The MFA program is directed under the guidance of acclaimed poet Brian Turner. If you are interested in adding your voice to the discussion, and if you are intrigued by the possibility of working with teachers and peers who are passionate about the art they love, then please contact us—we look forward to meeting you.
- M.A. Stanford University
- Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
Amina Gautier is the author of the short story collection At-Risk (University of Georgia Press), which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. More than seventy-five of her short stories have been published or are forthcoming in journals such as Callaloo, Crazyhorse, Glimmer Train, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, North American Review, and Southern Review among others. Her stories have also been reprinted in several anthologies, including Best African American Fiction, Discoveries: New Writing from The Iowa Review, The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers, New Stories from the South, Notre Dame Review: The First Ten Years, The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Contemporary Women Writers on Forerunners in Fiction, and Voices. Gautier’s individual stories have won the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, the Danahy Prize, the Jack Dyer Prize, the Lamar York Prize in Fiction, the Schlafly Microfiction Award, and the William Richey Award. Her work has received scholarships and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, Callaloo Writer’s Conference, Kimbilio, Prairie Center of the Arts, Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and Ucross Foundation, as well as artist grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Both a writer and a scholar, her critical essays and reviews appear in African American Review, Daedalus, Journal of American History, Libraries and Culture, and Nineteenth Century Contexts and have been supported with fellowships from the Northeast Modern Language Association, Social Science Research Council, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Gautier has taught at Saint Joseph’s University, Washington University in St. Louis, and DePaul University. Gautier is a native of Brooklyn, New York.
- M.A., English, University of Central Florida
- M.F.A., Creative Writing, University of Central Florida
Kelle Groom’s memoir, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl (Free Press/Simon & Schuster 2011; paperback 2012), is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice selection, a Library Journal Best Memoir of 2011, Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Month, Oprah.com O Magazine selection, and Oxford American Editor’s Pick. Her poetry collections are Five Kingdoms (Anhinga Press 2010), Luckily (Anhinga 2006), and Underwater City (University Press of Florida 2004). Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Best American Poetry 2010, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and Poetry, and has been recognized in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Non-Required Reading anthologies. She is the recipient of fellowships from Black Mountain Institute, University of Nevada-Las Vegas in partnership with the Library of Congress, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Millay Colony for the Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, American Antiquarian Society, and Ucross Foundation, as well as both a 2010 and a 2006 Florida Book Award, a State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs grant, and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant. Groom is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence (2012-2013) at Sierra Nevada College. Former poetry editor of The Florida Review, she is now a contributing editor.
- M.Phil. in Drama and English, University of London
- M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Bennington College
Nathalie Handal has lived in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Arab world. She is the author of numerous books, most recently Poet in Andalucía, which Alice Walker lauds as “poems of depth and weight and the sorrowing song of longing and resolve”; Love and Strange Horses, winner of the 2011 Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing)”; and the landmark W.W. Norton anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond, called a “beautiful achievement for world literature” by Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer. Her most recent plays have been produced at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bush Theatre and Westminster Abbey, London. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner and Ploughshares. She writes the literary travel column “The City and the Writer” for Words without Borders. Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature 2011, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She teaches and lectures nationally and internationally, most recently in Africa, as Picador Guest Professor, Leipzig University, Germany, and at Columbia University.
- M.A., Composition and Rhetoric, California State University, Stanislaus
Lee Herrick is the author of Gardening Secrets of the Dead (WordTech Editions, 2013) and This Many Miles from Desire (WordTech, 2007). His poems have appeared in numerous journals such as ZYZZYVA, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Many Mountains Moving, The Bloomsbury Review, and From the Fishouse online, and in anthologies such as Seeds from a Silent Tree: Writings by Korean Adoptees, Hurricane Blues: Poems About Katrina and Rita, Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley, 2nd Edition, and The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems from the San Francisco Bay Watershed. He is the founding editor of In the Grove, and his essays have been published in Korean Quarterly and college textbooks. He was the guest editor of New Truths: Writing in the 21st Century by Korean Adoptees for Asian American Poetry and Writing (2010). He has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and Asia, and he teaches at Fresno City College in Fresno, California. He has been nominated for the Hayward Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2011 received the Bill F. Stewart Award for Excellence.
- MA English, DePaul University
- MA Irish Writing, Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland
- PhD Irish Writing, University of Sussex, England
Patrick Hicks has won the Glimmer Train Fiction Award, been a notable mention in Best American Stories, and he is the recipient of a number of grants, including ones from the Bush Artist Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize, been a finalist for the High Plains Book Award, the Dzanc Short Story Collection Competition, and the Gival Press Novel Award. His work with PBS’s Over South Dakota was nominated for an Emmy in 2012. He is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Finding the Gossamer and This London, both from Salmon Poetry (Ireland). His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, Tar River Poetry, New Ohio Review, Natural Bridge, Utne Reader, Salon, and many others. A former Visiting Fellow at Oxford and a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States, he is now the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana College. For many years Patrick lived in Northern Ireland, England, Germany, and Spain, but he has returned to his Midwestern roots. When not writing, he enjoys watching thunderstorms roll across the prairie with his British wife and he is a sucker for playing in the backyard with his four-year-old son, who was adopted from South Korea. His next collection of poetry, Adoptable, is forthcoming with Salmon. His first novel, The Commandant of Lubizec, which is about the Holocaust, will be published by Steerforth Press in 2014.
Randa Jarrar is the author of the critically acclaimed novel A Map of Home, which was published in half a dozen languages & won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American Book Award, and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes and Noble Review. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Five Chapters, Guernica, The Oxford American, The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, Salon.com, The Rumpus, and The Progressive. She has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Hedgebrook, Caravansarai, and Eastern Frontier, and was chosen to take part in Beirut39, which celebrates the 39 most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40.
- B.A., English Literature, University of Florida
- M.A., Literature, Theory, and Cultural Studies, Purdue University
- Ph.D., Philosophy, Purdue University
Robert Drury King is an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Sierra Nevada College (NV, USA) and a research fellow with the Centre Leo Apostel at the Free University of Brussels. Robert earned his B.A. in English Literature at the University of Florida and his M.A. in Literature, Theory, and Cultural Studies at Purdue University. He went on to complete his Ph.D. at Purdue University within their dual Ph.D. degree program in Literature and Philosophy. His doctoral dissertation, “System Individuation in Differential and Dialectical Ontology: Deleuze, Hegel, and Systematic Thought,” received the 2011 College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Dissertation Award. Robert has published chapters and essays in a variety of books and journals and is currently preparing a co-edited volume of essays entitled, Main Traditions of Systems Theory: Figures and Developments, which is forthcoming with Routledge. Robert has studied in the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University; at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Città di Castello, Italy; within the Unseld Lecture Series at the University of Tübingen, Germany; as a visiting fellow of the World Congress Summer School in Glasgow, Scotland, with the Association for Social Economics; as a visiting scholar under the National Endowment for the Humanities’ 2012 Summer Institute in Experimental Philosophy at the University of Arizona; and in the National Humanities Center’s Summer Institutes in Literary Studies at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in the seminar, “Form and Politics in the Work of J.M. Coetzee.”
- M.F.A., University of Iowa, Iowa Writer’s Workshop
Paul Lisicky is the author of Lawnboy, Famous Builder, The Burning House, and Unbuilt Projects. His work has appeared in Fence, Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, Post Road, The Rumpus, Tin House, Unstuck, and other magazines and anthologies. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his awards include fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, the Henfield Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he was twice a Fellow. He has taught in the creative writing programs at Cornell University, New York University, Rutgers-Newark, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He currently serves on the Writing Committee of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is the associate editor of Story Quarterly and a poetry editor of Mead. He is the the New Voices Professor in the MFA Program at Rutgers-Camden. A new memoir, The Narrow Door, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2014.
- M.A., Middlebury College
Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer whose first novel, The Borrower (Viking/Penguin, 2011), was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, an O Magazine selection and one of Chicago Magazine‘s choices for best fiction of 2011. Her short fiction was chosen for The Best American Short Stories in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and has been featured in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, New Stories from the Midwest, Best New Fantasy, and several college literature textbooks. Her new stories appear regularly in publications such as Harper’s, Tin House, Ploughshares, New England Review and Ecotone, and on public radio’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. She has received fellowships from the Yaddo and Ragdale colonies and both the Sewanee and Wesleyan Writers Conferences, and awards including Michigan Quarterly Review’s Lawrence Foundation Prize and Shenandoah’s Goodheart Prize. Her second novel will be released by Viking/Penguin in the summer of 2014, followed by a short story collection. In addition to the MFA in Creative Writing program at Sierra Nevada College, Rebecca teaches at Lake Forest College and StoryStudio Chicago. She lives on the campus of the boarding school where her husband teaches, and has two young daughters.
Born in 1965 Mike McCormack is the author of two collections of short stories Getting it in the Head and Forensic Songs, and two novels Crowe’s Requiem and Notes from a Coma.
In 1996 he was awarded the Rooney Prize for Literature and Getting it in the Head was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. A short film, which he scripted from one of the stories in that collection, was long listed for an Academy Award in 2003. In 2006 Notes from a Coma was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award; it was recently published by SOHO Press in New York. He was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship in 2007 and he has been the recipient of several bursaries from the Irish Arts Council.
He has taught in numerous schools and universities. He currently teaches on the MA in Writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway and on the MFA in Creative Writing at the American College in Dublin. He was visiting professor at Willamette University, Illinois in 2001 and recently he has taught in the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin.
He currently lives with his wife in Galway.
- M.F.A., Fiction, Iowa Writers Workshop
- Wallace Stegner Fellow, Creative Writing, Stanford University
Joanne Meschery is the author of three novels and a book of nonfiction. Her novel, In A High Place, received a Commonwealth Club of California Award for Fiction and the novel, A Gentleman’s Guide to the Frontier, was shortlisted for the Pen-Faulkner Award in Fiction and named a Notable Book of the year by The Nation magazine. Her novel, Home and Away, was cited as a Notable Book by the Book Critics Circle and the San Francisco Chronicle. She’s been named to the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame and awarded two National Endowment for the Arts grants. She’s served as Visiting Distinguished Writer at various colleges and universities and most recently taught in the MFA program at San Diego State University. She also directed the International Summer Writing Program at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She serves on the Fiction Staff of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers summer workshops and is Vice President of the SVCW Board of Directors. She is a member of the Authors Guild and PEN International where she serves on the Freedom to Write Committee. She is currently at work on a novel, House Calls.
- M.F.A., Vermont College of Fine Arts
April Ossmann has over twelve years’ experience in book publishing. She was an editor at University Press of New England from 1996 – 2000, and executive director of Alice James Books from 2000 – 2008. In 2009, she launched her consulting business, helping poets to get published. She edits book manuscripts and offers publishing advice to poets hoping to find a publisher. She is the author of Anxious Music (Four Way Books, 2007), and has published poetry in numerous journals including Prairie Schooner, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Harvard Review and Colorado Review; and in anthologies including From the Fishouse (Persea Books, 2009); and is the recipient of several awards for her poetry, including a Prairie Schooner Readers’ Choice Award. She has also published essays including Thinking Like an Editor: How to Order Your Poetry Manuscript (Poets & Writers, March/April 2011), and a biography/critical study of poet Lynda Hull in American Writers Supplement XXI (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2011).She teaches private tutorials, and poetry workshops at The Writers Center in White River Junction, Vermont, using a non-traditional workshop method she developed intended to teach poets to revise their work more objectively (as an editor would). She has taught creative writing and literature courses at Lebanon College and at the University of Maine at Farmington, and speaks about editing and publishing at colleges, universities, and other venues.
- M.F.A., University of Arkansas
Gailmarie Pahmeier teaches creative writing and literature in the Department of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2007, she was honored with a Governor’s Arts Award by the Nevada Arts Council for “Excellence in the Arts.” Pahmeier is recognized for her art and poetry. Her works include With Respect for Distance and What Emma Loves published by Black Rock Press and The House on Breakaheart Road published by the University of Nevada Press. Pahmeier has also received the Chamber Memorial Award, the Paumonok Poetry Award, a Witter Bynner Foundation Poetry Fellowship, two Nevada Arts Council Artist Fellowships and the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Pahmeier has received the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award and the University Distinguished Teacher Award.
- M.A., English, , Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
- Ph.D., Literature and the Environment, University of Nevada, Reno
Suzanne Roberts is a travel/nature writer, memoirist, and poet. Her books include the memoir Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail (University of Nebraska Press), and the poetry books Plotting Temporality (Pecan Grove Press, 2012),Three Hours to Burn a Body: Poems on Travel (Cherry Grove Collections, 2011), Nothing to You (Pecan Grove Press, 2008), and Shameless (Cherry Grove Collections, 2007). Her essays have been anthologized in The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader (Mountaineers Press, 2011), Tahoe Blues (Bona Fide Books, 2012), and elsewhere. Her poems, stories, and essays have been published in many literary journals, such as Smartish Pace, ZYZZYVA, ISLE, Poems & Plays, Fourth River, The MacGuffin, National Geographic Traveler, Alligator Juniper, Atlanta Review, Gulf Stream, and South American Explorers. Suzanne was named “The Next Great Travel Writer” by National Geographic’s Traveler. She is a two-time recipient of the McMillan and Randall Reid Creative Writing Awards from the University of Nevada Reno, and she won first prize in the Fourth River International Poetry Contest. She is the recipient of the 2011 Eda Kriseova Fellowship in Prague. She currently lives in South Lake Tahoe, California.
- M.F.A., Creative Writing, Bowling Green State University
June Sylvester Saraceno is originally from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in various journals including American Journal of Nursing, California Quarterly, The Pedestal, Silk Road, Smartish Pace, Southwestern American Literature, Tar River Poetry and others; as well as several anthologies including A Bird as Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens; Intimate Kisses: the poetry of sexual pleasure; Passionate Hearts: the poetry of sexual love, and Tahoe Blues. Her chapbook Mean Girl Trips was published in fall 2006 by Pudding House Press. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Altars of Ordinary Light, was released by Plain View Press in 2007. She is currently English Program Chair at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe, founding editor of the Sierra Nevada Review and Director of Writers in the Woods literary reader series.
- M.F.A., University of Southern Maine, Stonecoast
Patricia Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and one of NPR’s top five books of 2008; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection. Her latest is Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, Tin House and both Best American Poetry 2011 and Best American Essays 2011. She is also the author of Africans In America, the companion book to the groundbreaking PBS series, the children’s book Janna and the Kings and the editor of the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir. She is a 2012 fellow at both the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, a two-time Pushcart Prize winner and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She is a professor at the City University of New York/College of Staten Island, and is on the faculty of the new low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.
- M.F.A., University of Oregon
Brian Turner is the author of two collections of poetry: Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005; Bloodaxe Books, 2007) and Phantom Noise (Alice James Books, 2010; Bloodaxe Books in October of 2010). Both collections were published in Swedish by Oppenheim forlag and his poetry has been translated into several languages. Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving for seven years in the US Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division (1999-2000). His poetry and essays have been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Poetry Daily, The Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and other journals. Turner was featured in the documentary film Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, which was nominated for an Academy Award. He received a USA Hillcrest Fellowship in Literature, an NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, the Poets’ Prize, and a Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. His most recent book, Phantom Noise, was short-listed for the T.S. Eliot Prize in England. Most recently, Turner was awarded a Fellowship in the NEA/Japan-US Friendship Commission Creative Artist Program (2012). His work has appeared on National Public Radio, the BBC, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Here and Now, and on Weekend America, among others. He is the Director of the new Low Residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.
Josh Weil is the author of The New Valley (Grove/Atlantic 2009), a novella collection that won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from The American Academy of Arts and Letters; the New Writers Award from the GLCA; and a “5 Under 35” Award from the National Book Foundation. A New York Times Editors Choice, it was also shortlisted for the Library of Virginia’s literary award in fiction. Weil’s other fiction has appeared in Granta, One Story, Agni, and American Short Fiction, and he has written non-fiction for The New York Times, The Sun, Oxford American, and Poets& Writers. A recipient of fellowships and awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the Dana Foundation, the Gilman School, the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, the James Merrill House, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the MacDowell Colony, he has taught at New York University, Brooklyn College, The New School and NYC’s 92nd St. Y; he’s been the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bowling Green State University, and the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. His novel, The Great Glass Sea, will be published in early 2014.
- M.F.A., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Laura Wetherington’s first book, A Map Predetermined and Chance (Fence Books 2011), was selected by C.S. Giscombe for the 2010 National Poetry Series. The Brooklyn Rail called the book “humble, folksy, romantic, tough, inventive, and not over-programmed.” She has work published in the Sonora Review, BathHouse Journal, Otoliths, Fence, Verse, Eleven Eleven, Little Red Leaves, Bombay Gin, Oxford Magazine, and Just Magazine. Poems are forthcoming in the Minnesota Review, Drunken Boat, and in a Telephone Books anthology, The Sonnets: Rewriting Shakespeare. Laura co-founded and co-edits textsound.org: an online journal of experimental poetry and sound, which Poets & Writers named one of seventeen “groundbreaking presses and magazines that are redrawing the publishing map” in their Nov/Dec 2010 issue. Dick Erasures, a chapbook, is available as an ebook from Red Ceilings Press. She has a number of articles and interviews about collaboration at One Pause Poetry. Laura has taught for the French Ministry of Education, the University of Michigan, the New England Literature Program, and Eastern Michigan University. She is currently working on a book of fake translations.
- M.F.A., Cornell University
Alexi Zentner is the author of the novels The Lobster Kings (forthcoming, 2013) and Touch. He is published in the United States by W. W. Norton & Company, and in Canada by Knopf Canada. Touch has been published or is forthcoming in a dozen countries and ten languages. The CBC has named Alexi as one of 12 Writers to Watch – “the future of this country’s literature” – and one of six “fresh voices” for 2011. Touch was named one of the “best books” of 2011 from The National Post, Kobo, and Amazon.ca, and singled out for year-end praise by The Globe & Mail. Touch was shortlisted for The 2011 Governor General’s Literary Award, The Center for Fiction’s 2011 Flahery-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and the 2011 Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and longlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Alexi’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlantic Monthly, Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Glimmer Train, The Walrus, The Southern Review, and many other publications. He is the winner of both the O. Henry Prize (jury favorite) and the Narrative Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize. Alexi is a faculty member in the Sierra Nevada College low residency MFA program. Alexi has taught creative writing at Cornell University, where he received his MFA, and has taught at the Brooklyn College MFA program, the Rutgers-Camden Writers’ Conference, and the Lighthouse Writing Workshop, and has been a teaching fellow at the Bread Loaf and Wesleyan University writing conferences. Alexi Zentner was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, and currently lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife and two daughters. He holds both Canadian and American citizenship.