MFA in Creative Writing Faculty
“At SNC, we take our job as teachers and mentors as seriously as we take our own writing. My hope is to create lifelong relationships with my students.”
— Suzanne Roberts, MFA Faculty
MFA-CW Program Coordinator and Graduate Admissions Counselor
Sierra Nevada Review Faculty Advisor
- MA in African America Studies, UCLA
- MFA, Warren Wilson College
Natalie Baszile is the author of Queen Sugar. The book, now a television series on the Oprah Winfrey Network, was adapted for television by writer/director Ava DuVernay of “Selma” and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey. Queen Sugar was named one of the San Francisco Chronicles’ Best Books of 2014, was long-listed for the Crooks Corner Southern Book Prize, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
- BA, Latin; MA, Strategic Communications, University of Minnesota
Anitra Budd is a freelance copywriter and editor for a variety of clients, including independent authors, the Loft Literary Center, FedEx, Thrivent Financial, Wise Ink, Red Line Editorial, and 3M. In her past job as acquiring and managing editor at Coffee House Press she worked with numerous authors, including Kirsten Kaschock, T. Geronimo Johnson, Kate Bernheimer, Ron Padgett, Lincoln Michel, Christopher Merkner, and many others.
In addition to her writing and editorial work, Budd is a visiting assistant professor at Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota) and a teaching specialist at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. She has presented on publishing and editing topics at a variety of venues, including The Thread on Minnesota Public Radio, Columbia College’s Story Week, SUNY–Binghamton, Hamline University, and the Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable. She currently lives with her family in Minneapolis.
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.
Rick Campbell’s most recent book is The History of Steel: A Selected Works (2014), from All Nations Press. His other books include Dixmont (Autumn House 2008); The Traveler’s Companion (Black Bay Books 2004); Setting The World In Order (Texas Tech 2001); and A Day’s Work (State Street Press 2000). He’s won a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and two poetry fellowships from the Florida Arts Council.
Campbell was the director of Anhinga Press from 1992 to 2014, during which time the press published about 80 books of poetry. He is a founder and the Director of the Florida Literary Arts Coalition and its Other Words Conference in St. Augustine, FL.
His poems and essays have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Florida Review, Prairie Schooner, Fourth River, Kestrel, Puerto Del Sol, New Madrid and other journals. He was chosen to take part in the Georgia Poetry Circuit eight school tour, and has read or presented workshops at over 100 schools and conferences in the last thirty years.
Campbell teaches English at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.
Editing, Writing for Children & Young Adults
- BA in Creative Writing, University of California, San Diego
Joanna Cárdenas is an editor at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She acquires and edits picture books, chapter books, and middle grade (including graphic novels). Joanna has edited books by Julie Falatko, Tim Miller, Margaret Mincks, Mac Barnett, Greg Pizzoli, Celia C. Pérez, Christopher Weyant, Aaron Reynolds, and Pablo Cartaya, among others.
Joanna is also on the steering committee for Latinx in Publishing, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting and increasing the number of Latino/a/x in the publishing industry, as well as promoting literature by, for, and about Latino/a/x people.
Writing for Children & Young Adults
- BA in Writing, Loyola Marymount University
- MFA in Writing, Vermont College of Fine Arts
Pablo Cartaya is the author of the acclaimed middle-grade novel, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora (Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Random House). He is a Publisher’s Weekly “Flying Start” and has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly. For his performance recording the audiobook of his novel, Pablo received an Earphone Award from Audiofile Magazine and a Publisher’s Weekly Audiobooks starred review. The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora was named one of the best books of the month by Amazon and Barnes and Nobles and one of the “50 Most Brilliant Books of Summer” by Scholastic Library. His novel Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish, also with Viking, is set for publication in summer 2018, with two forthcoming titles to follow in 2019 and 2020. He is the co-author of the picture book, Tina Cocolina: Queen of the Cupcakes (Random House Children’s Books, 2010), a contributor to the literary magazine, Miami Rail; the Spanish language editorial, Suburbano Ediciones; and a translator for the poetry chapbook, Cinco Poemas/Five Poems based on the work of the poet Hyam Plutzik.
Pablo has been a guest speaker at Florida International University’s Exile Studies Program, University of Miami’s Lowe Museum, and has visited schools throughout the US. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from Loyola Marymount University. He currently serves as lead faculty at Sierra Nevada College’s low residency MFA in the Writing for Children and Young Adults track. He calls Miami home and Cuban-American his cultura.
Essayist and writer of memoir and literary nonfiction Steven Church is the author of The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record, Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents, The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst, Ultrasonic: Essays, One With the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters between Humans and Animals, and the collection of essays, I’m Just Getting to the Disturbing Part: On Work, Fear and Fatherhood. He’s also the editor of the forthcoming anthology of essays, The Spirit of Disruption: Selections from The Normal School. He is the winner of the Glenna Luschei Prize from Prairie Schooner, and received the Colorado Book Award in Creative Nonfiction for The Guinness Book of Me: A Memoir of Record.
His essays have been published and anthologized widely, including in the 2011 Best American Essays. He is a Founding Editor and Nonfiction Editor for the nationally recognized literary magazine, The Normal School; and he Coordinates the residential MFA Program at Fresno State.
Church received is MFA in Fiction from Colorado State University and his BA in philosophy from the University of Kansas. In addition to his academic positions as an adviser, adjunct instructor, and professor, he has worked as a housepainter, paperboy, grocery store clerk and bagger, fry cook, shovel and Uni-loader operator, construction laborer, tour guide (twice), maintenance man, and conflict mediator.
Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950, poet, teacher and activist Carolyn Forché has witnessed, thought about, and put into poetry some of the most devastating events of twentieth-century world history. According to Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Times Book Review, Forché’s ability to wed the “political” with the “personal” places her in the company of such poets as Pablo Neruda, Philip Levine, and Denise Levertov.
An articulate defender of her own aims as well as the larger goals of poetry, Forché is perhaps best-known for coining the term “poetry of witness.” In her ground-breaking anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (1993), Forché described the difficulties of politically-engaged poetry: “We are accustomed to rather easy categories: we distinguish between ‘personal’ and ‘political’ poems…The distinction…gives the political realm too much and too little scope; at the same time, it renders the personal too important and not important enough. If we give up the dimension of the personal, we risk relinquishing one of the most powerful sites of resistance. The celebration of the personal, however, can indicate a myopia, an inability to see how larger structures of the economy and the state circumscribe, if not determine, the fragile realm of the individual.” Calling for a new poetry invested in the “social,” Forché’s anthology presented poets who had written under extreme conditions, including war, exile, and imprisonment. The anthology solidified her place as one of America’s most important and aware poetic voices.
Forché’s first book of poetry, Gathering the Tribes (1975), however, is resolutely personal, recounting experiences of the author’s adolescence and young-adult life. Published when she was just twenty four, the book won the 1975 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Judge Stanley Kunitz described the work as centering on “kinship” and noted that Forché “tries to understand the bonds of family, race, and sex.” Highly praised as a young poet of “uncommon vigor and assurance,” again according to Oates, Forché received a Guggenheim Fellowship and traveled to El Salvador as part of Amnesty International, in time to witness the unfolding civil war. While there, she viewed inadequate health facilities that had never received the foreign aid designated for them; saw young girls who had been sexually mutilated; and learned of torture victims who had been beaten, starved, and otherwise abused. Her experiences found expression in The Country between Us (1981). As reviewer Katha Pollitt observed in the Nation, Forché “insists more than once on the transforming power of what she has seen, on the gulf it has created between herself and those who have seen less and dared less.” The poet herself admitted to the compelling nature of her Central American experience. “I tried not to write about El Salvador in poetry, because I thought it might be better to do so in journalistic articles,” she told Jonathan Cott of Rolling Stone. “But I couldn’t—the poems just came.” In these poems Forché “addresses herself unflinchingly to the exterior, historical world,” Oates explained. She did so at a time when most of her contemporaries were writing poetry in which there is no room for politics—poetry, Pollitt stated, “of wistful longings, of failed connections, of inevitable personal loss, expressed in a set of poetic strategies that suit such themes.”
The Country between Us was named the 1981 Lamont Poetry Selection and became that most-rare publication: a poetry bestseller. In a critique for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Art Seidenbaum maintained that the poems of the second volume “chronicle the awakening of a political consciousness and are themselves acts of commitment: to concepts and persons, to responsibility, to action.” A Ms reviewer called the book, “a poetry of dissent from a poet outraged.” More than one critic singled out her poem “The Colonel,” centering on her now-famous encounter with a Salvadoran colonel who, as he made light of human rights, emptied a bag of human ears before Forché. Pollitt remarked that “at their best, Forché’s poems have the immediacy of war correspondence, postcards from the volcano of twentieth-century barbarism.” Forché herself told Cott: “The voice in my first book doesn’t know what it thinks, it doesn’t make any judgments. All it can do is perceive and describe and use language to make some sort of re-creation of moments in time. But I noticed that the person in the second book makes an utterance.”
A dozen years passed between the publication of The Country between Us and Forché’s editing of Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness. Matthew Rothschild in the Progressive called the poems in the anthology “some of the most dramatic antiwar and anti-torture poetry written in this benighted century.” They provide, Gail Wronsky pointed out in the Antioch Review, “irrefutable and copious evidence of the human ability to record, to write, to speak in the face of those atrocities.” Building on the tradition of social protest and the antiwar poems of the late 1960s, Forché presents a range of approaches: “Many of the poems here are eyes-open, horrifyingly graphic portrayals of human brutality,” observed Rothschild. “But others are of defiance, demonstrating resolve and extracting hope even in the most extreme circumstances.”
In an article in the Mason Gazette, Forché commented that “The poetry of witness reclaims the social from the political and in so doing defends the individual against illegitimate forms of coercion.” The year following the publication of Against Forgetting saw Forché bring out her own book of witness, The Angel of History (1994), which won the 1994 Los Angeles Times Book Award for poetry. The book is divided into five sections dealing with the atrocities of war in France, Japan, and Germany and with references to the poet’s own experiences in Beirut and El Salvador. The title figure, the Angel of History—a figure imagined by Walter Benjamin—can record the miseries of humanity yet is unable either to prevent these miseries from happening or from suffering from the pain associated with them. Kevin Walker, in the Detroit Free Press, called the book “a meditation on destruction, survival and memory.” Don Bogen, in the Nation, saw this as a logical development, since Forché’s work with Against Forgetting was “instrumental in moving her poetry beyond the politics of personal encounter. The Angel of History is rather an extended poetic mediation on the broader contexts—historical, aesthetic, philosophical—which include [the twentieth]…century’s atrocities,” wrote Bogen. And Steven Ratiner, reviewing the work for the Christian Science Monitor, called it one that “addresses the terror and inhumanity that have become standard elements in the twentieth-century political landscape—and yet affirms as well the even greater reservoir of the human spirit.”
Forché’s next collection, Blue Hour (2003) took its title from the translated French phrase for dawn. According to a review in Publisher’s Weekly, the book draws on personal memories, “ethereal images of twentieth-century horror” and is “dosed with a mysticism derived from Heidegger and Buber.” Placing Forché squarely in line with the “visionary abstraction” of fellow poets Michael Palmer and Jorie Graham, the reviewer found sections of the book “lovely and mysterious,” and praised the tour-de-force at its center, “On Earth,” for the adroit foregrounding of its own “lyric complications.” Her new books include the collection In the Lateness of the World (2017), which was a finalist for the Nuestadt International Prize for Literature.
Carolyn Forché is also a noted translator and teacher. Her translations of poets as various as Claribel Alegría, Georg Trakl, Robert Desnos and Mahmoud Darwish have won great critical acclaim. She has won numerous grants and awards, including fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. In 1997, she was presented with the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation Award for using her poetry as a “means to attain understanding, reconciliation, and peace within communities and between communities.” Hope J. Smith commented in the Madison Gazette that “Forché’s work is unusual in that it straddles the realms of the political and the poetic, addressing political and social issues in poetry when many poets have abandoned these subjects altogether. In recognizing the link Forché has made between these worlds, the Hiroshima Foundation recognizes her human rights work as much as it does her writing.” Forché is currently University Professor at Georgetown University where she directs the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice.
- 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
- 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.
Sierra Nevada Review Faculty Advisor
- MFA, Sierra Nevada College
Wendy Hill earned her MFA in nonfiction from Sierra Nevada College. She is the nonfiction editor for Bridge Eight Magazine and was the co-managing editor of the Sierra Nevada Review from 2016 to 2018. Her work has appeared in The Sun. She is currently at work on a memoir about grief and identity. She lives in Houston, Texas with one husband, five kids, three dogs, and a cat.
- PhD, University of Houston
Lacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based artist, curator, professor, activist, and is author of the memoir The Other Side (Tin House, 2014). For its frank and fearless confrontation of the epidemic of violence against women, The Other Side was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, an Edgar Award in Best Fact Crime, the CLMP Firecracker Award in Nonfiction; it was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writer Selection for 2014, and was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus, Library Journal, and the Houston Chronicle. She is also author of Trespasses: A Memoir (University of Iowa Press, 2012), which has been anthologized in The Racial Imaginary (Fence Books, 2015, edited by Claudia Rankine et al.) and Literature: The Human Experience.
Johnson worked as a cashier at Wal-Mart, sold steaks door-to-door, and puppeteered with a traveling children’s museum before earning a PhD from University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, where she was both an Erhardt Fellow and Inprint Fondren Fellow. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Dame, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, TriQuarterly, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. As a writer and artist she been awarded grants and residencies from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Houston Arts Alliance, the Kansas Arts Commission, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.
Her third book of nonfiction, The Reckonings, is forthcoming from Scribner. She teaches creative nonfiction in the Low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College and at Rice University.
- BA, Washington University in St. Louis
David Lamb is an assistant editor at Hachette Books, where he acquires memoirs, narrative nonfiction projects, and a range of titles across other genres. At Hachette Books and in his prior role at Scribner, he has worked on acclaimed and bestselling books including two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward’s The Fire This Time; MacArthur Fellow Angela Duckworth’s Grit; Kate Hennessy’s Dorothy Day; Lindy West’s Shrill; Sandrone Dazieri’s Kill the Father; Assaf Gavron’s The Hilltop; and Baird Harper’s Red Light Run, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick. He enjoys helping bold writers hone their voices and build stories that will connect strongly with readers in the marketplace. He lives in New York City.
Poetry, Literary Theory
- 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.
Writing for Children & Young Adults
- MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, Vermont College of Fine Arts
- MA in Writing, Rowan University
Joe McGee is the author of the picture book, Peanut Butter & Brains (Abrams 2015), about which the Kirkus Review said “Run, don’t shamble to get this original zombie tale.” The New York Times praised it for “amusingly unit[ing] the seemingly unrelated contemporary obsessions of zombies and food,” and The Washington Post noted “Joe McGee keeps the story moving with flowing and engaging text.” Peanut Butter & Aliens, a sequel, was published in August, 2017, and Peanut Butter & Santa Claus will be released in 2019.
Joe’s writing has garnered many awards, to include the 2014 Vermont College of Fine Arts Holy Smokes! short story award, the 2013 Vermont College of Fine Arts Critical Essay award, and a Vermont College of Fine Arts merit scholarship. He was the recipient of the 2012 Medallion Award for the outstanding graduate writing student at Rowan University and the winner of the 2012 Denise Gess Literary Prize for Poetry. He has been awarded 1st place honors in fiction, short story writing, YA/teen writing, and poetry from The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. His short story, Ink Soul, won 2nd place in the 2011 national Writer’s Digest genre fiction awards. Los Angeles Book Prize winner and Printz Honoree, A.S. King, called Joe’s short story, Leaves of Brass, “one of the best short stories” she’d ever read. National Book Award finalist and Newberry Honor recipient, Kathi Appelt, said of Joe’s short story, Tooth Fairy, that it was “one of the most authentic child’s voices” she’d ever read.”
He teaches several Creative Writing classes at Rowan University. He is a former airborne Army platoon leader and the father of three boys, ranging from high school to middle school to elementary school. He is an amateur cartoonist, has flown fixed-wing aircraft, and hiked an active volcano. Joe lives along the river, in a scenic and historic part of New Jersey with his fiancé, also a children’s writer.
- 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. His second novel The Dismal Science was a New York Times editor’s choice. In her full page review in the Sunday Times, Martha McPhee wrote, “Mountford’s fierce imagination and intelligence drive The Dismal Science. D’Orsi is a mesmerizing character. His wrecking-ball choices and the truth that there are no easy answers make him utterly human.”
Peter’s short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Best New American Voices 2008, Southern Review, Missouri Review, Conjunctions, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest judged by George Saunders. His personal essays have appeared in the New York Times‘ Modern Love column, Granta, The Atlantic, The Sun, and elsewhere.
Winner of the 2016 Gar LaSalle Storyteller Award for a fiction writer in Washington State, and an Elizabeth George Fellowship, he received the 2010 recipient of Yaddo’s Wallace Residency for a Distinguished Writer, and he was the 2015 Katharine Bakeless Nason Fellow at Bread Loaf.
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 worked as an adjunct fellow for 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 serves as the events curator at Hugo House, Seattle’s writing center.
John Murillo is the author of the poetry collection, Up Jump the Boogie, which was finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award. His honors include the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Times, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.
Recent poems have been published in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, and in the anthology Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of African-American Poetry. He has taught in the creative writing programs at Cornell University, the University of Miami, Columbia College Chicago, and currently teaches at Hampshire College and New York University.
Writing for Children & Young Adults
- BA in English, California State University, San Bernardino
- MA in English Composition, California State University, San Bernardino
Isabel Quintero is a writer and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She was born, raised, and resides in the Inland Empire of Southern California. She earned her BA in English and her MA in English Composition at California State University, San Bernardino. Isabel also sits on on the board for a non-profit literary arts organization, PoetrIE.
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces from Cinco Puntos Press, her first novel, is the recipient of the 2015 William C. Morris Award for Debut YA Novel, the 2015 Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the California Book Award Gold Medal for Young Adult, the 2015 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Grades 7-12, and the 2015 Peggy Miller Award for Young Adult Literature. Gabi was a finalist for the 2015 Elizabeth Walden Award, the 2015 Cybils Award, and received an honorable mention from the NACCS Tejas Young Adult Fiction FOCO Award. In addition, the book has been included on the Amelia Bloomer Project List of Recommended Feminist Reading for ages 0-18, one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014, 2015 Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens, is one of Booklist’s Best Books of 2014, one of Kirkus’ Best Teen Books of 2014, and a 2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, among other lists.
Her forthcoming chapter books, the first two in a series for young readers, Ugly Cat and Pablo, will be released in Spring 2017 from Scholastic, Inc. Her first graphic novel, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide a biography about photographer Graciela Iturbide, will be released by Getty Publications Fall 2017. In addition to writing fiction, she also writes poetry and her work can be found in The Great American Literary Magazine, Huizache, As/Us Journal, The Acentos Review, The Pacific Review, and others.
Editing, Graphic Memoir
Kristen Radtke is a writer, editor and designer based in Brooklyn. She is the managing editor of Sarabande Books, and the film and video editor of TriQuarterly magazine.
Her graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This is forthcoming from Pantheon Books. Her work has appeared in Oxford American, The Daily Beast, Tin House, Buzzfeed, Electric Literature, Huffington Post, and many other places.
Publishers Weekly named her a “future leader of the American publishing industry” in its 2015 Star Watch, and Buzzfeed Books named her design one of the most beautiful book covers of 2015. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program.
Agent, Writing for Children & Young Adults
Jess Regel is a literary agent at Foundry Literary + Media who represents New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors in both the children’s and adult literary market. Originally from Iowa, Jess was working at her local library when she was offered a job at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and immediately packed up for New York City.
She spent eleven years at the Naggar Agency before moving over to Foundry in 2013. Some of her books include: Amber Smith’s New York Times Bestseller The Way I Used to Be (Margaret McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster), Emily Danforth’s award winning The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), Linda Liukas’ international bestseller Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding (Feiwel & Friends/MacMillan), Nora McInerny Purmort’s national bestseller It’s Okay to Laugh (Dey Street/HarperCollins), and Bryn Greenwood’s New York Times Bestseller All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (MacMillan/Thomas Dunne). She is a graduate of Hunter College with a degree in English Literature.
- MFA, Vermont College of Fine Arts
Jessica has a BA in Social Welfare from Bloomsburg University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut picture book biography about Gloria Steinem, Gloria Takes a Stand, is due out in March 2019 with Bloomsbury, and her second biography, yet unannounced, in 2020, also with Bloomsbury. Her middle grade duology, The Dare Sisters, will be out in 2020 and 2021 with Macmillan/Imprint. Jessica writes across all categories and has published creative nonfiction, short stories, and poetry in addition to her forthcoming children’s books.
In 2010, Jessica won second place in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award, and was chosen as one of Warren County New Jersey’s “Writers on the Rise” in 2010 and 2012. In 2017, she was the Writer in Residence at Weymouth Center of the Arts in Southern Pines, North Carolina. She has interned with a literary agency and literary magazine, and currently works as a developmental editor and writing coach for Wild River Publishing and Consulting. Prior to (mostly) full-time writing, Jessica has been a professional actress, literacy teacher, theatre reviewer, a stay-at-home mom, and rounding out her Jane-of-all-trades approach to life, a barista at a fabulous little coffee shop that has provided her a lifetime of fodder for stories.
- BA in Creative Writing and Psychology, minor in Women and Gender Studies, New Jersey City University
- MFA in Creative Nonfiction, Hunter College
Born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Krystal A. Sital is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir SECRETS WE KEPT: Three Women of Trinidad (W.W.Norton 2018).
The New York Times says, “Sital paints a credible and complex portrait . . . This is not the Trinidad of V. S. Naipaul, rendered with elegant sentences and brilliant introspection, but, rather, a place where women’s and children’s lives are held in thrall by cruel men.” SECRETS WE KEPT has garnered rave reviews by Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal, and Christian Science Monitor. Vanity Fair included it in their “What to Read This Month,” Lit Hub put it on their “17 Books You Should Read This February”; PopSugar included it in their “21 Inspiring Books Written by Women You Simply Can’t Miss in 2018”; and Electric Lit put it on their “46 books by Women of Color to read in 2018.”
Nicole Dennis-Benn says it is a “stunning and unforgettable memoir…a brilliant account of gender inequality and the burdens we bear as Caribbean women.”, and Andre Dubus III called it “a deeply resonant, timely, and necessary work of art.”
A PEN award finalist, Academy of American Poet’s Prize winner, and Hertog Fellow, Krystal’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times—Well, Salon, Catapult, Today’s Parent, LitHub, Asian American Writers Workshop—The Margins, The Caribbean Writer, Brain Child, and elsewhere. She’s taught creative writing, gender and sexuality, and peoples and cultures of the Caribbean at New Jersey City University and Fairleigh Dickenson University.
Krystal was also the world literature editor at Riffle Books, the narrative nonfiction editor for the international journal The Missing Slate, the prose editor and book reviewer for Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the editor for Mothers Always Write.
A mother to three tiny geniuses, she practices magic with them and her partner in the suburbs of New Jersey.
- M.F.A., University of Southern Maine, Stonecoast
Patricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including: Incendiary Art; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Blood Dazzler, finalist for the National Book Award and one of NPR’s top five books of the year; and Gotta Go, Gotta Flow, a collaboration with award-winning photographer Michael Abramson. She is almost the author of Africans in America, the companion book to the groundbreaking PBS series, the children book Janna and the Kings, the editor of the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir and co-editor of The Golden Shovel: Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, Tin House, and in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, and Best American Mystery Stories.
Smith is a 2017 Civitella Ranieri fellow, a Neustadt Prize finalist, a 2012 fellow at both the MacDowell Colony and Yadoo, a two-time Pushcart Prize winner and four-time 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, a Cave Canem faculty member, and was the Writer-in-Residence at SNC for 2013-2014.
- MFA, 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 published three chapbooks: Dick Erasures (Red Ceilings Press 2011), the collaboratively written at the intersection of 3 (Dancing Girl Press 2014), and Grief Is the Only Thing That Flies (Bateau Press 2018), which Arielle Greenberg selected for the Keel Chapbook Contest.
Her poetry appears in Narrative, Michigan Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, FENCE, VOLT, and Anomaly (Drunken Boat), among others, and in two anthologies, The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare (Nightboat Books 2012), and 60 Morning Talks (Ugly Duckling Presse 2014). Her essays and book reviews have appeared in The Volta, Hyperallergic, Full Stop, Jacket2, and 1508.
With Hannah Ensor, Wetherington co-edits textsound.org, an online journal of experimental poetry and sound. Poets & Writers named textsound an “indie innovator,” one of a small group of “groundbreaking presses and magazines that are redrawing the publishing map”. She taught publishing classes as the faculty advisor for the Sierra Nevada Review for four years. In 2014 she joined Baobab Press as their Poetry Editor.
Wetherington is a graduate of University of Michigan’s MFA program, UC Berkeley’s Undergraduate English Department, and Cabrillo College. She has taught for the French Ministry of Education, the University of Michigan, the New England Literature Program, Eastern Michigan University, and the Nevada Arts Council’s writers in the schools program. She currently teaches in SNC Tahoe’s low-residency MFA program. Recent grants include 2017 & 2015 Artist Fellowships in Literary Arts from the Nevada Arts Council, and a 2014 Artist Grant in Literature from the Sierra Arts Foundation. She has attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Camac.
- MFA, City University of New York
Sunil Yapa’s first novel Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, set during the Seattle World Trade Organization protests of November 1999, is this year’s Common Read and a 2016 Time Magazine Best Books of the Year, an Amazon 2016 Best Books of the year, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, and an Indies Next Pick.
“Yapa’s melding of fact and fiction, human frailty and geopolitics, is a genuine tour-de-force.”
– The Seattle Times
The winner of the 2010 Asian American short story award, Yapa’s work has appeared in Guernica, American Short Fiction, The Margins, Hyphen Magazine, The Tottenville Review, Pindeldyboz: Stories that Defy Classification, and others. The biracial son of a father from Sri Lanka and a mother from Montana, Yapa has lived in The Netherlands, Thailand, Greece, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, China, and India, as well as London, Montreal, and New York City.
- MFA, University of Arizona
Arianne Zwartjes is the author of the lyric nonfiction project Detailing Trauma: A Poetic Anatomy (University of Iowa Press); a selection from Detailing Trauma won the 2011 Gulf Coast Prize for Nonfiction and was named a Best American Essays Notable Essay. Her writing can be found in Tarpaulin Sky, Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, Fourth Genre, Essay Daily, and elsewhere; her previous works include Disem(body), The Surfacing of Excess, and (Stitched) A Surface Opens: Essays. She is currently at work on a manuscript exploring themes of cultural relocation, violence, and migration, and looking at the treatment of refugees in Europe and the US drone program. Zwartjes has taught writing at the University of Arizona, the United World College, Pima Community College, Santa Fe Community College, the UA Poetry Center, Urban Word, and elsewhere. Visit her and her writing at ariannezwartjes.com or on Medium @ariannezwartjes.