The 2021 Summer Residency will be held virtually Sunday, July 18 through Saturday, July 31. For the public events schedule, please visit our Summer Reading & Seminar Series page. Readings and panels will be livestreamed on Facebook and craft sessions will be recorded and put on our website.

Visiting Writers & Schedule

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith, Visiting Writer in Poetry

Poetry Reading: Wednesday, July 21, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Craft Class: “Writing the Poem You Don't Want to Write and No One Wants to Read,” Thursday, July 22, 3 p.m.

Patricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; and Gotta Go, Gotta Flow, a collaboration with award-winning Chicago photographer Michael Abramson.  Her other books include the poetry volumes Teahouse of the Almighty, Close to Death, Big Towns Big Talk, Life According to Motown; the children's book Janna and the Kings and the history Africans in America, a companion book to the award-winning PBS series. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Baffler, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Tin House and in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays and Best American Mystery Stories. She co-edited The Golden Shovel Anthology—New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks and edited the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir.

Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison, Visiting Writer in Creative Nonfiction

Nonfiction Reading: Thursday, July 22, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Craft Class: “THE UNCANNY AND THE UNRULY: Writing From Personal Archives,” Friday, July 23, at 3 p.m.

Leslie was born in Washington DC and grew up in Los Angeles. Since then, she has lived in Iowa, Nicaragua, New Haven, and (currently) Brooklyn. She’s worked as a baker, an office temp, an innkeeper, a tutor, and a medical actor. She currently teaches at the Columbia University MFA program, where she directs the nonfiction concentration. Her new book, a collection of essays called Make It Scream, Make It Burn, came out in September 2019. She’s also written a novel, The Gin Closet, a collection of essays, The Empathy Exams, and a critical memoir, The Recovering. Her work has appeared in places including The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Oxford AmericanA Public SpaceVirginia Quarterly Review, and The Believer.

Viet Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen, Visiting Writer in Fiction

Fiction Reading: Tuesday, July 20, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Viet Thanh Nguyen is a University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002) and the novel The Sympathizer, from Grove/Atlantic (2015). The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, an Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, the Carnegie Medal for  Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, le Prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book in France), a California Book Award, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Fiction from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. The novel made it to over thirty book-of-the-year lists, including The Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com, Slate.com, and The Washington Post. The foreign rights have been sold to twenty-seven countries. He is also the author of Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War from Harvard University Press (2016, foreign rights to four countries), which is the critical bookend to a creative project whose fictional bookend is The Sympathizer.

Participating Faculty

Dexter L. Booth 2017 Visiting Writer

Dexter Booth, MFA Faculty in Poetry

Dexter L. Booth is the author of Abracadabra, Sunshine (Red Hen Press, 2021), the chapbook Rhapsody (Upper Rubber Boot Books, 2019), and the collection Scratching the Ghost (Graywolf Press, 2013), which won the 2012 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. His poems have been included in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 2015The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and LossThe Golden Shovel Anthology honoring Gwendolyn BrooksFurious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry, and Plume Poetry 9. Booth holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Southern California.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, MFA Faculty in Poetry

Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of the multiple award winning book Cenzontle, (A. Poulin, Jr. Prize, BOA Editions); Dulce, (Drinking Gourd Prize, Northwestern University Press); and Children of the Land: A Memoir (Harper Collins). 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.

Brian Conn, fiction author

Brian Conn, MFA Faculty in Fiction (Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

Brian Conn is the author of The Fixed Stars: Thirty-Seven Emblems for the Perilous Season, which won the Bard Fiction Prize and appeared on Amazon.com’s list of the top ten science fiction and fantasy books of the year. His short fiction has appeared in The Year's Best Weird Fiction, Conjunctions, Unstuck, The Cincinnati Review, and Greatest Uncommon Denominator, among other journals. He earned his MFA from Brown University, and has also taught at Bard College, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of Rhode Island.

Kate Gale, Ashland MFA Poetry faculty

Kate Gale, MFA Faculty in Poetry & Visiting Writer

Kate Gale is the co-founder and Managing Editor of Red Hen 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.

Kate Hopper

Kate Hopper, MFA Faculty in Creative Nonfiction

Kate Hopper is the author of Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers and Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood, winner of a 2014 MIPA Midwest Book Award, and co-author of Silent Running, a memoir of one family’s journey with autism and running. Kate holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, two Minnesota State Arts Board Grants, and a Sustainable Arts Grant. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Brevity, Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times online, Poets & Writers, and River Teeth. She teaches in Ashland University’s Low-residency MFA program, at the Loft Literary Center, and online.

Edan Lepucki

Edan Lepucki, MFA Faculty in Fiction

Edan Lepucki is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels California and Woman No. 17, as well as the editor of Mothers Before: Stories and Portraits of Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them. Her fiction and nonfiction has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Esquire Magazine, McSweeney's, and The Cut, among other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Lauren Markham, Ashland MFA Creative Nonfiction Faculty

Lauren Markham, MFA Faculty in Creative Nonfiction

Lauren Markham is the author of The Far Away Brothers, which won the 2018 Ridenhour Prize and the California Book Award Silver Medal, was shortlisted for the LA Times Book Prize, and was named a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers Selection and a New York Times Critics’ pick for 2017. A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, her essays have appeared in outlets such as Orion, Harper’s, LitHub, The New Republic, Guernica, and VQR, where she is a contributing editor.

Sarah Monette, MFA Faculty in Fiction

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

Sarah Monette has published more than fifty short stories, seven solo novels, and three collaborations with her friend Elizabeth Bear. Her most recent novel is The Witness for the Dead (Tor Books, 2021). 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. Her work has been translated into Russian, Japanese, Chinese, German, Turkish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Czech.

Nayomi Munaweera, fiction Ashland MFA

Nayomi Munaweera, 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.

Katherine Standefer, Ashland MFA CNF Faculty

Katherine Standefer, MFA Faculty in Creative Nonfiction

Katherine Standefer is the author of Lightning Flowers: My Journey To Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice/Staff Pick and the November 2020 Group Text pick. Named one of O, The Oprah Magazine's Best Books of Fall 2020, Lightning Flowers was also shortlisted for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Prize from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, received a starred Kirkus review, and was featured in People Magazine, on NPR's Fresh Air, and on the goop podcast. Standefer was a 2017 Marion Weber Healing Arts Fellow at the Mesa Refuge and a 2018 Logan Nonfiction Fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good. Her work appeared in The Best American Essays 2016 and won the 2015 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction. Standefer earned her MFA at the University of Arizona in Creative Nonfiction. She lives on a piñon- and juniper-studded mesa in New Mexico with her chickens.

Kelly Sundberg, MFA Faculty in Creative Nonfiction

Kelly Sundberg, MFA Faculty in Creative Nonfiction

Kelly Sundberg's memoir Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival was released by HarperCollins in June of 2018 and in paperback in June of 2019. Her essay "It Will Look Like a Sunset" was anthologized in Best American Essays 2015 and other essays have been listed as "notables" in Best American Essays 2013, 2016, and 2018. Her essays are published or forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, Guernica, The Los Angeles Review, Gulf Coast, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, and elsewhere. Other work and commentary has appeared at Good Housekeeping, Glamour, and Psychology Today, among others. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from West Virginia University, a PhD in Creative Writing and English Studies from Ohio University and has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, A Room of Her Own Foundation, Dickinson House, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor, MFA Faculty in Poetry

Tess Taylor is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Misremembered World, selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship, and The Forage House, called “stunning” by The San Francisco ChronicleWork & Days was named one of The New York Times best books of poetry of 2016.  In spring 2020 she published two books of poems. Last West was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art as a part of the Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures exhibition; Rift Zone, from Red Hen Press, was hailed as “brilliant” in the LA Times and named one of the best books of 2020 by The Boston Globe. Taylor has served as on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered for over a decade. 

Naomi Williams

Naomi J. Williams, MFA Faculty in Fiction

Naomi J. Williams is the author of Landfalls, long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous venues, including One Story, A Public Space, Ninth Letter, Lit Hub, The Rumpus, and the Brevity blog. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories honorable mention, Sustainable Arts Foundation grant, and residencies with Hedgebrook, Djerassi, Willapa Bay, and Storyknife. She lives in Sacramento and is working on a novel about the Japanese poet Yosano Akiko.

Visiting Faculty

Douglas Manuel

Douglas Manuel, Visiting Faculty in Creative Writing

Douglas Manuel received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and an 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 served as the Poetry Editor for Gold Line Press as well as one of the Managing Editors of Ricochet Editions. His poems are featured on Poetry Foundation's website and have appeared or are forthcoming in Zyzzyva, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, The Los Angeles Review, Superstition Review, Rhino, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, New Orleans Review, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. His first full length collection of poems, Testify (Red Hen Press, 2017), won an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for poetry. In 2018, he traveled to Egypt and Eritrea with The University of Iowa's International Writing Program to teach poetry. In 2020, he received the Dana Gioia Poetry Award and a fellowship from the Borchard Foundation Center on Literary Arts to travel to San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico to write.

Derek Palacio, Ashland MFA Fiction Faculty

Derek Palacio, Visiting Faculty in Fiction

Derek Palacio is the author of the novella How to Shake the Other Man and the novel The Mortifications. He is a faculty member of the creative writing program at UNC Greensboro.

Vanessa Angelica Villarreal

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, Visiting Faculty in Poetry

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal was born in the Rio Grande Valley to Mexican immigrants. She is the author of the 2019 Whiting Award winning collection Beast Meridian (Noemi Press, Akrilica Series, 2017), a 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award finalist, and winner of the John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Paris Review, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, the Rumpus, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Buzzfeed Reader, and Poetry Magazine, where her poem “f = [(root) (future)]” was honored with the 2019 Friends of Literature Prize. She is a recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo and Jack Jones Literary Arts, and is a doctoral candidate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she is raising her son with the help of a loyal dog.

Special Guests

Eileen O’Leary

Eileen O’Leary, Visiting Alumni

Eileen attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for fiction and finished her MFA in '19 at Ashland University. In between, she won a Tennessee Williams playwriting scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her screenplay, My Eye on You, won second-rounder finalist in comedy at the Austin film festival. Her plays won three Best New Play awards, the Riverwalk Theatre Black Box award, stagings on both coasts and membership in the Dramatists Guild. She has produced and directed as well as taught in outreach programs. She’s given lectures on Rathcroghan, Ireland, where her father was born, and on Joyce's Ulysses, where her love of reading was born.

Amy Zaranek

Amy Zaranek

Amy Zaranek is an award-winning writer and the managing editor of The Black Fork Review. Her writing has appeared in Yemassee JournalmatchbookStymie Magazine, and elsewhere, and her essays have been anthologized in collections such as OUR BEST WAR STORIES and TALES FROM SIX FEET APART. She also serves as the nonfiction and prose poetry editor for Howling Mad Review and volunteers as a mentor for the Veterans Writing Project.