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LIFE OF A WRITER: October 2016


Here’s what our Spalding MFA students, alumni, faculty, and staff have been publishing, producing, and doing since our last update!

— Students —

KELLIE CARLE (F) a.k.a. K.B. Carle’s flash fiction piece “Embers” was published in the September 2016 “What If” themed issue of Sick Lit. Magazine. To learn more about her and her work, visit her blog.

PHIL COHEN (F) has been asked to produce a series of reviews for a new twenty-volume collection called The Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophy, which focuses on living Jewish philosophers who the editors believe have made a significant contribution to the field. His first review, focused on the volume devoted to the recently deceased Eugene Borowitz, appeared in the summer edition of the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly. The second review appeared in the autumn edition of Conversations and focused on the volume devoted to Jonathan Sacks.


A. Crandell

In September, ANNIE FRAZIER CRANDELL (F) was interviewed by Justin Meckes for his “Writer’s Block” series, and her fiction appeared in apt magazine. You can learn more about Annie and her work at her site.

Reservations Poster

Short + Sweet Poster for  “Reservations”

JEFFREY FISCHER-SMITH’s (PW) short play “Reservations” won Best Playwright, Best Production, and Best Actor (Dale Raoul from TV’s True Blood) in Short +Sweet Hollywood in September and was awarded a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles. Jeffrey’s short play “A Dog Dreams” will be produced in Short + Sweet Sydney in early 2017. With Spalding alums JULIE NICHOLS (SW ’15) and HEATHER MEYER (PW ’16), he co-created the Spalding Dramatists Facebook group, open to anyone involved with the MFA program who has an interest in writing for the stage, film, or television. Ask to join here if you are interested. More information about Jeffrey can be found at his Facebook page.


Leslie Lynch

LESLIE LYNCH (F) is pleased to announce inclusion of her work in two very different anthologies slated for October release. Romancing Christmas, Volume 2, a collection of holiday-themed romance and women’s fiction novellas, is available now as an e-book through Amazon, Apple iBooks, Nook, and Kobo. Her contribution, Christmas Grace, follows three generations of women who have good reasons for avoiding Christmas this year. Then disaster strikes, not once, but twice. The women rally to help each other—and rediscover the meaning of Christmas. The second anthology, Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on Theology of the Body, features prose and poetry around Saint Pope John Paul II’s teaching on the subject. It was released October 22, the Saint’s feast day as observed by the Catholic Church, and is available on Amazon. The seeds of Lynch’s short story, “No Turning Back,” were planted during her first MFA residency and nurtured through her work with mentor Pete Duval during the subsequent Independent Study semester. You can find Lynch on Facebook at Leslie Lynch Writes, on Twitter @Leslie_Lynch_, and at her website.

MARK MADIGAN (P) has had two poems accepted in 2016: “The Gift,” which appeared in the June/July issue of The Broadkill Review, and “Locust,” which is scheduled to appear in the Fall/Winter 2016-17 issue of Valparaiso Poetry Review. Another poem, “The Girl in the Hall of Mirrors,” is forthcoming shortly from The Louisville Review.

BEHR NEIGHBORS (F) took second place in the Toasted Cheese Literary Review 48-Hour Mystery contest, under the pen name BRIAN BEHR VALENTINE. This is his third 48-hour challenge placement and the fourth publication of a short story using his protagonist Jewell Harvard. Behr placed second in the same 48-hour mystery contest, years earlier, using the same protagonist.


Joy Neighbors

JOY NEIGHBORS (CNF) has been contracted by F+W Media to write The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide, to be published next fall. Neighbors, an avowed “tombstone tourist,”writes A Grave Interest, a weekly blog about history and cemetery culture. She also writes several monthly magazine columns about wine and travel and speaks on all things cemetery-related throughout the Midwest.

— Faculty & Staff —


An Image by Yang Xiaobin, part of Ekphrastic Assimilations

DIANNE APRILE was a panelist and workshop leader at Ekphrastic Assimilations, a months-long collaboration of international writers and artists, culminating in an exhibition of painting, photography, and mixed-media visual art by six Chinese and six Washington State artists. The panel took place on September 16 at VALA Art Center in Redmond, Washington. Dianne is currently teaching a 6-week class titled Collage & Writing: Mixing Images and Text on Paper, a collaboration with visual artist Larry Calkins. The class is offered at Kirkland Arts Center.

KATHLEEN DRISKELL’s new book of poems, Blue Etiquette, was published September 17 by Red Hen Press of Los Angeles. The concluding poem, “My Mother’s Marriages Drift like Boats,” is forthcoming in Plume. Other poems have recently appeared in Appalachian Heritage and Still: The Journal, whose editors nominated her poem “At New Hope Facility” for the Best of the Net anthology. Recently, she has been featured in interviews in StorySouth, Appalachian Heritage, and Sojourners Magazine. In September, Kathleen read at Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville. She also visited University of Southern Indiana, where she gave a reading and watched students perform poems from her collection Next Door to the Dead. On October 22, she read with poet Bianca Spriggs at Morris Book Shop in Lexington, Kentucky; on October 25, she reads at the Word of Mouth Reading Series in Cincinnati. She visits Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, Indiana, to give a reading on October 28. Last spring, Kathleen was a visiting writer at Middle Tennessee State University. At this year’s AWP conference, she was elected Vice Chair, Mid-Atlantic Region, 2016-2018. Kathleen served as judge for Louisville Literary Arts 2016 poetry competition; the winner will be honored at the Writer’s Block Festival on November 5 and was published in this fall’s issue of The Louisville Review.


LESLÉA NEWMAN received the Massachusetts Book Award for her picture book, Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed. The award will be presented at the Massachusetts State House on December 6. Her short story “Mr. Clean” was one of 20 finalists for the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award. Her poem “That Night” appears as part of the Brilliantina Project, an online anthology of responses to the mass murder in Orlando, and her poem “Ode to Chocolate” appears on the website Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Her middle-grade novel Hachiko Waits has been translated into German.

— Alumni —

DEBORAH BEGEL (CNF ’06) has a new job as a news broadcaster, writer, reporter, and feature producer at KSFR 101.1 FM in Santa Fe. One of her poems will appear this fall in the second edition of the literary journal that she helped found at Northern New Mexico College, Trickster.


Brock & Byars

In August, GLENNY BROCK (CNF ’07) and writer Clay Byars had “an intensely private conversation in front of 50 people” at the Desert Island Supply Company (DISCO) in Birmingham, Alabama. The subject of the program was Byars’s debut memoir, Will & I. This fall, Brock is teaching a course called “Writing for the Media” at Birmingham-Southern College.

BECKY BROWDER’s (F ’12) memoir “Watermelons and Rita Gram” won Second Place in the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition for memoir/essay. Becky was awarded $500 for her entry. Also, her short story “Lifus Moon” was named a finalist in the William Faulkner Writing Competition.

DAVID CARREN’s (SW ’05) original screenplay 17 Mile Highway is in active pre-production with Stichting 2D Cinema, a production company based in the Netherlands, which just secured a contract extension under the Writers Guild of America’s rules and fee structure.


Linda Cruise

LINDA CRUISE (F ’08) recently sold and signed copies of her children’s picture book, Around the World from A to Z, at the Old Fashioned Harvest Market, in Underhill, Vermont.


Scene from “Mermaid Song”

GAY H. HAMMOND (PW ’12) had the pleasure of producing her new TYA play, Mermaid Song, with WonderQuest: GTA for Young Audiences earlier this month. Almost 7,000 young people, with their parents and teachers, had a magical time at the performances. Her adaptation of Medea is currently being produced by theatre company Anonymous Heretics in Los Angeles.

MICHAEL JACKMAN’s (P ’12) paper “Metre and Meaning in Jane Kenyon’s ‘Song’” has been accepted for publication in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing.

ALICE-CATHERINE JENNINGS (P ’14) is pleased to announce that her poem “Nancy Drew in Finland” was included in The Nancy Drew Anthology published by Silver Birch Press in October 2016 and that her poem “Hell on Earth” is forthcoming in Violence and Women: An Anthology to be published by Sable Books. In addition, “Jane Seymour Receives a Gift from King Henry VIII” and “Katherine Parr Receives a Marriage Proposal from King Henry VIII” will be published in volume 10 of the Found Poetry Review. She also participated in a multicultural/national collaboration, an Anthology of the Butterfly, a collection of “butterfly” poems by Slavic and Latin American writers, with her English translations of “For the Dead Women of Juarez” by Gregory Quinoñes (Mexico); “Sky Blue Butterfly” by Violeta Boncheva (co-translated with Dimana Ivanová/Bulgaria); “The Dream” by Andrej Hablák (Slovakia); and “November” by Ondrej Zajac (Czech Republic).

ROB KAISER (CNF ’10) is now the executive editor of two western New York newspapers, the Niagara Gazette and the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal (see story here). As executive editor, Rob doesn’t have to write unless he wants to. But he took it upon himself to author the papers’ anti-Donald Trump editorial on September.

NANCY CHEN LONG (P ’12) is overjoyed and honored to announce that her manuscript Light into Bodies won the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry and will be published in 2017 by the University of Tampa Press. She is also delighted that the following poems have been published: “On Seeing The Embroiderer, Or Mette Gauguin” in Alaska Quarterly Review and “Gretel’s Errata to her Father’s Version of the Story” in Hermeneutic Chaos. Visit her website.

HEATHER MEYER (PW ’16) completed a script commission for Theatre of Public Policy and the Minnesota Opera. This fall Heather has taught Creativity through Improv workshops to University of Minnesota design students, Comedy Writing 101 at the nation’s oldest satirical comedy theatre, Advanced Improv to senior citizens, and Innovation Improv at three national and state conferences. Heather’s play Her Big Day received its NYC debut in September. This play was a Regional Finalist for the Kennedy Center American Collegiate Theatre Festival in 2016. Later in October, Heather is performing in the world premieres of the new plays The Phillip Experiment and Book of Shadows at the Twin Cities Horror Festival. Heather will also be reprising her role as one-fifth of all the past presidents in the remount of the Neo-Futurists play 44 Plays for 44 Presidents in Minneapolis.


Scene from “The Maybe Pile”

ARWEN MITCHELL’s (PW ’12) play The Maybe Pile (written during her time at Spalding) was produced by Coercion Theatre in Canton, Ohio, in September. Also, Kent State University at Stark commissioned and produced her history play The Bicentennial Project in February. Arwen is a staff member at Cleveland’s Playwrights Local organization, which is devoted to producing the work of Cleveland-area playwrights. She was dramaturg for NIVI ENGINEER’s (F/PW ’15) play in the PlayLabs playfest in April and will be doing additional dramaturgy for the fall and spring playfests. Arwen is also the dramaturg for Coercion Theatre’s upcoming project Woman on the Bridge as well as for Cleveland Public Theatre’s play development program Entry Point.

HUGH MOFFATT’s (SW ’16) rescheduled 3rd annual production of his Pulp FRiction 10-minute Play Festival was October 15.

MARILYN MOSS (CNF ’09) recently launched a blog, Marilyn’s Mutterings, which can be found on her website. She is currently blogging on the topic “Why Create?” a series that features the comments of women writers, visual artists, musicians, and choreographers. Her essay on Julia Child, “Will Someone Please Find My Poulet?” will appear in the fall issue of The New Guard.

ANDREA NASFELL (SW ’15) has a faith-based comedy releasing in theaters January 20, 2017. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone was workshopped at Spalding and stars Brett Dalton (Agents of SHIELD), Neil Flynn (The Middle), comedienne Anjelah Johnson, and wrestler Shawn Michaels. You can view the trailer here.

RICHARD NEWMAN’s (P ’04) new literary crime novel, Graveyard of the Gods, has just been released and is available through independent bookstores or on Amazon. He recently accepted a two-year position teaching at the College of Marshall Islands and lives on Majuro Atoll with coconut and banana trees and a huge lagoon for his back yard.

DIANA RAAB (CNF/W4C&YA ’03) asks Spalding friends to take an anonymous two-minute survey to help with research for her book, Writing for Transformation: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life.

MATT RYAN (F ’06) has been named Program Director of the online MFA in Creative Writing Program at Concordia St. Paul. He hopes to take the “Splove” he received from the Spalding program and share it with his online students.

RON SCHILDKNECHT (SW ’12) premiered his new film, Muggs & Toast, on September 29 at Patrick O’Shea’s Irish Pub on Baxter Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. The comedy played at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood as an Official Selection on October 22 and was named a Film Winner in the 2016 IFFF Short Film – Mixed Media category. The 25-minute comedy uses a limited animation technique featuring still photographs of the actors over hand-painted backgrounds. Schildknecht co-wrote, co-produced, directed, edited, and animated the film.


For more information about our program, students and faculty, please visit our Spalding MFA website or email us at


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