creative writing at The Ohio State University and The University of Iowa. His memoir, Planet of the Blind, was named a New York Times Notable Book and he is the author of Eavesdropping: A Memoir and Do Not Interrupt, a book-length essay on the art of conversation. He is also a poet with Copper Canyon Press.

Valerie Laken, Fiction

Valerie Laken's short story collection, Separate Kingdoms (Harper Perennial, 2011), was longlisted for the Story Prize and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Her novel, Dream House (Harper 2009), received the Anne Powers prize for fiction and was listed among Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2009. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including Ploughshares, the Chicago Tribune, and Alaska Quarterly Review, and has received a Pushcart Prize and a Missouri Review Editors' Prize. She holds an MA in Slavic literature and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, and she teaches in the graduate program for creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Elinor Langer, Nonfiction

Elinor Langer is writing a book titled In Search of Lili’uokalani, a biography of the last Queen of the independent Kingdom of Hawai‘i, to be published by Holt/Metropolitan in 2015. Her essay on the American overthrow of the monarchy and the contemporary sovereignty movement, “‘Famous are the Flowers’: Hawaiian Resistance Then and Now,” was published as a special issue of The Nation in 2008.

Her most recent book, A Hundred Little Hitlers, an account of the skinhead killing of an Ethiopian man named Mulugeta Seraw in Portland, Ore., in 1988, was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Award for a Work-in-Progress, the PEN West award for research-based nonfiction, and the Book of the Month Club’s Best Nonfiction Book award in 2003.

Her first book, a biography of the radical novelist and journalist Josephine Herbst, was nominated for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in 1984. A long-time member of The Nation editorial board, she has written for such publications as Science, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, Grand Street, Mother Jones and many others. She has received Guggenheim, NEA, Bunting, Open Society Institute and other fellowships, and has taught at several places including Goddard, Reed, and Portland State.

Dorianne Laux, Poetry

Dorianne Laux's newest poetry collection, The Book of Men, was published by W.W. Norton in 2011. Her book Dark Charms was published by Red Dragonfly Press in 2010 and Superman: The Chapbook, also by Red Dragonfly Press, was published in January 2008. Her previous and fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon, published by W.W. Norton in 2005, was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award and winner of the Oregon Book Award.

She is also author of three collections of poetry from BOA Editions: Awake (1990), introduced by Philip Levine; What We Carry (1994), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Smoke (2000). She is co-author, with Kim Addonizio, of The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton, 1997). Her work has appeared in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and has been twice included in Best American Poetry. She has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

She now lives, with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, in Raleigh, N.C., where she serves among the faculty at North Carolina State University.

Craig Lesley, Fiction/Nonfiction

Craig Lesley is the author of four novels, numerous short stories and, most recently, a memoir. His work has received The Western Writers of America Best Novel of the Year, three Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Association Awards, an Oregon Book Award, and the Medicine Pipe Bearer's Award. He has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Bread Loaf Fellowship in the Novel, as well as two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships to study Native American literature. Both Storm Riders and The Sky Fisherman were submitted for the Pulitzer Prize.

Craig’s memoir, Burning Fence, received outstanding praise, including these words from Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong: "Craig Lesley has been justly celebrated for his novels. Now this vivid, unflinching story of his own life, as a son and as a father, can only serve to increase his already considerable stature as a writer and, not incidentally, as a human being."

David Long, Fiction

David Long was born in Boston and spent his adult life in northwest Montana, before relocating to Tacoma, Wash., in 1999. His short stories appear in The New Yorker, GQ, Story, and many anthologies, including the O. Henrys. His third collection of stories, Blue Spruce (1997), was given the Lowenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In the 1970s, he was a student of Richard Hugo and William Kittredge at the University of Montana.

His novels include The Falling Boy (1997), The Daughters of Simon Lamoreaux (2000), and The Inhabited World (2006). He is currently finishing a book on sentence craft called Dangerous Sentences. His loves: coffee, reading, the Seattle International Film Festival, blues harmonica, English football, and his family.

Mike Magnuson, Nonfiction/Fiction

Mike Magnuson is the author of two novels, The Right Man for the Job and The Fire Gospels, and three books of nonfiction, Lummox: The Evolution of a Man, Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, and Bike Tribes. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Esquire, Gentleman’s Quarterly, Men’s Health, Backpacker, and other publications, and he is a longtime contributing writer with Bicycling magazine.

His piece, “Whatever Happened to Greg LeMond,” originally published in Bicycling, has been reprinted in Best American Sports Writing 2010. He lives in Oshkosh, Wisc., where he is finishing a long novel about working people in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley region. He is also working on a documentary film about the intense political divisions in Wisconsin. In his spare time, Mike is an avid cyclocross racer and an indoor cycling instructor at the downtown Oshkosh YMCA.


John McNally, Fiction

John McNally is author of three novels, The Book of Ralph, America’s Report Card and After the Workshop, two story collections, Troublemakers and Ghosts of Chicago, and two nonfiction books, Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction and The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide: Advice from an Unrepentant Novelist. He has edited seven anthologies.

His work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including The Washington Post, the Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, and several anthologies, including Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (William Morrow), New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond (Norton), and Don't You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes (Simon & Schuster).

He has been the recipient of fellowships from Paramount Pictures (Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project), the University of Iowa (James Michener Award), George Washington University (Jenny McKean Moore Fellowship), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Djerassi Fellowship). As a screenwriter, he has a script in development at Anonymous Content with the producer of Winter’s Bone.

He holds degrees from Southern Illinois University (BA), the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (MFA), and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (PhD). A native of Chicago’s southwest side, John lives in Louisiana, where he is Writer-in-Residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


Joseph Millar, Poetry

Joseph Millar’s first collection, Overtime (2001), was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. A second collection, Fortune, appeared in 2007, and a third, Blue Rust, in 2011. Millar grew up in Pennsylvania, attended Johns Hopkins University, and spent 25 years in the San Francisco Bay area working at a variety of jobs, from telephone repairman to commercial fisherman. It would be two decades before he returned to poetry. His poems — stark, clean, unsparing — record the narrative of a life fully lived among fathers, sons, brothers, daughters, weddings and divorces, men and women.

His work has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2008 Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in such magazines as DoubleTake, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, APR, and Ploughshares.

In 1997, he gave up his job as telephone installation foreman to try his hand at teaching. After five years at Oregon State University, Millar now teaches primarily in Pacific University’s MFA in Writing program and lives in Raleigh, N.C., with wife, poet Dorianne Laux.

Benjamin Percy, Fiction

Benjamin Percy is the author of three novels, The Dead Lands (forthcoming from Grand Central/Hachette in 2015), Red Moon, and The Wilding, as well as two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in Esquire (where he is a contributing editor), GQ, Time, Men's Journal, Outside, The Wall Street Journal, Tin House, McSweeney's, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares and The Paris Review. His honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Whiting Writer's Award, the Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics. He is adapting his novel Red Moon into a series for FOX with Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind). And in 2015, Graywolf Press will publish a collection of his craft essays (many of them given as lectures at the Pacific residencies) called Thrill Me. To learn more about him, visit his website.

Porter Shreve, Fiction

Porter Shreve is the author of four novels. The Obituary Writer (2000) was a New York Times Notable Book. Drives Like a Dream (2005) and When the White House Was Ours (2008) were Chicago Tribune Books of the Year. And his latest, The End of the Book (2014), was a San Francisco Chronicle Editor’s Choice. The Washington Post called The End of the Book “excellent... entertaining, insightful fiction.” He has co-edited six anthologies and is co-author of The Art of Creative Writing, a three-genre craft book forthcoming from Pearson/Penguin. He has published fiction, nonfiction, Op-Eds and book reviews in many magazines and newspapers, he writes a monthly column on e-books for the San Francisco Chronicle, and he has been interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition and the Diane Rehm Show, among other programs. He has an MFA from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Charles Baxter and Lorrie Moore, and he has taught in the MFA Programs at the University of Oregon, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Purdue, and the University of San Francisco. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Christine Sneed, Fiction

Christine Sneed's first book, Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry, won AWP's 2009 Grace Paley Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, first-fiction category. Portraits was awarded Ploughshares' John C. Zacharis prize for a first book, the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award (for traditionally published fiction), and was long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

Her second book, a novel titled Little Known Facts, was published by Bloomsbury USA in early 2013.

Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Best American Short Stories, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories of the Midwest, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Crazyhorse, and a number of other journals. She has also been awarded a poetry fellowship by the Illinois Arts Council. She lives in Evanston, Ill., and also teaches for Northwestern University's graduate writing program.

David St. John, Poetry

David St. John has been honored over the course of his career with many of the most significant prizes for poets, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, both the Rome Fellowship and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the O. B. Hardison Prize from The Folger Shakespeare Library, and a grant from the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

His work has been published in countless literary magazines, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Harper’s, Antaeus, and The New Republic, and has been widely anthologized. He has taught creative writing at Oberlin College and Johns Hopkins University and currently teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He lives in Venice Beach.

David St. John is the author of six limited edition books and of 10 collections of poetry, including No Heaven (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1985); Study for the World’s Body (HarperCollins, 1994), which was nominated for The National Book Award in Poetry; The Red Leaves of the Night (HarperCollins, 1999); Prism (Arctos Press, 2002); The Face: A Novella in Verse (HarperCollins, 2004); and The Auroras (HarperCollins, 2012).

Mary Helen Stefaniak, Fiction/Nonfiction

Mary Helen Stefaniak’s second novel, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia (W. W. Norton, 2010) received a 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. Anisfield-Wolf Awards recognize books that make important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.

The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia was also selected by independent booksellers as an Indie-Next “Great Read.” Her first novel, The Turk and My Mother (W. W. Norton), received the 2005 John Gardner Fiction Award and has been translated into several languages. It was named a Favorite Book of 2004 by The Chicago Tribune.

Her first book, Self Storage and Other Stories (New Rivers Press), received the Wisconsin Library Association’s 1998 Banta Award, and a novella was shortlisted for the O. Henry Prize. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many publications, including Antioch Review, AGNI, Epoch, The Iowa Review, New Stories from the South (Algonquin), and A Different Plain (University of Nebraska). An occasional Iowa Public Radio commentator, Mary Helen divides her time between Iowa City, where she and her husband John live in a 150-year-old stagecoach inn they restored, and Omaha, where she teaches at Creighton University. She currently serves as contributing editor for the international journal Cerise Press.

Kellie Wells, Fiction

Kellie Wells is the author of a collection of short fiction, Compression Scars, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Prize, and the novel Skin, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in the Flyover Fiction Series, and edited by Ron Hansen. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Award for Fiction. Her story, “Rabbit Catcher of Kingdom Come,” was selected by Kevin Brockmeier for inclusion in the most recent Best American Fantasy anthology. Her latest novel, Fat Girl, Terrestrial, was published by FC2 in 2012. She teaches in the graduate writing program at the University of Alabama.