2021 Visiting Writers
Director / Fiction Instructor
Alexander Weinstein is director of the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. He is the author of the short story collections Universal Love and Children of the New World which was chosen as a notable book of the year by The New York Times, NPR, Google, and Electric Literature. His fiction and interviews have appeared in Rolling Stone, World Literature Today, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Best American Experimental Writing. He is an associate professor of creative writing at Siena Heights University.
Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the author of The Devil’s Garden, which won the New York/New England Award, and Mixology, a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was also a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. His third collection, The Big Smoke, focuses on Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. The Big Smoke was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and 2014 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His most recent book, Map to the Stars, was published by Penguin in 2017. Among Matejka’s other honors are the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, the Julia Peterkin Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Bellagio Center, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and a Simon Fellowship from United States Artists. He teaches at Indiana University and is Poet Laureate of Indiana.
Tia Clark is a New Yorker with an MFA in fiction from Indiana University in Bloomington. They were the recipient of a Writer in the World Fellowship in Nepal and a Ross Lockridge Jr. Award in Fiction. They have received support and fellowships from the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Lambda Literary Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Their fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, The Offing, Fourteen Hills, No Tokens, and elsewhere. They live in New Orleans.
Creative Nonfiction Instructor
Christopher Citro is the author of If We Had a Lemon We'd Throw It and Call That the Sun (Elixir Press, 2020), winner of the 2019 Antivenom Poetry Award, and The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy (Steel Toe Books, 2015). His poetry appears in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, the 2018 Pushcart Prize Anthology, Crazyhorse, Missouri Review, Best New Poets, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, Smartish Pace, Witness, and Alaska Quarterly Review. His creative nonfiction appears in Boulevard, Quarterly West, The Florida Review, Essay Daily, Passages North, Bellingham Review, and Colorado Review. He teaches creative writing at SUNY Oswego and lives in Syracuse, New York.
Britton Shurley is author of the chapbook Spinning the Vast Fantastic (Bull City Press, 2021), and his poetry has appeared in such journals as Southern Humanities Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, and Southern Indiana Review. He is the recipient of Emerging Artist Awards from the Kentucky Arts Council in both 2011 and 2016. He is an Associate Professor of English at West Kentucky Community & Technical College where he edits Exit 7: A Journal of Literature & Art with his wife, the poet, Amelia Martens. They live in Paducah, Kentucky with their daughters and curate the Rivertown Reading Series.
Amelia Martens is the author of The Spoons in the Grass are There To Dig a Moat (Sarabande Books), and four poetry chapbooks, including Ursa Minor (elsewhere magazine). She is the recipient of a 2019 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council; her work has also been supported by a Sustainable Arts Foundation fellowship to Rivendell Writers’ Colony and by the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She met her husband in the Indiana University MFA program; together they have created the Rivertown Reading Series, Exit 7: A Journal of Literature and Art, and two awesome daughters.
Wendy Rawlings is the author of Time for Bed, The Agnostics, and Come Back Irish. She is the recipient of residency fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo. She was also awarded the John Farrar Fellowship in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her nonfiction has appeared in AGNI, Creative Nonfiction, Colorado Review, the 2016 Pushcart Prize anthology, and other magazines. She teaches and directs the MFA program at the University of Alabama.
Creative Nonfiction Instructor
Joshunda Sanders is the author of several books, including How Racism and Sexism Killed Traditional Media: Why The Future of Journalism Depends on Women and People of Color and the memoir, The Beautiful Darkness: A Handbook for Orphans. Her poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and journalism has appeared in Kweli Journal, the New York Times, TIME Magazine, Poets & Writers and many other publications. She has taught writing and journalism for the School of the New York Times, the New School, the University of Texas at Austin and currently teaches writing at Lehman College, where she also works in the Office of the President. She lives in New York City with her adorable puppy, Bendito.
Robert James Russell
CNF/Fiction & Publishing Instructor
Robert James Russell is the author of the novellas Mesilla (Dock Street Press) and Sea of Trees (Winter Goose Publishing), and the chapbook Don't Ask Me to Spell It Out (WhiskeyPaper Press). He is a founding editor of the literary journals Midwestern Gothic and CHEAP POP. His work has appeared in print and online in Gulf Coast, New South, and Passages North, among others, and he has taught writing courses and workshops around the country, including at the Iowa Writers House, New Harmony Writers Workshop, and the University of Michigan. You can find his illustrations and writing at robertjamesrussell.com, or on Twitter/Instagram at @robhollywood.
CNF & Poetry Instructor
Keith Taylor has authored or edited 17 books and chapbooks. His most recent is the Ecstatic Destinations. His last full length collection, The Bird-while, won the Bronze medal for the Foreword/Indies Poetry Book of the Year. He recently retired from the University of Michigan, where he taught for 20 years. Before that he worked as a bookseller in Ann Arbor, and as a camp-boy for a hunting outfitter in the Yukon, a dishwasher in southern France, a housepainter in Ireland, a freight handler, the co-host of a radio talk show, and as the night attendant at a pinball arcade in California. Taylor has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs. He has been Writer/Artist In Residence at Isle Royale National Park (twice), the Detroit YMCA, The International Writers’ and Translators’ Centre of Rhodes, Greece, and the University of Michigan Biological Station. His poems, stories, reviews, essays and translations have appeared widely in North America and in Europe.
Creative Nonfiction Instructor
Matthew Gavin Frank's latest nonfiction book, Flight of the Diamond Smugglers (about, among other things, the ways in which carrier pigeons are used by diamond smuggling rings) came out this February 2021. He is also the author of The Mad Feast and Preparing the Ghost, which was reviewed on the front-page of the New York Times Book Review, and was a New York Times Editors' Choice, an NPR Notable Book, and a New Yorker Book to Watch Out For. He is also the author of two other nonfiction books, and three books of poetry. His work appears widely in journals, magazines and anthologies, including The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, Guernica, The New Republic, Iowa Review, and as Notable selections in The Best American Essays. He teaches creative writing and lives in Marquette, Michigan.
Phong Nguyen is the author of three novels: The Bronze Drum (forthcoming in 2022 from Grand Central Publishing), Roundabout (Moon City Press, 2020), and The Adventures of Joe Harper (Outpost19, 2016), winner of the Prairie Heritage Book Award; and two story collections: Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History (Mastodon Publishing, 2019) and Memory Sickness and Other Stories (Elixir Press, 2011), winner of the Elixir Fiction Award. He serves as the series editor for the Best Peace Fiction anthology (University of New Mexico Press, 2021) and has edited the volume Nancy Hale: On the Life and Work of a Lost American Master (Pleiades/LSU Press, 2012) as a part of the Unsung Masters Series. He is the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at University of Missouri, where he currently serves as Director of Creative Writing.
Elizabeth Schmuhl is a multidisciplinary artist and the author of Premonitions (Wayne State University Press) and Presto Agitato: A Dictionary of Modern Movement (Zoo Cake Press & Dancing Girl Press). Her book of paintings created with natural ink from her farm, The Four Seasons, is out from Greying Ghost. She illustrates essays for The Rumpus, has taught writing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and worked in digital development at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. She is Shamel Pitts’ Artistic Manager and also works at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She recently performed at the Detroit Institute of Arts for the Detroit Dance Festival. Her work appears in Michigan Quarterly Review, PANK, Hobart, Dance Magazine, and elsewhere.
Leonard A. Slade, Jr.
Honorary Reader & 2018 Poet Fellow
Leonard A. Slade, Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies, and the former Director of the Humanistic Studies Doctoral Program and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at the State University of New York at Albany. He has taught English at Virginia State University, Kentucky State University, Skidmore College, Union College, and RPI. An Edmund J. James Scholar, Slade earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has also studied at Bennington College, Middlebury College, and the University of Ghana in West Africa. Slade is the author of twenty-two books of poetry, which have been sold in China, Japan, India, Finland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark, and Italy. He was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a Northeast Modern Language Association Research Fellowship in Poetry, and a National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education Award in Washington, D.C. Slade received The Langston Hughes Society Distinguished Service Award, The Southern Conference on African American Studies Book Award, The Poetry Gold Medal of Excellence Award, and The President's Excellence in Teaching Award at Kentucky State University and SUNY Albany. He lives with his wife in Albany, New York, and has one daughter.