Summer Reading Series

July 24 - August 1, 2018

Each July the Ashland MFA program brings a variety of accomplished writers to the Ashland University campus for its summer residency. We cordially invite writers and literary enthusiasts in northeast or central Ohio and beyond to join us for any of the craft seminars or evening readings on our schedule. This is a literary gathering unique to the area!   

All Craft Talks and Readings offered from July 24 through August 1 are Free and Open to the Public. (Not all events are recommended for youth under 16. Please contact the MFA Office if you have questions or concerns.)  

Full Schedule of 2018 Community Events

ashland public library, apl, community events

For more information on our high school workshops

All readings not specified on this flyer and afternoon craft talks are at Ashland University’s Dwight Schar College of Education Building, Room 138, Ronk Lecture Hall
Parking in Lot C along College Blvd. 

Participating Writers

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Ashland MFA Poetry Faculty

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, MFA Faculty in Poetry

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, and translator born in Zacatecas, Mexico. He is the author of Cenzontle, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Prize (BOA Editions, 2018), Dulce, winner of the sixth annual Drinking Gourd Prize (Northwestern University press, 2017), and Children of the Land: a Hybrid Memoir (Harper Collins, forthcoming). He is a Canto Mundo Fellow and was the first undocumented student to enroll and graduate from the MFA program at the University of Michigan. As a founding member of the Undocupoets campaign, which eliminated citizenship requirements from all first book prizes in the nation, he was awarded the Barnes and Noble “Writers for Writers” Award.  His work appears in The New York Times, PBS Newshour, Fusion TV, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Buzzfeed, Indiana Review, Washington Square Review, and Southern Humanities Review, among others. [MFA in Poetry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor]

Kate Gale, Ashland MFA Poetry faculty

Kate Gale, MFA Faculty in Poetry

Kate Gale is the co-founder and Managing Editor of Red Press and the author of The Goldilocks Zone from the University of New Mexico Press in 2014, and Echo Light from Red Mountain in 2014 and six librettos including Rio de Sangre, a libretto for an opera with composer Don Davis, which had its world premiere October 2010 at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee.  

Dr. Maura Grady

Maura Grady, Ashland University Faculty

Dr. Maura Grady oversees the First-Year Writing Program at Ashland University as well as the University Writing Center, which serves undergraduates and graduate students in all programs. In addition to her administrative role, she teaches in the English department and her scholarly work includes Film and Television Studies, Fan Culture, Gender Studies, Popular Culture Studies, and Composition and Pedagogy. Her current research focuses on innovative approaches to teaching first-year writing and on Writing Center assessment. She is the author of the book The Shawshank Experience: Tracking the History of the World’s Favorite Movie, which examines the real history of the locations used in the popular film. She also has published numerous articles on pedagogy and on film and television history. 

Douglas Manuel, Ashland MFA Poetry Faculty

Douglas Manuel, MFA Faculty in Poetry

Douglas Manuel was born in Anderson, Indiana. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and a MFA from Butler University where he was the Managing Editor of Booth a Journal. He is currently a Middleton and Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. He has been the Poetry Editor for Gold Line Press as well as was one of the Managing Editors of Ricochet Editions. His poems are featured on Poetry Foundation's website and in Poetry Northwest, Superstition Review, Rhino, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, New Orleans Review, Crab Creek Review, Many Mountains Moving, Figure 1, and elsewhere. His first full length collection of poems, Testify, was released by Red Hen Press in the spring of 2017. 

Sarah Monette, Ashland MFA fiction faculty

Sarah Monette, MFA Faculty in Fiction (Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

Sarah Monette has published more than fifty short stories, five solo novels, and three collaborations with her friend Elizabeth Bear. Her most recent novel, The Goblin Emperor, written under the pen name Katherine Addison, won the 2015 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and was a finalist for the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award. 

Nayomi Munaweera

Nayomi Munaweeera, MFA Faculty in Fiction

Nayomi Munaweera's debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, won the Commonwealth Prize for Asia. It was long listed for the Dublin IMPAC Prize and the Man Asia Prize. The novel was also short listed for the Northern California Book Prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was a Target Book Club selection in January 2016. Her second novel What Lies Between Us was hailed as one of the most exciting literary releases of 2016 by venues ranging from BuzzFeed to Elle Magazine. She writes about the consequences of living in a female body and her voice has been compared to that of Michael Ondatjee and Jumpha Lahiri. The book was awarded Sri Lanka's State Literary Award for English novel. Her short fiction and nonfiction is also widely available. More at

Derek Palacio, Ashland MFA Fiction Faculty

Derek Palacio, MFA Faculty in Fiction

Derek Palacio is the author of the novella How to Shake the Other Man and the novel The Mortifications. With Claire Vaye Watkins, he co-directs the Mojave School, a free creative writing camp for teenagers in rural Nevada. He lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. 

Ashland MFA Alumni

Aimee Ross, Ashland MFA Alumni

Aimee Ross is a nationally award-winning educator and aspiring writer who’s been teaching high school English at her alma mater in Loudonville, Ohio, for the past twenty-six years. Permanent Marker: A Memoir, is her first book (KiCam Projects, March 2018). Aimee's work has been published on,, www.SixHens.Com, and, as well as in Beauty around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia (ABC-Clio, 2017), Scars: An Anthology (Et Alia Press, 2015),  and Today I Made a Difference: A Collection of Inspirational Stories from America’s Top Educators (Adams Media, 2009). Aimee completed her MFA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing at Ashland University in 2014. She was a Regional Educator for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for ten years.

Sandra Simonds, Ashland MFA Poetry

Sandra Simonds, Ashland MFA Faculty in Poetry

Sandra Simonds is the author of six books of poetry: Orlando (Wave Books, forthcoming in 2018), Further Problems with Pleasure, winner of the 2015 Akron Poetry Prize, Steal It Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015), The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012), and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009). Her poems have been included in Best American Poetry in 2014 and 2015 and have appeared in many literary journals, including Poetry magazine, the American Poetry Review, the Chicago ReviewGrantaBoston ReviewPloughsharesFenceCourt Green, and Lana Turner. In 2013, she won a Readers’ Choice Award for her sonnet “Red Wand,” which was published on the Academy of American Poets website. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida, and is an associate professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia. 

Sarah M Wells, Ashland MFA Alumni

Sarah Marie Wells, Ashland MFA Alumni

Sarah Marie Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (Discovery House Publishers, Fall 2018), a novella-length essay, The Valley of Achor, available on Kindle, a collection of poems, Pruning Burning Bushes (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award (Finishing Line Press, 2009). Poems and essays by Wells have appeared recently in Ascent, Brevity, Full Grown People, Hippocampus Review, The Pinch, River Teeth, Rock & Sling, Under the Gum Tree, and elsewhere. Her essays have been listed as Notable Essays in multiple volumes of The Best American Essays. Sarah is the Director of Content Marketing at Spire Advertising and an Associate Editor for River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative

Learn More about the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Ashland University

home of The Ashland Poetry Press and River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative

For More Information, Contact the MFA Office, 419.289.5098 or

Thank you to these organizations for their support and partnership

The Ashland University MFA Program is grateful for the support of the Ohio Arts Council, whose funding helps make this program possible. We're also grateful for past partnership with the Coburn Art Gallery, and the Ashland Public Library. 

Ohio Arts Council        Akron Public Library Ashland University MFA Summer Reading Series   


Meet the Program Director, Dr. Christian Kiefer Discover how an...Read more
Meet the Program Director, Dr. Christian Kiefer Discover how an...Read more