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Life of a Writer: June 2024





Judy Harju Galliher, a fourth-semester CNF student, was recently published in Hippocampus Magazine. Her CNF friends and mentors will recognize “The Combover”; she appreciates the feedback from her first-semester workshop group and mentors Lee Martin and Erin Keane.




Dianne Aprile (CNF) has two poems, “Where We Were Going” and “Dark Circles,” appearing in the forthcoming issue of The Louisville Review (Number 94).


Kathleen Driskell's essay "Church of the Goatman," which appeared in River Teeth, has won a Pushcart Prize. Her poems will appear in the 2024 Women of Appalachia Project’s Women Speak anthology. She recently read her work at the Loyal Jones Center at Berea College. Kathleen's full-length collection of poetry, Goat-Footed Gods, is in production at Carnegie Mellon University Press and will be published in March 2025. Her poems “Blake Looking Through Trees” and “Promise” are forthcoming in The Louisville Review in the fall of 2024. She recently served as a judge for the Kentucky Poetry Society Series in February 2024 and as an MFA program consultant at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas.

Faculty member Lynnell Edwards’s new poetry collection, The Bearable Slant of Light, is now available! This sixth collection of poetry documents the gifts and burdens of mental illness as it has impacted one family. She talks about the book and reads from it in a ten-minute interview with WEKU.


Leah Henderson (W4CYA ’11) co-edited the recently released middle-grade anthology A Little Bit Super: With Small Powers Come Big Problems with fellow middle-grade author Gary D. Schmidt. Her picture book The Courage of the Little Hummingbird has been selected as a 2024 Best Children’s Book of the Year by Bank Street College, starred for outstanding merit.


Angela Jackson-Brown (F ’09) was the guest speaker for the Women’s Alliance at the Bloomington (Indiana) Unitarian Universalist Church in February. In March, she was on a panel at the 47th Appalachian Conference in Cullowhee, North Carolina. She was also a panelist at Fonseca Theatre in Indianapolis after the production of the play Blackademics. In April, she was on two panels at the MELUS Conference in Dallas. She was the keynote speaker for the Red Dragon Reading Series at SUNY Oneonta in New York. She was selected by the English undergraduate students to be the faculty speaker at the graduation ceremony at Indiana University Bloomington, where she also teaches. In May, she conducted a workshop for Women Who Write in Louisville and was a featured speaker for the Spoken and Heard: Virtual Reading Series.


Erin Keane (CNF/P ’04) made it to the Elite Eight in the March Danceness Tournament of ’00s Dance Songs with an essay on Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll.” She got her first HAD skull when her poem “When I Tell You the Taco Bell Is Haunted Now” was published by the journal, and for Salon she wrote “Taylor Swift in the Tortured Poet’s Workshop.”  


CNF and fiction faculty member Nancy McCabe’s novel The Pamela Papers: A Largely E-pistolary Story of Academic Pandemic Pandemonium won the 2024 Next Generation Indie Award for humor/comedy. It was also a finalist in the pandemic literature category. Her YA novel Vaulting Through Time was a finalist in the YA category of the Eric Hoffer Awards and the Next Generation Indie Awards, as well as the Montaigne medal. Vaulting Through Time will be released in paperback in July. She was also the featured (and only) reader at the Buffalo State Eclipse event in April, reading a poem and part of an essay for an audience of 1,000. Her recent CNF and poetry appear in ELJ, Monkeybicycle, and Evening Street Review.

Lee Martin (fiction and CNF) signed a contract for a new novel, The Evening Shades, to be published by Melville House in 2025. The Evening Shades is a sequel to his 2005 Pulitzer Prize Finalist novel, The Bright Forever.


Jeremy Paden (Translation) has recently published poems in Spanish in Poemame and En la masmedula and in English in The Cincinnati Review’s online miCRo series. He has also published the translation of a poem by Alexandra Dominquez in The Bangalore Review. Other recently published works include essays examining the career of Christina Peri Rossi, the Uruguayan poet and novelist who was awarded the Cervantes Prize in 2021; the poetry of Taiwanese doctor Kuei-Hai Tseng; and the poetry of Fangee Dupan, a Taiwanese poet who wrote in Japanese, Mandarin, and Hakka. In February, the Peruvian publishing house Santa Rabia Poetry Press published a collection of poems Paden wrote in collaboration with the Chilean poet Luis Correa-Diaz.


Maggie Smith (poetry) has a paperback memoir. You Could Make This Place Beautiful, an instant New York Times bestseller, was released on June 4 from Atria/Simon & Schuster.


On May 16, Jeanie Thompson (poetry) received the Albert B. Head Legacy Award for literary arts and arts advocacy at the Alabama State Council on the Arts’ Celebration of the Arts gala. The award recognizes Jeanie’s founding of the Alabama Writers’ Forum in 1993, development of the Writing Our Stories program for justice-involved youth in 1997, and other longstanding awards and programs, including the Harper Lee Award and the Alabama Writers’ Hall of Fame. It also recognizes her work as an Alabama poet and arts advocate. Jeanie toured Alabama recently with editors of and contributors to Old Enough: Southern Women Writers and Artists on Creativity and Aging (2024, University of Georgia Press). The anthology has Spalding tie-ins with an essay contributed by Angela Jackson-Brown (fiction) and a blurb from former poetry and creative nonfiction faculty member Molly Peacock. Cover art by photographer Carolyn Sherer features a portrait of Patricia E. Gaines, wife of former screenwriting faculty member Charles Gaines. Jeanie serves on the board of the Fairhope Center for the Writing, which sponsors a writer’s cottage downtown, a venue for writers to have a one-month residency, at no charge, in South Alabama. Writers from Alabama and elsewhere are encouraged to apply!


Katy Yocom (associate director, F ’03) visited fiction student Virginia Brown’s book club in March for their discussion of her novel Three Ways to Disappear and has other book club appearances coming up—one of which involves swimming in a quarry before discussing the book. In April, she taught a class at Kentucky Writing Workshop, where she also offered first-ten-pages critiques for participants. In addition to her Spalding work, she does developmental editing work for clients. In May, her essay “Beyond Graduation: Keeping Connections Alive for Spalding MFA Alumni” appeared in AWP’s online publication The Writer’s Notebook. She is co-director of Voice & Vision reading series at 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville; on June 20, she hosts a reading featuring Lynnell Edwards (poetry faculty), Sam Krauss (SW ’22), Sarah Ladd (CNF ’22), Amina McIntyre (PW ’09), and local picture-book author Brittany Thurman—representing all of Spalding’s genres if you count Katy as representing fiction.




Whitney Collins’s (F ’18) second collection, Ricky & Other Love Stories (Sarabande Books), released June 2024, includes 23 dark and derelict stories and features a cast of lovesick and lovelorn characters, blending elements of horror, Southern Gothic, magical realism, and comedy. Whitney’s first book, Big Bad (Sarabande, 2021) won the Mary McCathy Prize, a gold IPPY, and a Foreword INDIES bronze award.


Daniel DiStasio’s (F ’05) first published story, “Like Walking on Air,” was selected for inclusion in Pinyon’s 30th Anniversary Issue. His flash fiction piece “Dead Flowers,” developed in a generative workshop at Spalding with Robin Lippincott, appears this month in Bright Flash Literary Review. Daniel joined the Yale Writers’ Workshop again this year to participate in a generative workshop and agents’ pitch.


Drew Dunlop (SW ’21) and his wife Ashley are featured in the latest book by Patrick Kennedy (former congressman and the son of Ted Kennedy), titled Profiles in Mental Health Courage. The book profiles twelve people who are afflicted with mental health and/or addiction issues. Ashley is one of the twelve, and Drew is included as her major supporter. A love letter from Drew to Ashley is included in their chapter. The book can be found on Amazon and in major bookstores.


The Rev. Elizabeth Felicetti (CNF ’20) will have her second book, Irreverent Prayers: Talking to God When You’re Seriously Sick, published by Eerdmans on July 20. She co-authored the book with the Rev. Samantha Vincent-Alexander.


Karen George (F ’09) had a short story published in Jet Fuel Review, a poem, “Poetry: How to Calibrate Nothing’s Grace,” published in JMWW, and additional poetry published in RogueAgent, NonBinary Review, Lily Poetry Review, The Power of the Feminine “I” Anthology, and Ekphrastic Review’s The Memory Palace, an ekphrastic anthology. She participated in the Cincinnati Clifton Library’s Reading for April’s National Poetry Month, and read from her collection of short stories, How We Fracture (Minerva Rising Press) at Minerva Rising Press’s Winter Reading and the Voice & Vision Reading in May at the 21c Museum Hotel. She was awarded first place in the inaugural Kentucky Visions Short Story Contest at the Kentucky State Capitol Rotunda, where she was happy to see Gayle Hanratty (F ’06), one of the finalists.

Nathan Gower (F ’08) celebrated the May 28 release of his debut novel, The Act of Disappearing (Mira Books / HarperCollins), with a launch event at Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville, followed by participation in the Alumni Celebration of New Works on campus at Spalding on May 30. The book has been reviewed nationally in many outlets and was named one of "10 noteworthy books for May" by The Washington Post. 


Quincy Gray McMichael (CNF/P ’22) fell in love with the American Sentence while under the tutelage of Marianne Worthington at Hindman and has been writing a tiny poem each morning since. Common Ground Review published Quincy’s essay “Getting Well” —an excerpt from her hybrid memoir—in their Winter issue, available online. In March, Quincy enjoyed two weeks of uninterrupted writing at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. During her time at VCCA, which coincided with the Virginia Festival of the Book, she was selected as a reader for the Festival’s kick-off event at Rapunzel’s Books in Lovington, Virginia. Quincy’s short, elegiac essay “Jimmy” is included in Issue 39 of Yalobusha Review, recently published online.

Mary Knight (W4CYA ’13) will publish her second middle-grade novel, What the Seahorse Told Me, in August. Learn more about the book on her website. All are invited to attend her book launch on Wednesday, August 21, 5:30 – 7 pm at the Carnegie Center in Lexington. Also, check out this video, “When Students Take Over,” of an author visit she made earlier this year in rural Ohio.


Andrea Nasfell (SW ’15) wrote the movie Mr. Manhattan, which premiered at the Kentucky Theater in Lexington on May 22 and is now streaming on Great American Pure Flix. This fall, she begins teaching Screenwriting and Creative Writing full-time at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky.

On March 24, Julia Rosenblatt (F ’17) received an Arts and Civic Leadership Award from HartBeat Ensemble, the theater company she co-founded in 2001.


Amy Le Ann Richardson (F’09) launched her poetry chapbook, Who You Grow Into, from Finishing Line Press this spring at CoffeeTree Books in Morehead. Amy also read from her work during the Alumni Celebration of New Work at Spalding University MFA's spring residency. Who You Grow Into celebrates a profound connection to the land, inspired by life on a generational family farm within Appalachia. This collection is a tribute to the stewards of the land before us and reflects deep gratitude for a relationship with place.


A review of Spalding alum Mervyn Seivwright’s (P ’19) newest poetry collection, Stick, Hook, and a Pile of Yarn, by JoAnn LoVerde-Dropp (P ’10), was published on her website in February. Seivwright’s eighth book of poetry was published by Broken Sleep Books and is widely available.


Pam Steele-Reese (P ’04) received an Oak Ledge Writing Residency from Hindman Settlement School in January.


Maria Steinmetz (W4CYA ’14) had her short horror story “Fade” performed on the NoSleep Podcast on February 11 (Season 20, Episode 18). The episode can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the NoSleep website.


John Styron (F ’22) was recently in San Antonio doing script development work for a major new museum media project focused on the Texas Revolution and the famed 1836 Battle of the Alamo. Due to non-disclosure agreement constraints, Styron cannot reveal details but can say that the story—based on deep historical research including multiple interviews with world-class scholars of Mexican, Texan, and Native American history—will sweep across thousands of years and set the Alamo within a refreshing, revealing, and dramatic historical and geographical context. The project will include a purpose-built, 4-D experience theater. Estimated completion 2026-7.


Kathleen Thompson (F ’03) was invited to provide a program for the National League of American Pen Women, Birmingham Chapter, on March 7 at the Hoover Library. Since most members are also artists, she brought her novella A Tale of Three Women and her four poetry chapbooks, all of which have “artsy” covers. She then offered a guided writing prompt, “Start Small,” that she had recently tried herself. It started by asking them to write down the title of a favorite book, shuffling those words around to create another title, and then writing the first sentence of the new novel. Example: A Tale of Three Women would be quite different from A Tale of Three Men. The participants seemed pleased to share the difference a single-word change can produce.

Lori Tucker-Sullivan (CNF ’11) celebrated the release of her new book I Can't Remember if I Cried: Rock Widows on Life, Love, and Legacy (Backbeat Books) with an appearance at Spalding during Homecoming as part of the Celebration of New Works. The book, which profiles the widows of rock stars and musicians, most of whom died young or left young widows, began from a discussion with fellow students at Spalding in 2011.

In her new poetry collection, Mariposa: Opioid Abatement Poems, Laverne Zabielski (CNF ’04) tells two parallel stories, one harrowing, the other quietly hopeful. One is the descent of a beloved adult daughter into heroin, addiction, and homelessness, along with her mother’s grief. The other is the mother’s journey toward heroic self-discipline: keeping to herself the questions she’s burning to ask, refusing to impose her own desires and opinions on her daughter. Laverne continues to teach writing, handmade artist bookmaking, and indie publishing classes in her Luigart110 studio. She also produces Cafe Luigart, a monthly Sunday poetry, writing, and music series. If you’re passing through Lexington, check with her for reading opportunities. 




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