MFA in Creative Writing Faculty
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.
- MFA, University of Arizona
Cara Blue Adams’s stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Narrative, The Missouri Review, EPOCH, The Mississippi Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Sun, and elsewhere. She has been awarded The Kenyon Review Short Fiction Prize and scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the VCCA. She was recently named one of Narrative‘s “15 Below 30.”
She lives in Baton Rouge, where she is the fiction and nonfiction editor of The Southern Review.
“On Editing Prose, the Gender Gap in Publishing, and Eating Alligator!” – interview in The Review Review
BA, Philosophy, Cedarville University
Ben Barnhart is one of the founding editors of Revolver. He was formerly an editor with Milkweed Editions, and is a past president of the Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable.
Following his graduation from Vassar College, Ben Busch served 16 years as an infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer in the United States Marine Corps, deploying for two combat tours in Iraq. He returned to the U.S. to play a Marine in HBO’s Generation Kill, where he pretended to invade towns he had actually invaded in the line of duty. His written work has been published in Harper’s,The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and North American Review among others, and was notable in the 2010 Best American Essays anthology.
Busch’s searing memoir Dust to Dust (Ecco 2012) reflects a complicated relationship between destruction and creation. In chapters such as “Water,” “Metal,” “Bone,” and “Blood,” Ben reflects on his rural upbringing, his combat training, his relationship with his father—acclaimed novelist Frederick Busch—and, most poignantly, his own mortality, his family and the natural world.
His photographs have been featured in Five Points, Connecticut Review, Photography Quarterly, and War, Literature, & the Arts. As an actor, he is best known for his appearances in Homicide, The Wire, Generation Kill, and The Beast. His first film, Sympathetic Details, came out in 2008 winning numerous international film awards, and his new film as writer/director, BRIGHT, was released in January 2011.
Busch was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his essay, Growth Rings, printed in the Michigan Quarterly Review, and for his poem, You Know Who You Are, printed in the Dunes Review. Busch Received a Purple Heart medal in 2005 for combat wounds sustained in Ramadi, Iraq.
- BA, Political Science, California State University at Fresno
- MFA, University of Oregon
Daniel Chacón is author of Hotel Juárez: Stories, Rooms, and Loops (2013). His collection of short stories, Unending Rooms, won the 2008 Hudson Prize. He also has a novel, And the shadows took him, and another collection of stories called Chicano Chicanery. His fiction has appeared in the anthologies Latino Boom; Latino Sudden Fiction; Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge; Caliente: The Best Erotic Writing in Latin American Fiction; and Best of the West 2009: New Stories from the West Side of the Missouri. He co-edited The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: The Selected Work of José Anontio Burciaga. He is also editor of Colón-ization: The Posthmous Poems of Andrés Montoya, forthcoming in 2014 from Bilingual Press and The Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame.
Chacón is recipient of The Hudson Prize, a Chris Isherwood Foundation Grant, The American Book Award, and the Peter and Jean de Main Emerging Writers Award, among others. He teaches courses in Borges, Kafka, Physics as Metaphor, and Fiction Writing workshops. He has a literary radio show called Words on a Wire (KTEP.org) which he co-hosts with Benjamin Alire Sáenz. He is also a photographer/blogger, and his work can be seen at http://www.soychacon.blogspot.com.
- BA, English, Cornell University
- MFA, University of Minnesota
“My writing has been shaped by South Florida, its people and its landscape, and by the stories of Cuba repeated to me almost daily by my parents and abuelos. My own stories are informed by my experiences as a Cuban-American woman living within and without her community; . . . I strive in my writing to give voice to the voiceless, to give stories over to characters not yet readily found in established literature, to give them a place there where they belong. I write for a version of me out there now, looking for a way into the world, and I write for her future friends and lovers, Miami natives or not, that they be ready to meet her.”
Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of How to Leave Hialeah, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize, the John Gardner Book Award, the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award, and was named a Best Book of the Year by the Miami Herald, the Miami New Times, and the Latinidad List. The title story from the collection won a PEN/O. Henry Prize and appears in the 2011 PEN/O. Henry Prize Anthology. Originally from Miami, she is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Florida State University.
Jennine is the recipient of the John Winthrop Prize & Residency for Emerging Writers, the Emily Clark Balch Fiction Prize, and her work has been a finalist for both the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize and the Missouri Review Editor’s Prize. Her stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Epoch, the Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, and other magazines. Her book reviews appear in the L Magazine, a New York City bi-weekly.
Crucet served as the fiction editor for the most recent edition of the PEN Center USA’s Handbook for Writers, which is used in their Emerging Voices and Writers in the Schools programs. A former sketch comedienne and scriptwriter for NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Crucet has also worked in the non-profit sector as an advisor to first-generation college students from low-income families living in the South Central Los Angeles area.
- MFA, Columbia University
Gabriel Fried is a poet and editor. He is the author of Making the New Lamb Take (Sarabande Books), named a Best Book of 2007 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His poems have also appeared in American Poetry Review, The American Scholar, The Paris Review, and other journals and magazines. He is Poetry Editor at Persea Books, an independently-owned, literary publishing house based in New York City.
Read an interview with Gabe about winning the Sarabande Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, 2008:
Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK. She is also the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, and Hunger, forthcoming from Harper in 2016.
“Recently, a young woman asked me how we can make feminism more accessible to men. I told her that I don’t care about making feminism more accessible to men. In truth, I don’t care about making feminism more accessible to anyone. I care about making the liberties that men enjoy so freely fully accessible to women, and if men or celebrities claiming feminism for themselves has become the spoon full of sugar to make that medicine go down, so be it.”
From “Emma Watson? Jennifer Lawrence? These aren’t the feminists you’re looking for”, The Guardian, Oct 10, 2014
“You never know when or if you’ll get a big break as a writer. You write and write and write and hope that someone out there will discern what you believe is in that writing, and then you write and hope and wait some more. I think I am having my big break right now. This year I published two books—a novel, An Untamed State, and an essay collection, Bad Feminist. Both books have received positive critical attention. The latter book has been on the New York Times bestseller list twice. Articles about me keep telling me that I am having a moment, my big break. My friends and loved ones tell me that I am having a moment. Part of me recognizes that I am having a moment, while the more relentless part of me, a part that cannot be quieted, is only hungrier, wanting more.”
From “The Price of Black Ambition” in VQR, Fall 2014
- MA, English, University of Central Florida
- MFA, 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, 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 was the 2012-2013 Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Sierra Nevada College. Former poetry editor of The Florida Review, she is now a contributing editor.
- BA, Journalism, University of Iowa
- MFA, Bowling Green University
- MFA, Boise State University
Alan Heathcock’s VOLT was a “Best Book” selection from numerous newspapers and magazines, including GQ, Publishers Weekly, Salon, the Chicago Tribune, and Cleveland Plain Dealer, was named as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, selected as a Barnes and Noble Best Book of the Month, and was a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize.
“The stories in VOLT are intense, suspenseful, and utterly compelling. Heathcock writes about violence and bad luck and bad choices with a cool, grim eye that recalls Cormac McCarthy, yet he also approaches the hard lives of his stoic Westerners with great empathy and compassion and heart–a kind of miraculous combination. By turns hair-raising and tender, the tales in this collection draw you into a tough, bleak, beautiful world that you won’t soon forget.” – Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply
Heathcock has won a Whiting Award, the GLCA New Writers Award, a National Magazine Award, has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Lannan Foundation, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. A native of Chicago, he lives and works in Boise, Idaho
Poetry, Fiction, Performance Art
- BA, Writing & Literature, Naropa University
- MFA, Bennington College
Tim Z. Hernandez is an award winning author and performance artist. His debut collection of poetry, Skin Tax (Heyday Books, 2004) received the 2006 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the James Duval Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation, and the Zora Neal Hurston Award for writers of color dedicated to their communities. His debut novel, Breathing, In Dust (Texas Tech University Press 2010) was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, received the 2010 Premio Aztlan Prize in Fiction from the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was a finalist for the 2010 California Book Award.
In 2011 the Poetry Society of America named him one of sixteen New American Poets, and he was one of four finalists for the inaugural Freedom Plow Award from the Split This Rock Foundation for his work on locating the victims of the plane wreck at Los Gatos. His second collection of poetry, Natural Takeover of Small Things, and his novel of historical fiction, Mañana Means Heaven, based on the life of Bea Franco, were released in 2013 with the University of Arizona Press.
As a performer he has collaborated with Grammy Award winning classical composer Eugene Freisen, and in 2001 was commissioned by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to write and perform an original play on homelessness. Since 2007 he has worked with Poets & Writers Inc. and the California Center for the Book at UCLA teaching poetry, fiction, and non-fiction workshops across the west coast. He is the state-wide coordinator for Writers-in-the-Schools (Colorado), which focuses on rural under-served communities, and is a frequent guest artist at universities, cultural institutions, and literary centers across the United States.
He has taught as an adjunct in fiction at Naropa University, and is currently a Mentor for Prescott College’s Graduate Program. He currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and children.
Fiction, Poetry, Music
- Ph.D. in American Literature, University of California at Davis
Christian Kiefer’s first novel, The Infinite Tides (Bloomsbury) appeared on best of the year lists from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist and was given rave reviews in The Washington Post, Oprah.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Brooklyn Rain, Library Journal, Huffington Post, and elsewhere. T.C. Boyle called the novel “smart, lyrical [and] deeply moving” and noted its “emotional complexity and pure aching beauty.” Pam Houston called it “the most emotionally and syntactically sophisticated debut I have ever seen.” His second novel, The Animals (Liveright / W.W. Norton) was a best book of the year from Amazon.com and was praised by Richard Ford, Janet Fitch, and many others. Porter Shreve, writing about the novel in the San Francisco Chronicle, noted that “the book is not just a galloping great read; it’s a violent, tender, terrifying, genuine work of art.”
Kiefer is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, which has appeared in Santa Monica Review, Zyzzyva, Catamaran Literary Reader, and elsewhere. He writes and publishes poetry on a regular basis, and has a long second career in music, under the auspices of which he has collaborated with members of Smog, Sun Kil Moon, Wilco, Low, and The Band.
He teaches regularly at conferences including the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Catamaran Writing Conference, and has been a fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Upcoming work includes the novella, One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide (Nouvella) and the novel, Kingdom of Wolves (Liveright / W.W. Norton).
He lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada northeast of Sacramento, California with his wife and sons.
Born in 1965, Mike McCormack is the author of the short story collections Getting it in the Head and Forensic Songs, and the 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.
Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Short Fiction
- BA, Richard Stockton College of NJ
- MFA, Writing and Literature, Goddard College
Laura McCullough’s most recent books are Rigger Death & Hoist Another, poems (Black Lawrence Press, 2013); Ripple & Snap, micro-fiction/prose-poems about the aftermath of a public suicide; Shutters*Voices*Wind, linked monologues in the voices of women from around the globe; The Smashing House, a short fiction chapbook (ELJ Publications, 2013); and her edited anthology, The Room & the World: Essays on the Poetry of Stephen Dunn (Syracuse University Press, 2013). Her other books are Panic (winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award, Alice James Books, and a Foreword BOTYA finalist), Speech Acts (Black Lawrence Press), and What Men Want (XOXOX Press). Her second edited anthology, A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race is forthcoming in late 2014 from University of Georgia Press.
She has been a finalist for the Brittingham and Felix Poetry Prize, the Isabella Gardner Award, and the Frost Place residency and has been awarded scholarships or fellowships from Sewanee Writers Conference, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Nebraska Summer Writers Conference, and others. Her essays, criticism, poems, creative non-fiction, and short fiction have appeared in Diode, Plume, Drunken Boat, The Georgia Review, New South, Guernica, The American Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Pank, The Good Men Project, The Writer’s Chronicle, Gulf Coast, Pedestal, Painted Bride Quarterly, and others. She was the founding editor of Mead: the Magazine of Literature and Libations and currently acts as an editor-at-large.
- MFA, University of Washington
Peter Mountford’s debut novel, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), won the 2012 Washington State Book Award and was a finalist in the 2012 VCU Cabell First Novelist Prize. In its full-page review, The Seattle Times wrote: “Debut novels don’t come much savvier, punchier, or more entertaining…the work of an extraordinary talent.”
His second novel The Dismal Science (Tin House Books) was described by bestselling author Tea Obrecht as “Quietly wrenching, sharply drawn and completely un-put-downable. A deft and unflinching exponent of the human side of a polarizing world few of us actually understand.” He was awarded a 4Culture Grant, a grant from the city of Seattle, and the Corporation of Yaddo’s Wallace Fellowship for a Distinguished Writer for his work on the book.
Peter’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Best New American Voices 2008, Conjunctions, Salon, Granta, ZYZZYVA, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest judged by George Saunders. He’s currently a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House and at Seattle Arts and Lectures. His first original screenplay, “I Am Not Werner Erhard,” co-written with Steven Schardt, was selected for the 2009 Film Independent Screenwriter’s Lab.
Peter grew up in Washington, DC, apart from three years in Sri Lanka during the early stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. In 1999, Peter earned a BA in International Relations, and then spent two years as the token liberal at a think tank. For most of that time, he lived in Ecuador and wrote about Ecuador’s economy. He now lives in Seattle, where he regularly teaches creative writing classes at the Richard Hugo House and elsewhere.
Poetry, Spoken Word
- 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 was the Writer in Residence at SNC for 2013 – 2014.
- MFA, Fiction, University of Michigan
Steve Woodward is an associate editor at Graywolf Press. Prior to joining Graywolf, he taught composition and creative writing at the University of Michigan. He is editor and co-founder of Menagerie, an online magazine that focuses on hybrid forms. His own writing has been recognized with a Minnesota State Arts Board grant and with Hopwood Awards in both fiction and nonfiction. He has spoken about publishing and independent presses at AWP, the Loft Literary Center, the Flathead River Writers’ Conference, Writers at Work, and often visits MFA programs as an editor. He lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.