Visiting Writers

2016 Visiting Writers

The Ashland University MFA Program has welcomed a long list of talented writers since its inception. Here are this year's visiting writers:

Steve Almond, Visiting Writer in Fiction

Steve Almond, Visiting Writer in Fiction

Steve Almond is the author of eight books of fiction and non-fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers “Candyfreak” and “Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto.” His short stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories and Best American Mystery Stories. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and elsewhere.

Gretel Ehrlich, Visiting Writer in Creative Nonfiction

Gretel Ehrlich, Visiting Writer in Creative Nonfiction

Gretel Ehrlich is the author of numerous books of nonfiction, as well as a novel, and two volumes of poetry.  Her first book, The Solace of Open Spaces (Viking, 1984) was awarded the Harold D. Vurcell Award for Distinguished Prose by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ehrlich has since been awarded the 2010 PEN Thoreau Award, a Bellagio Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, grants for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, and two Expedition Council Grants from the National Geographic Society. Her extensive travel in the Arctic has produced several books including This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland and Empire of Ice. In 1991 Ehrlich was struck by lightning and writes about this experience in A Match to the Heart. Her most recent publication, Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami, won the Kirkus Best Book of the Year Award for 2013. Her writing often appears in anthologies such as The Nature Reader, and has also been published in a wide range of major publications including Harpers, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Life, National Geographic, and many others. 

J Allyn Rosser, Visiting Writer in Poetry

J. Allyn Rosser, Visiting Writer in Poetry

J. Allyn Rosser’s fourth book, Mimi’s Trapeze, appeared in 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh Press.  Her previous collection of poems, Foiled Again, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize in 2007.  Her first collection, Bright Moves, was selected by Charles Simic for the Morse Poetry Prize, and her second, Misery Prefigured, won the Crab Orchard Award and was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2001.  She has received numerous awards for her work, among them the Peter I.B. Lavan Award for Younger Poets from the Academy of American Poets, a Pushcart Prize, the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize and the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ohio State Arts Council.  Her poems have appeared in such journals as Poetry, Paris Review, The Georgia Review, The Atlantic, The Smithsonian Magazine, Slate, and in four editions of Best American Poetry.  Rosser teaches at Ohio University, where she edits New Ohio Review.

Additional 2016 Guests 

Grace Curtis, Ashland MFA Poetry alumni, visiting writer

Grace Curtis, Visiting Writer in Poetry

Grace Curtis’ book, The Shape of a Box, was published in 2014 by Dos Madres Press. Her chapbook, The Surly Bonds of Earth, was selected by Stephen Dunn as the 2010 winner of the Lettre Sauvage chapbook contest and was nominated for a Pushcart Award. Her prose and poetry can be found in such journals at Sou-wester, The Baltimore ReviewWaccamaw Literary Journal, and others.  Grace is a 2010 graduate of the Ashland MFA Program. Learn more at

Lolita Hernandez, MFA Visiting Writer in Fiction

Lolita Hernandez, Visiting Editor in Fiction

Lolita Hernandez is the author of two collections of short stories: Making Callaloo in Detroit, a 2015 Michigan Notable Book, and Autopsy of an Engine and Other Stories from the Cadillac Plant, winner of a 2005 PEN Beyond Margins Award. She is also a 2012 Kresge Fellow. After over thirty three years as a UAW member at General Motors, she now teaches in the Creative writing Department of the University of Michigan Residential College.
Kate Hopper

Kate Hopper, Visiting Editor 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 and Poets & Writers and River Teeth. She teaches online, in Ashland University’s Low-residency MFA program, and at the Loft Literary Center. For more information about her work

Rosa Lane, MFA Visiting Editor Poetry

Rosa Lane, Visiting Editor in Poetry

Rosa Lane is the author of Tiller North, winner of the Sixteen Rivers Press 2014 Submissions Competition in Poetry (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Roots and Reckonings (Granite Press, East, 1980). Lane earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and her PhD from University of California, Berkeley. Her work has won several awards among which include first place for The 38th New Millennium Awards for Poetry, first place for The Briar Cliff Review 2014 18th Annual Poetry Contest, and Honorable Mention for The 2014 Patricia Dobler Poetry Award. Lane’s poems have appeared in The Briar Cliff Review, The California Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, New Millennium Writings 2015 Anthology, New South, Ploughshares, Poetry Now, and Verse Daily. Lane is a native of coastal Maine steeped in familial and ancestral roots of lobster fishing who transplanted to the San Francisco Bay Area where she resides with her partner, writes and communes in various worlds of poetry, and works as an architect dividing her time between coastal Maine and the Bay Area.

M.L. Liebler

M. L. Liebler

M.L. Liebler is the author of 13 books including the award-winning Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream which won both The Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence and The American Indie Book Award for 2009.

Dana Norris, Ashland MFA Presenter

Dana Norris, Visiting Writer in Nonfiction

Dana Norris is the founder of Story Club, a nonfiction storytelling show in held ClevelandChicagoBostonMinneapolis, and Belgrade. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Story Club Magazine  and currently writes for Role/Reboot and Cleveland Scene. Her work has appeared in/on McSweeney's Internet Tendency,  The Rumpus, Tampa Review, WCPN Cleveland and WBEZ Chicago, among many others. You may view her upcoming performance schedule at

Jan Shoemaker, MFA Alumni Presenter

Jan Shoemaker, Visiting Writer in Nonfiction

Jan Shoemaker's essays have been featured on public radio, have been anthologized, and have appeared in many magazines and journals, including River Teeth, Sufi Journal, The Sun, Colorado Review, Pinch, Fourth Genre, Upstreet, and Under the Sun. She has an MFA from Ashland University and she writes and teaches in Michigan.

Previous Visiting Writers

Jennifer Atkinson | Kim Barnes | Mira Bartok | Marilyn Chin | Jim Daniels | J.D. Dolan | Brian Doyle | Andre Dubus III | Rhina Espaillat | Thomas French | Alice Fulton | Linda Gregerson | Patricia Hampl | Patricia Henley | Aurora Harris | William Heyen | Garrett Hongo | Kristin Iverson | Richard Jackson | Laura Kasischke | Judith Kitchen | William Kittredge | Thomas Larson | M.L. Liebler | Phillip Lopate | Debra Marquart | Lee Martin | Brenda Miller | Celeste Ng | Kathleen Norris | Alicia Ostriker | Eric Pankey | Leslie Reese | David St. John | Scott Russell Sanders | Enid Shomer | Floyd Skloot | Patricia Smith | Cheryl Strayed | Natasha Trethewey | Rosanna Warren | C.K. Williams | David Wojahn | Tobias Wolff | Al Young | Kevin Young