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Life of a Writer: Back to School Edition



Theresa Anne Carey’s (SW) sci-fi/horror screenplay SWINE HEART is a Semifinalist in the Screencraft Horror Screenplay Competition. This is a script she originally wrote several years ago on a dare from her kids, who argued she could never write horror. She perfected this script under the guidance of mentors Larry Brenner and Charlie Schulman, and received great notes and encouragement from her Spalding Remote Workshop writing classmates/alumni/friends.

In addition, her creative thesis screenplay MESTENGO, written under the tutelage of mentor Sam Zalutsky and polished under mentor Larry Brenner, is an Official Selection in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. KIDS FIRST! makes Official Selections available to more than 50 affiliates including established film festivals, museums, film societies, producers, studios and other similar venues. The Judges gave MESTENGO 5 out of 5 stars, commenting it is a “wonderful story, beautifully told”.

Elana Gartner’s (PW) play Before Lesbians received a reading at Good Luck Macbeth in Reno, NV. It streamed from August 15-22. An interview with her remains up about the script. Elana was pleased to be working with incoming PW MFA student Sandra Neace. More information about Before Lesbians can be found at her website.

Laura Johnsrude’s (Professional Writing) piece “Pointing at the Produce: A Pandemic Story” was recently published in the newsletter of the St. Matthews Farmers Market.

Jasmine Lomax (P ‘21) is continuing to expand in the world of intimacy coaching as a sex positive blogger! She was interviewed by Robert Gibson (PassionPoet) of The Wett Spot Podcast, a safe space for erotic literature and sexual vulnerability to thrive. The interview was released on Sunday, August 30th; you can listen here to learn more, and you can find Jasmine’s blog, at The Sterile Slut. Jasmine has also launched a sister site to her sex positivity blog, Real Gods Require Blood, in order to explore esoteric spirituality. The focus involves topics like divine femininity, divination, and astrology, and she’ll talk about anything from niche internet trends to Kurt Cobain.

Huntress Thompson (CNF) is currently working on a long form piece titled “Breonna, This Is Taking Too Damn Long But We’re Doing Everything We Can!” after a long spring and summer demanding #JusticeForBreonna in Downtown Louisville.

“There’s something distinctly Orwellian about Metro Council passing Breonna’s Law to end no-knock raids but her murderers still got their freedom and their lives,” was her furious response to the question about her involvement.” Thompson continued after stubbing out her cigarette with “Even if Breonna were doing something illegal, did she deserve to die in a raid that reeks of Gestapo scare tactics when those [redacted] bust down her door at one in the morning?”

Dana VanderLugt’s (W4CYA) creative nonfiction essay, “On Loop,” a piece about grief, grace, and her rollerskating grandmother, appears in the Spring (released in September, due to Pandemic Time) issue of Relief: A Journal of Art & Faith. Dana also published a guest blog on The Twelve in August. You can find her on Twitter @danavanderlugt, Instagram @dana_vanderlugt, and


Alicia Anthony, (F’16) recently released the third book in her thrilling Blood Secrets psychic suspense series, INHERENT FATE. A series about the cost of truth and the price we pay for love, this installment follows Liv and Ridge on a quest for a future free from an evil that always seems one step ahead. After all, how much would you risk to come home again?

Jerriod Avant (P ’13) was recently the Summer 2020 guest editor for Poem-a-Day. You can read an interview with Jerriod about the experience.

Deborah Begel (CNF/PW ’06) produced an eight-part series of short radio features called “A Song to Remember” with students in her Advanced Composition Class at the Institute of American Indian Arts this spring. They were broadcast on Santa Fe public radio station KSFR-FM’s morning show, “WakeUp Call,” and on the noontime News Show in July. They also ran on the Taos public radio station KCEI three times. Students wrote essays about a song that was meaningful in their lives. Then, after coronavirus sent them to their far-flung homes, Begel edited the essays, directed students recording themselves on cell phones and edited the narration tracks. Jane Pipik, who worked as an audio engineer and sound designer at WGBH-FM in Boston for 35 years, mixed each song with the narration tracks in varied and inventive ways, bringing the magic to the project. To listen, go to A Song to Remember.

Connor Bjotvedt‘s (P’18) creative thesis, A Contemporary Portrait of the Southwest, was accepted for publication by Unsolicited Press (Portland, OR) and will be available in stores on March 2, 2021. Preorders are live as of July 15. In personal news, he got married and moved to a new city, where he teaches English and Creative Writing at an Alternative Charter School.

Kristin Brace’s (F’12) short story “Lavender” appeared in Issue 46 of Talking River, and her short story “New Country” (written during her time at Spalding) is online at Cordella Magazine. In addition, Kristin was delighted to learn that two of her poems placed in the Poetry Society of Michigan’s 2020 contest. “All Night the Rain” came in 2nd for the Margo LaGatutta Memorial Award while “Poem in Which the Poem Works Very Hard to Identify Itself” received 1st place in the Barbara Sykes Memorial Humor Poem category. All winning poems will appear in the 2020 Contest Issue of Peninsula Poets.

Sandra Evans Falconer (P’05) is happy to announce the release of her newest book of poetry, The Lucky Spot Dance, by Last Gypsy Press. The book, almost 18 years in the making, illuminates the story of her relationship with her late brother Steven, through the antics of early childhood until his harrowing descent into alcoholism and his death at the age of 44 in 1996. Sandra hopes to do public readings beginning in the winter of 2021. In the meantime, please contact her through email, Evansfalconer at aol dot com. Stay safe everyone and keep writing!!!!!

Robert X. Golphin (SW’13) wrote, directed, produced, and stars in the award-winning film Essential. Officially selected by 14 U.S. and international film festivals/showcases, the short drama garnered him Best Actor and Best Director honors. Filmed remotely amid social distancing and quarantine, Essential centers on a family forced to navigate an uncertain future when domestic and global events compound. nominated the project for “Short of the Day” and reviewed it.

Mark Madigan (P ’17) recently published a poem, “As Kids Back Home,” in Panoply, a literary zine.

Michael Malone (CNF’10) continues as director of Editorial Services at the University of Miami, generating a wide array of features for News@TheU, the daily electronic newsletter that celebrates the college’s involvement in COVID-19 research and leadership in a time of crisis. Stories include a special feature on Students Fueling Disaster Relief in the Bahamas, The Emotional Potency of Poetry, and an expose on the new Housing Village in Miami Magazine, among many others.

Chris Mattingly (P’10) has recently collaborated with pianist Gabe Evens and filmmaker Laurel Leonetti to create four new pieces: Epistolary Poem for Matt Hart, Hermit at the End of the World, Extra Strength Goody’s, and Monk Moon. You can see Mattingly’s collection of handmade books and hear him read other poems at his website.

Lisa McShane’s (F’16) short story, “Spun Out” (as L.V. Pires) was published in the September Quarterly Lit edition of Halfway Down the Stairs.

Brett Neithamer (SW’19) started a website with a few friends called It is a website dedicated to creating unique and uncommon videos and articles covering everything from film and television, to music and art, to sports and media. The website has a section devoted to exposing brand new artists to the world. They plan to showcase new writers or photographers, or really art of any kind. Brett would LOVE to have some Spalding friends on the site. He encourages everyone to submit whatever they would like.

Rick Neumayer’s Journeyman recently released (and sold out for now!) received a glowing review from our very own Sena Jeter Naslund, “Journeyman tells a timeless tale of youth striving to define not only itself but the world it inhabits. Who lives and who dies and why? What new and old values to reject or embrace—and at what point in the journey? A journeyman in earlier lingo was a tradesman who was no longer an apprentice but not yet a master of his trade. This honest, funny, and heartbreaking novel delivers everything a reader could wish for in the way of action, characters who are convincing and engaging, and ideas worth pondering.”–Sena Jeter Naslund Author of Ahab’s Wife, Sherlock in Love, Four Spirits, Abundance, & others. Editor, Fleur-de-Lis Press and The Louisville Review.

Bridgette Portman (PW’18) is pleased to announce that in one week she will have a reading of her play LA FEE VERTE! This play has come a long way from its very first reading with The Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco in…2010.  This reading is with Best Medicine Rep Theater Company and will be on Zoom. From Bridgette, “It’s a play about absinthe, language, poetry, addiction, and–like most of my plays–how to find meaning in a meaningless universe. Some heavy themes, but mainly it’s a comedy!” Synopsis: When France bans absinthe in 1914, struggling poet Marmion fears he will lose his only source of inspiration. He authors a petition against the ban, aided by Dennis, a suicidally depressed bartender who drinks in order to hallucinate his deceased fiancée. But Marmion’s brother Mallory, a Catholic priest with his own secret addiction, is determined to keep the ban in place. As the three men’s agendas clash, each must discover the source of his dependence on the “Green Fairy. Monday, September 14, 2020 at 4pm PST/ 7pm EST FREE — Email bridgette dot portman at or PM her for a link!

Andie Redwine-Becker (SW ’20) will be presenting her ECE entitled “POV and Dramatic Irony in Classic Disney Adaptations” at the Northeast Popular Culture Association’s annual conference. Sponsored by Southern New Hampshire University, this conference will be presented virtually October 22-24, 2020 with over 150 academic presentations. Andie’s scholarship was selected as part of the conference’s special topics on Disney Studies.

Heidi Taylor (P ’20) was asked why she didn’t contact anyone about the publication of her piece “Demands for justice for Breonna Taylor met with tear gas, pepper balls and smoke grenades” in Leo Weekly for the LOAW summer edition, she laughed, sighed, and said “My mind was elsewhere, you know?” “It was a surreal experience, having my graduate reading and getting tear gassed only a few hours apart,” she said when asked to elaborate. Taylor would also like to note that in the print version of the article, the illustration is by R. Crumb himself. “I had secured the use of the illustration for a different article from Mr. Crumb in February before Corona took hold. That article got shelved but the illustration ended up being the most cosmically accurate illustration for that First Thursday article.”


Dianne Aprile is teaching a Kirkland Arts Center (KAC) three-hour weekly workshop on Image & Text with visual artist Larry Calkins, via Zoom. Starting in October, she will also teach a weekly Zoom class on Ekphrastic Writing via KAC. Later this fall, Dianne will offer Zoom workshops through the Winslow Arts Center on Bainbridge Island, WA.

Leslie Daniels’ (Fiction/CNF) essay “The Mixer,” nominated for Best American Essays, was featured in New Ohio Review/NOR online earlier this summer. In June, Daniels taught a virtual workshop on publishing through the Corning, New York Public Library.

Debra Kang Dean (Poetry) was invited to attend two events earlier this year that were canceled as a consequence of Covid-19: the April 4th gathering of Indiana Review’s Blue Light Reading Series for generative workshops and readings; and the April 18th awards ceremony for the Bloomington Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters—she served on a panel of judges for the literature competition.

In connection with Totem: America (Tiger Bark, 2018), making the shortlist in the poetry category of the Indiana Authors Award, she was one of six poets interviewed on All IN, a radio program hosted by Matt Pelsor. An article featuring authors from Bloomington shortlisted for the various awards is forthcoming in her local newspaper.

Her poems appear in The World I Leave You: Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit (Orison, 2020) and They Rise Like a Wave: Asian American Women Poet (Blue Oak, forthcoming this winter).

Kathleen Driskell, School of Writing Chair, was a featured guest of TMYS’s “Poetry: Its Engine and Process. Prof. Kathleen Driskell in conversation with Shelly Bhoil”. Kathleen also was interviewed by Spalding MFA alum Katerina Stoykova for her radio show: Accents.

Spalding University recently joined the University Press of Kentucky consortium and Kathleen was appointed to serve on UPKY’s editorial board and she continues her leadership role as Chair of the Board of AWP.

Pete Duval (Fiction) has been working on a number of things as he begins teaching online this semester. He’s been going through the initial copy edits to his collection The Deposition, which will be published next spring. He’s writing an introductory essay for a photo book on the Philadelphia neighborhood of Olde Kensington by a photographer friend. He just today finished an application for a sabbatical next year to work on a novel about, among other things, how miracles attributed to potential saints are investigated. This morning he read and gave feedback on the draft of a prologue by a novelist friend. Tonight, he plans to begin the novel Mrs. Bridge by Ethan S. Connell. In the car and on walks he’ll be listening to James Nestor’s new nonfiction book Breath. (Nestor is the author of an amazing book called Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves.)

Lynnell Edwards (Associate Program Director) has been busy with virtual readings for her new collection of documentary poetry, This Great Green Valley, released May 1. She read with the “Further Notice” series in conversation with Kiki Petrosino, and will be featured in upcoming events with Louisville-based series InKY and Flying Out Loud. Her“Pandemic Dispatch” from a cemetery on her father’s farm in Kentucky was published in Another Chicago Magazine earlier this summer.

Lamar Giles (W4CYA) has been busy preparing for the release of his middle-grade fantasy novel The Last Mirror on the Left, a sequel to his acclaimed middle-grade debut The Last Last-Day-of-Summer. The new book will be out on 10/20/2020 and he’s already hard at work on book 3 (working title: The Last Chance for Logan County).

Rachel Harper (Fiction) has sold her third novel, The Other Mother, to Counterpoint Press at auction. The novel tells the story of a young, gifted pianist searching for answers about his late famous father—only to be confronted by the layers of secrets and lies constructed by his family in order to protect him from the truth of his origin story, and the other mother he never knew he had, while offering a nuanced exploration of race, class, queerness, and the complicated love between parents and children. It will be published in Spring 2022.

Additionally, Rachel served as a mentor for PEN America’s Emerging Voices Fellowship program, which provides underrepresented and marginalized writers with the support and guidance needed to launch a professional literary career. Rachel was interviewed on the PEN America Emerging Voices Podcast, and introduced her mentee for her final reading as part of the culminating event, hosted by UCLA and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Leah Henderson (’11, W4CYA faculty) celebrated the release of her middle grade novel The Magic In Changing Your Stars with a virtual book launch panel entitled “Black Book Joy for Middle Grade” through Books of Wonder Bookstore. She also recently revealed the cover of her upcoming picture book Together We March due out January 19, 2021 with Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

Roy Hoffman (Fiction/CNF) in August, appeared on a virtual panel, archived on Facebook, with two other authors organized by the New York Writers Workshop, the topic being novelists who’ve worked as journalists. The moderator was the novelist-journalist Charles Salzberg, who has visited our writing program as a guest lecturer. During the month, Roy gave a guest sermon at a zoom Sabbath service at his Temple in Mobile, a talk he is further developing into a personal travel essay about his experience visiting the Great Synagogue of Budapest and its memorial garden to victims of the Holocaust.

Jason Kyle Howard (CNF & PW Faculty) recently served on the nonfiction faculty at the 2020 Appalachian Writers’ Workshop, and he will appear alongside Mallory Cash, Wiley Cash, Silas House and Lee Smith at the virtual Southern Festival of Books in October to discuss the anthology Step Into the Circle. He is at work revising a memoir.

Fenton Johnson (Fiction/Creative nonfiction faculty) As a member of the exclusive if unenviable club of authors who brought out books in March 2020 precisely as promotion opportunities shut down, Fenton has been promoting his latest book At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life (W.W. Norton) through Zoom meetings and other platforms. Like a true solitary, he desperately misses the in-person contact of readings and lectures, but cheerfully appreciates the capacity of online platforms to reach people in distant, sometimes underserved places. Between Zoom meetings and participation in the 2020 election, he’s been adapting his award-winning memoir Geography of the Heart to an opera libretto, a leap into the void that is testing the limits of his patience and sanity. Look for him in conversation with our own beloved Dianne Aprile at Seattle Town Hall, Sunday, November 9, 2 pm PST.

Erin Keane (Professional Writing and Poetry) is excited to announce the publication of The Louisville Anthology, part of the Belt Publishing City Anthology Series, on September 21. Keane is the editor of this anthology of poems and essays about and set in Louisville, for which she also wrote the foreword. Among the contributors are SCPW faculty members Kathleen Driskell and Nancy McCabe, and MFA alumni Kimberly Garts Crum, Beth Newberry, Ashleé Clark, and David Harrity. Keane recently cycled off the board of directors of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, which will hold its 42nd conference online Sept. 10-13.

Helena Kriel’s (SW) new memoir Meditating with Rhinos will be published by S.Africa’s top publishers NB publishers at the end of October.

The Year of Facing Fire, her bestselling memoir, has been optioned by British producer Anthony Kimble of Fugitive and academy award nominated South African producer Helena Spring. Additionally, The Year of Facing Fire was chosen for the opening night discussion at the Sydney Jewish Literature Festival. And also The Year of Facing Fire and Meditating with Rhinos have been selected for the Frankfurt book fair.

Rhino, Helena’s action adventure love story, has been optioned by Los Angeles MoJo Films and South African award winning producer Helena Spring.

Helena’s essay Spiked is featured in Lockdown and The Lockdown Collection, which have recently been published. These story collections are penned by South Africa’s top writers.Both are available on Amazon.

Karen Mann (Co-founder and Administrative Director) recently participated in a science fiction class offered online by Lexington’s Carnegie Center. Karen is currently working on a climate fiction novel set in the future. The class, led by Brittany Jackson, gave Karen the needed push to start working on the manuscript again after six years of doing nothing with it. She hopes to have a first draft completed by September 15. Karen also attended the SCBWI summer conference online, which was a great experience. The conference offerings included a panel discussion ”Sticks and Stones and the Stories We Tell,” featuring SCPW faculty member Lamar Giles.

Douglas Manual (Poetry) received The Dana Gioia Poetry Award at the beginning of this year; publications forthcoming in the New Orleans Review, Pleiades, and ZYZZYVA; and most recently, received a fellowship from the Borchard Foundation Center on Literary Arts.

Charles Maynard (’13, School of Professional Writing faculty) is currently the Writing Center Director and Assistant Professor of English in the School of Liberal Studies at Spalding University. Last year he published his first novel The Way Things End. He has just finished writing and illustrating a middle-grade fantasy novel called The Chronicles of Mirabell which is about a little girl, a horned cyclops, and a monkey who go on adventures, battle monsters, and discover themselves and the world. He has also just completed work on a children’s book (which he illustrated) called Nancy Narwhal’s First Day of School which is about a narwhal who doesn’t have a tusk. In April 2021, he will be releasing Far Away Land: Adventures in the Materiosphere which is an expansion book for his Far Away Land RPG. A second novel set in the same “universe” as The Way Things End is also in the works.

Nancy McCabe’s (Fiction/Creative nonfiction) Can This Marriage Be Saved? A Memoir is now available at Amazon or from your local independent bookstore, including Carmichael’s in Louisville and the White Whale in Pittsburgh . Her book From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood is now available as an Audible Audiobook. She will be in conversation with essayist Michele Morano, discussing hermit crab essays and writing about love and childhood at Carmichael’s on September 24 and with memoirist Lori Jakiela, talking about writing and healing at the White Whale on October 15. Check the bookstores’ websites for details.

Eleanor Morse’s (Fiction) fourth novel, Margreete’s Harbor, published through St. Martin’s Press, will come into the world on April 20, 2021. The book’s description reads: “This beautiful novel—attuned to the seasons of nature, the internal dynamics of a family, and a nation torn by its contradicting ideals—reveals the largest meanings in the smallest and most secret moments of life.” Pre-orders are available on Amazon, or through the publisher, MacMillan.

Lesléa Newman (W4CYA) is thrilled to announce that her picture book, “Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed” has been selected by Julie Andrews as part of “Julie’s Library.” You can hear Julie Andrews read Lesléa’s picture book at the link above. Additionally, Lesléa has published a poem entitled “Ghazal in the Year of Corona” on Pangyrus.

Kira Obolensky (PW)

  1. Hate Mail: (With Bill Corbett); Zoom reading with Rhea Seehorn and Paul F. Tompkins, LA

  2. Forget Me Not When Far Away, serialized zoom production, Summer 2020 Echo Theater Company, LA

  3. breakfast lunch dinner, Zoom reading, Echo Theater Company, LA

  4. Four Measures, musical with David Darrow commissioned to be performed as an audio play spring 2021

  5. “The Bathroom,” short story—to be published The Brooklyn Review

Elaine Neil Orr’s (Fiction) memoir, “Stitch,” appears in the summer issue, 2020, of Still: The Journal. She is the featured author for Wonderland Book Club, Raleigh, NC, Sept. 27, 2020. In addition, in September, she will be in conversation with two authors at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC, about their new novels: Annette Clapsaddle, Even as We Breathe (UKyPress), Sept. 16, 7 pm; and Denise Heinz, The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew (Blackstone), Sept. 30, 7 pm.

In addition, this week, the Appalachian Review published Elaine’s conversation with Kentucky writer, Karen Salyer McElmurray.

ERIC SCHMIEDL’S (PW faculty, theatre performer) new play My Hemisphere, was named as a Finalist for the 2020 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Based on the stories of Eric and his wife Adaora Nzelibe Schmiedl, the play explores the remarkable parallel journeys of a 10 year old girl in Ihiala, Nigeria and a 10 year old boy in Cleveland, Ohio during the summer of 1977. Eric also recently participated in a groundbreaking theatrical community celebration in Cleveland entitled, The City Is Our Stage, an eclectic collection of drive-up, pop-up, safely-distanced outdoor performances. The sold-out event received both critical and popular acclaim.

Charlie Schulman (SW/PW) is staying busy in this time of Covid. He is the recipient of an NYU Adjunct Faculty Grant to aid the development of his two new full-length plays “MARRIED LIFE” and “THREE SIBS.” (Both plays share the same cast and will be virtually workshopped during the 20-21 school year.) Charlie’s Television Pilot “EARLYBIRDS” has the backing of a well-known Television Executive Producer and Talent Agency in Hollywood. He is also currently writing a comedic horror film called “THE ADJUNCT.” For the past few months Charlie has worked for hire on a screenplay tentatively titled “THE BASEBALL RULE.”

Maggie Smith’s (Poetry) new collection of essays and quotes, Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, will be out on October 6 (One Signal/Atria Books/Simon & Schuster). She has work forthcoming in The Southern Review, the Washington Post, the Guardian, APR, and elsewhere.

Neela Vaswani (Fiction) has a short story forthcoming in Waxwing‘s October issue. She’s been keeping busy with Zoom visits at schools around the country and NYC summer camps. Neela and Silas House’s middle grade novel, Same Sun Here, was featured in a piece about the difficulties of distance teaching (in “The Daily;” NY Times podcast). Some months ago, Neela did a bit of voice over for Sam Zalutsky’s voting rights work, and she won two Audie awards for her narration on The Only Plane in the Sky: an Oral History of 9/11 (Audiobook of the Year and Best Multi-Voiced Performance). She continues to be inspired by her time working with Kweli Journal.

Keith S. Wilson (Poetry) has spent the last month in Buffalo New York at a writing residency through Just Buffalo. Recordings of him performing poetry from his book Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love in locations throughout Buffalo will be available soon. Keith also recently released a digital chapbook called “temporary hours“, through a fellowship with Coresidency. Keith is also featured on the cover of the newest American Poetry Review magazine and he has visual poems featured in this issue.

Katy Yocom’s (Associate Director) novel Three Ways to Disappear has been long-listed for the Clara Johnson Award for Women’s Literature, one of ten long-listed books, including the winner of the Man Booker International Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Katy recently interviewed alum K.B. Carle (F ’16) about her journey to publication with an essay on Shonda Rhimes’s online magazine, On September 29, she will lead a two-hour generative virtual workshop for Louisville Literary Arts on the topic of creative self-care (a.k.a. inspiration and filling the well).

Sam Zalutsky (Screenwriting) recently directed and co-wrote an ad in support of Joe Biden called Boring is Beautiful featuring four young BIPOC comedians from across the country. You can see it on his instagram @zalutsky. Earlier this summer two of his color infrared photographs from his Meat Rack series won honorable mention in SoHo Photo’s National Competition.



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