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Life of a Writer: Summer 2019 Edition

Exciting news & updates from students, alumni and faculty/staff – enjoy!



Holly (Baldwin) Beck (PW) was recently selected as a finalist in BizMix 2019 where she has the opportunity to bring her concept for a sexual literacy resort to life. Her project, un(Bound), is a bnb (bondage and breakfast)—a pleasure destination and sexual literacy resort where guests can safely and discreetly explore their deepest longings and desires within the high desert of sexy Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Kelly Cass Falzone (P) was recently interviewed by the Tennessee Library for Accessible Books & Media in Nashville for the new podcast series A Universe of Stories. In Kelly’s segment, entitled “Creativity & Emotional Accessibility: A Conversation with Kelly Falzone”, she talks about her involvement with two Nashville arts organizations, Art & Soul Studio and Southern Word, and discusses her writing, art-making, and teaching, as well as her creative process and how it has enriched her life. She even reads two poems! You can listen to the podcast at Creativity and Emotional Accessibility: A Conversation with Kelly Falzone. Additionally, Kelly’s poem “Pangaea” was also recently named a top-three finalist for The Porch Prize, judged by Tiana Clark and sponsored by The Porch Writers Collective, Nashville.

Dana VanderLugt (CNF) was featured as a guest writer on The Twelve twice in May. In an essay “Attached,” she wrote about blankies, faith, and aging and later in the month she wrote a tribute to honor the late author and one of her writing heroes, Rachel Held Evans, who recently died at the age of only 37.


Catherine Randall Berresheim (CNF ‛13) is that teaching a creative writing class at Riverbend Maximum Security Institute. This is a collaborative effort with Dr. Graham Reside at Vanderbilt Divinity School. 

Becky Browder’s (F ‛12) short story “The Unforgiving Year” was published in Another Chicago Magazine. Becky worked on this story under mentors K. L. Cook, Mary Waters, and Julie Brickman.

Farah Casalini (CNF ‛17) launched the Bloom. Writing Workshop for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The workshops emphasize the intersection of the arts and its significant role in developing confidence, perspective, and voice. She is working with two nonprofits on Long Island right now, with plans to expand across the New York state and further in the future.

Whitney Collins (F ‛19) won a 2020 Pushcart Prize for her short story “The Entertainer,” which originally appeared in The Pinch. It will be published in Pushcart Prize XLIV: Best of the Small Presses this coming December. She was also named a semifinalist in American Short Fiction’s 2019 The American Short(er) Fiction Prize for her story, “Script.”

Kelly Creagh (W4CYA ‛08), Louisville native, and author of the Nevermore Trilogy (Atheneum) has sold world rights to Viking (Penguin Random House) for her contemporary Young Adult retelling of Gaston Leroux’s classic, The Phantom of the Opera. Titled Phantom Heart, the novel is scheduled to release in fall of 2020. Kelly has also been contracted by Viking for an additional untitled YA novel. You can visit Kelly at Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Jeffrey Fischer Smith (PW ‛17) and Julie Nichols’s (SW ‛15) short film RESERVATIONS has been selected for its 11th festival — Amazon’s All Voices Film Festival. This will likely be their final festival as they are now distributed on Amazon Prime.

Thea Gavin (P ‛05) had two poems appear in the recently published National Park Service magazine celebrating the centennial of Grand Canyon National Park; “May you fall, hard, at Grand Canyon” accompanies art work by Serena Supplee, while “Filaments,” on the final page, overlays a 19th century drawing of Grand Canyon by geologist Clarence Dutton. Her poem “In the ragged floodplain forest, after years of drought” was published online in the April 2019 edition of Green Theory and Praxis Journal. In August, Thea’s poem “Rattled” will appear in the first issue of eco-journal Deep Wild. Additionally, on June 7-9 Thea led her fifth annual creative writing workshop at the North Rim of Grand Canyon for the Grand Canyon Conservancy Field Institute, with plans in place to offer the class at both South Rim and North Rim in June 2020. On April 25-28, Thea organized and led what she hopes will be the first of more “Desert Connect for Women Writers” creative writing workshops at Mojave National Preserve. She continues to blog about “Barefoot Wandering and Writing”.

Lynn Hoffman (W4CYA & SW ‛15) was accepted to the 2019 Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive with Three Mothers (full-length play). The Intensive featured master classes with Gary Garrison, Mark Bly, Caleen Sinnette Jennings, and Jacqueline Goldfinger. Thank you to Jeffrey Fischer-Smith for making me aware of this opportunity! A heartfelt thank you to Kira, Charlie, Sam, and everyone who has workshopped this piece, which began as a screenplay and finally found its form as a play after too many revisions to count.

Alice Jennings (P ‛14) is pleased to report that several of her poems from a chapbook of sonnets in progress have recently been published as follows: “Mine eyes hath played the painter…” in Pinnacle, a poetry anthology; “White Ashes” in Issue 2 ofPHEMME;“The Secret Was Laid Bare” in For a Better World 2019,a book of poems and drawings on peace and justice by greater Cincinnati artists; and “10:00 AM in Santa Fe” in Nitrogen House. In addition her poem “Det är ingen ko på isen” is forthcoming in an e-zine by Spit Poet Publishing. Additionally, her newest book Notations: The Imagined Diary of Julian of Norwich is available from Red Bird Chapbooks. Portion of net proceeds benefits the NM Refugee Educational Bridge Program to help support young Afghanis to pursue high school education in the US.


Dianne Aprile (CNF Faculty) will read as part of the Redmond Association of SPokenword (RASP) Series on June 30, at 7 pm. The venue is Los Pajaros Gallery in Redmond, WA. She will also read on Thursday July 11 at 7 pm at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle.

Gabriel Jason Dean (Dramatic Writing Faculty) won the 2019 Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Competition with his play In Bloom, winning the $8000 prize, a $1000 travel stipend, and the workshop in Victoria, BC. Additionally, his play Heartland, which has been performed across the country, recently received The David Mark Cohen New Play Award at the Austin Critics Table Awards and the Director of Heartland, Rudy Ramirez received the Best Direction Award.

Fenton Johnson (CNF Faculty) is profiled and interviewed as one of fifty influential elders of the LGBT civil rights movement in The Book of Pride (HarperCollins), released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising that marked the movement’s turning point. He has an essay Wood and Water in Dignity as an Endangered Species, the Spring 2019 issue of AboutPlace Journal, published by the Black Earth Institute. His next book of creative nonfiction, At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life, will be published by W.W. Norton in spring 2020.

Helena Kriel (Dramatic Writing Faculty) recently launched her book, The Year of Facing Fire a memoir, in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is a must read. “In the tradition of great family memoirs like Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking” and Alexandra Fuller’s “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” The Year of Facing Fire will leave you breathless, bereft and uplifted. More information on The Year of Facing Fire facebook page.

Katy Yocom’s debut novel, Three Ways to Disappear, will be published on July 16. On June 20, with Lynnell Edwards, she appeared on Accents – A Radio Show for Literature, Art and Culture, hosted by MFA alum Katerina Stoykova (P ’09). She will appear this month on Think Humanities, a podcast by Bill Goodman (CNF ’12), executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council. She recently published an essay about her trip to India in Newsweek. An essay about her travels with her mom appears in the July 2019 edition of American Way, the American Airlines inflight magazine. Her book tour schedule so far:

– 6 p.m. July 26, Village Lights Bookstore, Madison, Indiana

– 7 p.m. August 1, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville

– 8 p.m. August 9, Books & Books bookstore, Coral Gables, Florida

– 10:15 a.m. August 10, Orange County Library System, Herndon Branch, Orlando, Florida

– 3 p.m. August 10, Creative Pinellas Gallery, St. Petersburg, Florida

– 6 p.m. August 22, 21c Museum, Louisville

She is planning events in New York in September and Seattle in October. The book will be available at your local independent bookstore, Amazon, and anywhere books are sold.



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