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June 2015

Life of a Writer: News & Events

June 2015


Barry Drudge (F) has written a number of songs that he is performing with the band Subterfuge. This year they’ve opened for a number of recording acts including: The Bullet Boys, Kip Winger, Royal Bliss, Eve to Adam, and Slaughter. In July and August, they will open for Puddle of Mudd and Like a Storm. They are currently in the studio laying tracks for an upcoming EP. He and his wife, Drema (F ‘13), read original works at Timbercrest Retirement Community on June 10.

Holly Gleason (CNF) had the cover stories for both the May and June East Nashvillian and the May 21 and June 8 issues of The Contributor. She profiled The Voice alum Sarah Potenza, Grammy-winner Shelby Lynne, and superstar Taylor Swift, respectively.

Jeffrey Fischer-Smith’s (PW) short play Reservations will be included in the 2015 Short + Sweet Theatre Manila Festival in September at Samsung Hall in Taguig City, Metro Manila in The Philippines. This will be the tenth production of Reservations, the fourth production in a Short + Sweet Festival, and the fourth one outside the USA.

Lisa Veronica McShane (W4CYA) delivered a lecture on world building at a SCBWI sponsored event near Annapolis, Maryland. Her novel Extension was recently rereleased, and she continues to work as an adjunct faculty member at Anne Arundel Community College teaching composition.

In recent news, Atul N. Rao (SW) has completed his work on NBC Sprout’s Nina’s World, which airs in September, and features the voices of Rita Moreno and Mandy Patinkin. His newest freelance assignment is with a Saudi Arabian company called Alwasaet, where Atul is writing 25 short animated segments about science, technology, health, and critical thinking, called Ask Feras, targeting high school students in the Middle East. On his television development slate, Atul is a consulting producer on a new sketch comedy pilot called The Room, featuring writers and performers from the hit 90s show Mad TV. Atul’s development phase on the sitcom El Tabador with Teletoon has entered script stage, and animation companies are bidding on the project.

Emily Vander Ark (CNF) and Anna Haynes (W4C ‘14) would like to share that submissions are open at Forest for the Trees, a journal for teen writing. Anyone ages 13-18 can submit poetry, fiction, or CNF to the “Leaves” section, and adult writers may submit young adult writing to the “Branches” section. The journal also accepts submissions of visual art for consideration for the front cover. Please share this with any young writers you know! For more information, visit

Kiietti L. Walker-Parker (F/P) received an honorable mention for the James Woodall Award Competition for her pedagogical essay “See Kiietti Run! Writing with Clarity in William Zinsser’s On Writing Well” at the 2015 annual conference of The Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) held at the University of South Alabama.

She also hosted Alabama A&M University’s 21st Books and Coffee series featuring three events in which she collaborated and contributed with students and fellow faculty: “What Matters? Are We What We See: Projections: From Cooley High to A Different World to Reality TV (Love & Hip Hop)” which highlighted Charles Blow’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, No More Drama by Sil Lai Abrams, and The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin; “What Can Come Out of Nothingness? Advocating Realness, Rejecting Façades, and Refusing Assimilation in Life After Cooley High & Good Times: I Ain’t Gonna Rhyme by Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee and Cooley High, a film by Eric Monte;” and Reverend Dr. Robert White’s “What Matters? Projections: Are We What We See or What We Know? Using African American Film and Literature as a Knowledge Source for Building Truth Claims,” using discussions and references not limited to Frederick Douglass’ The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, “The Black Mother,” an essay by W.E.B. DuBois, The New Negro, an anthology of African American voices edited by Alain Locke, and critiques of films Boyz N the Hood and Imitation of Life.

Faculty and Staff

Dianne Aprile entered the world of first-time grandmotherhood on May 11, with the birth of Killahaani (Quechua for “moon spirit”) Shapero-Serna. Killahaani currently resides in a Seattle apartment with her parents, Josh and Angelica, conveniently located a few miles from her grandparents’ house. The new family departs for Ann Arbor in mid-August.

Edie Hemingway taught two workshops at the West Virginia Writers Conference held at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, West Virginia, on June 12, 13, and 14.

Roy Hoffman’s “Families In Fiction,” short reviews of four novels, appeared in the New York Times Book Review on June 5, 2015, This past spring, April 23, in Little Rock, Roy was a guest speaker, talking about the writing life as well as his novel Come Landfall at Opening Doors for Literacy, a fundraiser for Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, sponsored by the Little Rock alumnae of Kappa Kappa Gamma. On July 18, at the Fairhope campus of University of South Alabama, Roy is scheduled to give a cross-genre workshop at the Alabama Writers’ Conclave on the topic, “Home Sweet Home: Writing About Place.”

Lesléa Newman had two personal essays recently published. “Like Mother, Like Daughter” appeared in Full Grown People ( and “My Mother Always Told Me Not to Cry” appeared in Dame Magazine ( In addition, two poems from her new poetry collection, I Carry My Mother, appeared on Solace in a Book: “My Mother Has My Heart” and “Nearby” ( The title poem of her collection, “I Carry My Mother,” was recently featured on the website Autumn Sky Poetry Daily ( And finally, Dr. Jill Biden quoted from Lesléa’s children’s book, Heather Has Two Mommies, in a speech she gave at the Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner (

Jeanie Thompson’s poetry collection The Myth of Water: Poems from the Life of Helen Keller is forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press in spring 2016. She has poems from the collection currently in several publications, including Crab Orchard Review (Vo. 20, No. 1), featuring winners from its annual literary prize series. Jeanie’s “Coming through Fire” was one of two finalists in COR’s Richard Peterson Poetry Prize competition. She also has poems in Thirty Three, an anniversary anthology celebrating thirty three years of Negative Capability Press, and in The Louisville Review, Spring 2015. Jeanie’s poem “To Lesbos,” first published in Porch magazine, is included in In like Company: The Salt River Review & Porch Anthology edited by James Cervantes and published by Mad-Hat Press (Ashville, NC). As director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, Jeanie has co-established the inaugural Alabama Writers Hall of Fame with the Alabama Center for the Book. On June 8, at a gala dinner at the University of Alabama, twelve Alabama writers were inducted, including Spalding founder director Sena Jeter Naslund. See:

Sam Zalutsky makes his big screen debut in David Thorpe’s film Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary about “finding your true voice.” Sam not only appears in the film but also assisted behind the camera for several shoots. Do I Sound Gay? begins its theatrical release on July 10 in NYC. You can find additional screening options here:!festival-screenings/c1pv8


Cynthia Rausch Allar (P ‘04) has had two poems from her creative thesis accepted for publication by Two Hawks Quarterly: “Kiss” and “Clandestine.” She and wife Frances make a habit of attending readings of poets who have appeared in “Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century” in nearby La Canada, CA. Unfortunately, they missed hearing Debra Kang Dean reading there recently, due to flu. They also joined the crew of SoCal Spalding alums and poetry readers to hear Spalding’s own Karen Mann read from her new book, The Woman of La Mancha, thanks to hostess Julie Brickman.

Jennifer Anthony’s (W4CYA ‘05) short story ”A Date with Fortune” was accepted for the publication in the Summer 2015 Issue of The First

Priscilla Atkins (P ‘08) collection The Café of Our Departure, part of the Sibling Rivalry Press family of publications, has been selected by the Library of Congress rare books librarian for housing in their Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Other news includes the publication of three poems in the Spring 2015 issue of Fourth River: “Crumbs,” “A Day Like August in Seattle,” and “Our Father, Founder of Nations.”

Tandem Light Press, the publisher for Linda Cruise (F ‘08), plans to publish two more of Linda’s children’s picture books, following her first picture book, Around the World from A to Z, hitting bookshelves later this year. One of the new titles is nonfiction and the other is fiction. For updates, visit or

Deborah Begel’s (CNF/PW ‘06) film, Four Stories About Water, is now available on the web, part of an online film festival, “Green Unplugged: witnessing Global Consciousness with documentaries and films from storytellers around the world,” at A U.S. production, it appears under the category “Food, Water & Livelihood” on page 2. The link is: Deborah also produced three short videos this spring in which Northern New Mexico College students talked about how the “Summer Bridge” program helped them become successful college students and writers. Each student also reads an excerpt from his or her poem or essay published in the chap book Begel edited, Crossings: Writing from El Puente. They may be viewed at: El Puente @Northern: Turtle’s Story (, El Puente @Northern: Ross’s Story (, and El Puente @Northern: Josh’s Story (

Beatrice Bowles (W4CYA ‘03) is now a voting member of the Grammy’s Recording Academy. She has written and recorded her fifth collection of world myths and fairytales with a common theme. In The Girl Who Said NO! the theme is “witty ways to defeat a bully.” Her four last recordings can be downloaded from iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and Spotify. All feature dazzling musical settings by Louisville composer, Sara Buchanan MacLean. Great for the car! Roadtested by her 5 grandkids! Her first recording, Children of Desire, a collection of creation stories is available from New Dimensions Radio. Joseph Campbell served as her advisor. Beatrice finished the YA novel, A Ring of Riddles, started at Spalding, and sent it straight to Louella Bryant, her MFA advisor!

Becky Browder (F ‘12) was a guest lecturer for a class on “Literary Politics and the Civil Rights Movement” in May, at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her topic was “How Growing Up on a Southern Cotton Mill Village Influenced My Writing.”

Nancy Jo Cegla (PW ‘07) has recently had short fiction and a poem published in the 2015 edition of the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writer’s Guild. She attended the book unveiling, reading, and signing event.

Charlotte Rains Dixon (F ‘03) has signed with literary agent Erin Niumata of Folio Literary, who will represent her novel The Bonne Chance Bakery and all future work.

Kristin Doherty’s (F ‘13) short story “In Her Dreams” was published in the May edition of Literary Mama.

Drema Drudge (F ‘13) has a short story, “Hunger Pangs,” in the inaugural issue of Under the Fable, a UK-based literary magazine, which debuted May 31. In addition, she and her husband, Barry Drudge (F ‘19) both read original work and sang at Timbercrest Retirement Community in North Manchester, Indiana, in June.

Carolyn Flynn (F/CNF ‘12) recently delivered a TEDxABQ Women talk to a sellout audience of 400 on the power of narrative to change your path. In her talk, “Tell Better Stories, Live a Better Life,” she reframed the writer’s familiar, daunting statistic—a business with a 95 percent rejection rate—and said that to be a creative soul in a culture that does not value women or art is to be nothing short of a superhero. “Women must take a cue from Joseph Campbell and see themselves as the heroes of their own lives,” she said, and launched into a retelling of Princess Leia’s story. The produced video of the TED talk will be up in a few weeks, and the livestreamed link is up on her Facebook page at Carolyn hosted a Literary Shorts evening at Albuquerque’s independent bookstore, Bookworks, featuring prize-winning readings of her latest published work, including “Pretend,” winner of the 2014 Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction, as well as a tribute to Rick Bass, reading from his work. Find out more at

Karen George (F ‘09) had poems published in the journals Lime Hawk, and Kentucky Review, along with a video reading she created with some of her photography: She also had poems published in the following anthologies: Thirty Days, The Best of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project’s First Year and Joys of the Table, An Anthology of Culinary Verse. She was honored to read from her poetry collection, Swim Your Way Back (Dos Madres Press), along with other alums at the Spalding 2015 Homecoming Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni.

Chris Helvey’s (F ‘06) short story “Rogue Wind” was published in the Spring 2015 issue of Coal City Review.

René R (Ketterer) Irvine (SW/PW ‘07) contributed a guest editorial entitled “Live Deliberately” to the May 2015 edition of The Catholic Moment, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.

Alice-Catherine Jennings’s (P ‘14) two poems, “Passages” and “Accordion Lessons,” were translated into Slovakian by Dušan Šuster and published in Encyklopédia Poznania. (

Jill Kelly Koren (P/CNF ‘08) is celebrating the release of her new collection of poetry, The Work of the Body, published by Dos Madres, a small, independent press based in Cincinnati. A grant from the Indiana Arts Commission supported the development of the manuscript.

Arwen Mitchell (PW/SW/F ‘12) recently attended Great Plains Theatre Conference as one of their PlayLabs playwrights, which included a staged reading of her play (Style is) The Answer to Everything. Through GPTC and writer Beaufield Berry, Arwen won the Wild Dreamer Award for an emerging female playwright, which includes a grant to attend the Wild Dreamer Retreat with featured playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer. Her short play A Giant Leap is showing in July in New York City through Equity Library Theatre/Piney Fork Press, and another short play, The Birds and the Bees, will be produced in August through the Kankakee Valley Theatre Association.

Kelly Morris’ (F ‘13) short story “Dream Club” was chosen by Aimee Bender as the winner of the 2015 William Richey short fiction contest hosted by Yemassee Journal. The story will appear in the upcoming Fall issue.

In the same week that Anna C. Morrison (W4CYA ‘08) signed a contract for a new children’s picture book (Squirrel Superhighway, Guardian Angel Publishing), she learned that Green Gooey Goop, another of her children’s picture books, earned Honorable Mention at the 2015 Green Book Festival in New York. Look for Squirrel Superhighway sometime in the fall/winter of 2015/2016.

Loreen Niewenhuis (F ‘07) is touring with the final installment in her Great Lakes Trilogy: A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure—exploring the islands of the Great Lakes. The book was pre-released to select indie bookstores in May, and she had many events at these venues. The book is now available everywhere books are sold. Her book tour continues through the fall. Learn more about her and her Great Lakes Adventures at

Mary Popham (F ‘03) read at the Jump-Start for Spring/Summer 2015 season at the Local Speed Gallery; conducted a workshop in April for Shape & Flow Writing Services: “Entering Through the Kitchen: Building Character and Setting the Scene”; presented a talk in March: “Before and After Writing an Historical Novel: Research and Marketing” for the Kentucky Women’s Book Festival; wrote a remembrance of Daymon Morgan for the February issue of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth newsletter; and wrote an article for the January “Chapter News,” in Patriot Express, Kentucky’s Daughters of the Revolution newsletter.

Michele Ruby (F/P ‘05) was chosen by Kyle Minor as the winner of the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction. Her story “Alterations” will appear in the fall 2015 issue. Her short story “Order” is online in the current issue of Shenandoah (vol. 64, no. 2). She is newly a fiction editor at Best New Writing. She was delighted to attend Spalding’s homecoming and to participate in the partial novel workshop.

Janet Schneider (F ‘13) graduated from Spalding with a goal to publish all four short stories contained in her thesis. This month she’s accomplished her goal. The last of the four stories to be published “Symbiosis,” appears in the most recent issue of South85 Journal ( On a different note, Janet entered Sixfold Magazine’s short story submission contest ( It’s a completely writer-voted journal. Her story “Las Meninas: The Alchemy of a Life” placed 13th out of 356, which warrants publication in the magazine. She was tickled to see fellow Spalding graduate Lora Hilty’s (F ‘12) story place 7th in the same contest (Janet participated in her story discussion group).

Nicholas A. B. Siegel (F ‘13) was a contributing writer to the guidebook Wander Louisville, which has been published by Holland Brown Books.

Barbara Sabol’s (P ‘10) poetry was displayed in a collaborative visual art exhibit at the Box Gallery in Akron, Ohio, where she gave a series of readings. Barbara also featured at Poetry Palooza in Madison, Indiana, and at the Barberton (OH) Fine Arts Gallery. Her haiku have been published in Chrysanthemum and Modern Haiku (forthcoming); her poetry also appeared in Common Threads, published by the Ohio Poetry Association. Barbara continues to host the Third Thursday Poetry reading program and to publish book reviews/poet interviews on the blog, Poetry Matters.

Kathleen Thompson (F/P ‘03) was privileged to receive the posthumous award for the family of Helen Norris Bell at Bell’s induction into Alabama’s Literary Hall of Fame on June 8 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Helen was the subject of Kathleen’s ECE; Kathleen also acquired Bell’s remaining papers and deposited them into the Hoole Library archives at the University of Alabama. Among this inaugural and stellar class inducted into Alabama’s Literary Hall of Fame was Sena Jeter Naslund.


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