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Life of a Writer: Winter Edition



Erin Adams’ (F) flash fiction piece “Garage Band” was selected by Nailpolish Stories: A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal for its “Best of 2018” issue. Erin is a first-semester student studying fiction. You can find Erin on Facebook and Twitter.

Theresa Anne Carey’s (SW) first-semester screenplay, The Lady Pirates, is a Finalist for Best Screenplay in the 13th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival in Beaufort, South Carolina, a seaside town once frequented by the likes of Blackbeard, Calico Jack and the infamous lady pirate Anne Bonny.

Ashlee Clark Thompson (CNF) is the new Culture Editor at Louisville Public Media, a non-profit made up of three public radio stations and an investigative newsroom. In this newly created position, Ashlee oversees Do502, LPM’s calendar service, and connects cultural content across LPM’s outlets of 89.3 WFPL, 90.5 WUOL, and 91.9 WFPK.

Melanie Haws Sakalla (F) was recently chosen as a fellow at The Makery at Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, Kentucky. The Makery is an online studio designed to nurture the imaginations of writers, poets, and artists. Makery Fellows are guided through a two-year pedagogy in creative writing. Her piece “Casus Belli” was selected by FlashBack Fiction as a Highly Commended micro flash for their contest marking the centennial of Armistice Day. Find her on Facebook, and Twitter at Melanie Haws @10aceemelanie.

Alexis York Lumbard aka Rabiah York Lumbard (W4CYA) is excited to share the upcoming release of her latest picture book, The Gift of Ramadan, with illustrations by Laura K. Horton. This is her first holiday book with Albert Whitman (April 2019). Kirkus Review has celebrated the book as “a child-friendly and centric look at this important observance.” Rabiah currently lives in Doha, Qatar, with her hubby, kids, and an abundance of cats but can’t wait to return to Spalding for Spring residency. Check out more at her website, on Facebook, and at @RabiahLumbard.

Natalie Mucker (CNF) had her essay “Edit Your Masterpiece” selected as a runner-up for the 2019 Donald Murray Prize. It will be published in the Spring 2019 issue of Writing on the Edge, a journal edited and published by the University of California, Davis. In describing Natalie’s essay, the judge for the finalist entries wrote that it “cleverly employs multiple narrative paths… to show how myths organize our lives and how very difficult it can be to change their rhythms…. [the essay] extols the virtues of “digging through the mess”… but it closes still ambivalent about and attracted to the more conventional pleasures and duties of life, part of the mess she [the author] has sought to clear. In doing so, it poses a question for all of us about how we spend our time, about how we set priorities, about the meaning of commitment.”

Joy Neighbors (PW) will be speaking at RootsTech this year about cemetery research and reading stones. Her first book, The Family Tree Cemetery Research Guide, was published in 2017. On March 1, she presented “A Grave Interest: Searching for Family Clues in the Cemetery.” Joy is also one of the conference closers, speaking Saturday afternoon about “The Silent Language of the Stones.” She has written her cemetery blog, “A Grave Interest,” for eight years and speaks about cemeteries, history, and genealogy around the country. RootsTech is the largest family history and technology conference in the world and is held annually in Salt Lake City. An estimated 30,000 people attended this year. Live streaming will be held for several events including Joy’s Saturday presentation. For more information, visit RootsTech.

Ashley Taylor (P) Citizen Lit came to Louisville in December with a reading featuring Ashley Taylor, poet and founder of the River City Revue reading series. Joining Ashley for this event were the Citizen Lit team, Aubrie Cox and Jim Warner.

Dana VanderLugt’s (CNF) essay about her family’s farm, “The Orchard,” is published in the winter edition of the Longridge Review. Dana began this essay nearly 20 years ago as an undergrad, workshopped a new draft at residency last May, and continued to add and revise during her last semester. In January, she also published a book review in Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought. Dana, a former middle school English teacher, also has a new position working as an instructional coach for her school district. She tweets @danavanderlugt and blogs at Stumbling Towards Grace.


Kristen Brace‘s (F’12) second poetry chapbook, Each Darkness Inside, from Finishing Line Press, is on presale until April 12. A sample poem and other info can be found on her website. Also, she will be holding a reading in the Indy area, date to be announced, at Indy Reads. More info on the Facebook event page.

Nancy Chen Long’s (P ’13) book Light into Bodies was a finalist for the Phillip McMath Post-Publication Book Award, which is an open-genre award. In November, Nancy was invited to read at Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts. The reading was followed by a writing and poetry discussion with an English class that was assigned her book. Her recent poetry publications include: “Why There Is No Interest In Singing” in Issue 25 of The Adroit Journal, “Umbra”, in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue iof Valparaiso Poetry Review, and “Eight Ways to Look at a Man-Kite” in the Fall 2018 issue of Baltimore Review.

Carolyn Flynn (F/CNF’12) is leading two generative and restorative writing retreats in 2019, the Holy Ground Writing Retreat on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail May 15-19 at Maple Hill Manor in Bardstown, Kentucky, and the Ireland Writing Retreat on the Wild Atlantic Way May 28-June 1 at Delphi Resort in County Galway, Ireland. The Kentucky retreat includes a writing day on the grounds of Keeneland racecourse (racing not in session) and a contemplative walk at Gethsemani. The Ireland retreat includes an optional day trip to Kylemore Abbey. Find out more at or email

Karen George (F’09) had three ekphrastic poems published, all inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe artwork—two at The Ekphrastic Review, “Pattern of Leaves or Leaf Motif”, and “Nude Series VIII“, and one at Thirteen Myna Birds. Her ekphrastic poem, “Creator, Created” was published in an online anthology, Merle as Muse, in University of Cincinnati’s Blue Ash Review.

Lynn Hoffman‘s (W4CYA/SW’15) full-length play Three Women has advanced to Round 2 in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Festival of New Plays. Her full-length play Mortal Allies made it to the Final Round at The Depot. In December, Lynn was a Teaching Artist for the Bushnell (Connecticut) Performing Arts Center, where she worked with sixth-grade students in Hartford’s Renzulli Academy for the Gifted & Talented on a five-week narrative writing unit; in January, she worked in two Hartford elementary schools with third graders on a month-long poetry unit.

Mark Madigan (P ’17) closed out 2018 and opened 2019 with a handful of poems being published or accepted. “Miss X” appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of Third Wednesday, while another poem, “Late Summer Rain,” was selected as one of three $50 prize winners in Third Wednesday’s one-sentence poem contest and published in their Winter 2019 issue. A third poem, “Why I Remember Apollo I,” will appear in a future issue of Third Wednesday. Two more poems, “Lost in Brussels” and “At the Bar in Dublin,” appeared in Mojave River Review’s Fall/Winter issue. Finally, Mark’s chapbook, Thump and other poems, was just published by Finishing Line Press.

Michael Morris (F’10) has an essay in the recently released anthology aOur Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy (University of Georgia Press).

Mary Popham (F ’03) published her historical fiction The Wife Takes a Farmer with Excalibur Press in October. In January, she held book readings at The Nelson County Library, at an Open House in Louisville, and for the Louisville Genealogical Society. Also in January, she presented “Writing Your Life Story” to a PEO group (Philanthropic Educational Organization) in Louisville, and in December to the American Association of University Women. In October, her article “The Lasting Legacy of Col. James Rogers” was published in the Corn Island Chapter of the DAR. Her interview, titled “Book Club,” was published in the Fall 2018 issue of Today’s Transitions.

Jessica (Growden) Shrout (W4C&YA) was recently published in Waste Advantage Magazine and accepted a role as a regular columnist to write on marketing strategy. This follows the recent launch of her marketing company, Circle Three Branding, and a first place win at the National Federation of Press Women’s Communication Contest.

Savannah Sipple‘s (P’08) first book WWJD and Other Poems is being published by Sibling Rivalry Press on March 7. The book is available for pre-order now, and Savannah is available to do readings, workshops, and classroom visits (in person or via Skype). Spalding faculty member Silas House has this to say about WWJD: “Savannah Sipple is the poet we need right now. WWJD is the book we need, in this moment when it feels like the heart and conscience of our nation is being ripped out by the roots. This collection is full of truth and light and so much fierceness it threatens to take flight from our hands while we’re reading it, buoyed by the very power of language. This is powerful, important, and brave writing of the highest order.”

Jeffrey Fischer Smith (PW’17) and Julie Nichols’s (SW’15) short film “Reservations” was an official selection in the Classical Arts Film Festival in Sonoma, California, in February. Their film also won the Jarvis Award for Best Script. Jeffrey’s short play “Reservations” will be performed in a reading in “We Like Short Shorts: A Festival of 10-Minute Plays” at The Storefront Theatre in Waxhaw, N.C., in March, where it won Second Place for Best Play. More information about Jeffrey can be found on Facebook.

Sara Truitt (CNF’15) is excited to announce she won third prize in the Oregon Writers Colony Short Story Contest 2018 for a story called “Brenda.”

Amy Watkins (P’06) has released a new chapbook with Bottlecap Press. The poems in Lucky describe “an unusual late-80s childhood with humor and an unforgiving eye for detail, sparing neither the sweetness nor the disappointment of family love.”

Vickie Weaver’s (F’05) short story “Expectations” was published in Trajectory‘s Fall 2018 issue. It is a story set in the late 1960s. Chris Helvey (F’06) is Editor/Publisher of Trajectory, in Frankfort, Kentucky.


Dianne Aprile (CNF faculty) was recently named to Seattle’s Jack Straw Writers Program 2019. Each year twelve writers are selected by a curator, based on artistic excellence and diversity of literary genres. The program features in-studio interviews, public readings, a published anthology, and podcasts. Live readings are recorded, and selected portions are produced for podcasts and radio broadcast. More information can be found at Jack Straw Writers Program 2019.

Roy Hoffman (F/CNF faculty) gave several presentations in late 2018 and early 2019: gave a keynote address with readings of his work to the Southern Jewish Historical Society national conference, served as featured writer and speaker at the Fairhope (Alabama) Friends of the Library annual meeting, and led an audience discussion of The Cakemaker at the Mobile Jewish Film Festival. He launched his newly reissued first novel, Almost Family: 35th Anniversary Edition, with new study questions and introductory essay looking back over the years, at Page & Palette bookstore in Fairhope.

Lesléa Newman (W4CYA Faculty) has just had her newest picture book published by Abrams. Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story, an immigration story based on the author’s family history, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist.

Michael Roberts and Charlie Schulman

Charlie Schulman (Dramatic Writing Faculty) and Michael Roberts (Musical Theater Workshop Guest Faculty) are the writers and producers of GOLDSTEIN: The Musical, which premiered Off-Broadway last Spring at The Actors Temple. The GOLDSTEIN Off-Broadway Original Cast Recording is now available from The playscript was recently published by Stage Rights. Charlie and Michael will be appearing on a panel of writers and producers “From Page To Stage” at The Southeastern Theater Conference on March 1 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Charlie will be reading from his one-person show NATURAL HISTORY X at Pen Parentis Literary Salon (on the same bill with current Spalding playwriting student Elana Gartner) at The Hideout at Kilarney Rose on 80 Beaver Street in New York City on Tuesday March 12th at 7 p.m. (admission free). Charlie will be producing The 3rd Annual Writer’s Voice Ten Minute Play Festival on May 10 and 11 at The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater in NYC. His short comedic play THE MARKET PLACE OF IDEAS will appear on this bill along with new plays by Joy Behar (The View), Michael Roberts, and others. In June there will be a presentation of Charlie’s new full-length play A FUNNY PLAY FOR TROUBLED TIMES at The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, sponsored by a New York University Faculty Development Grant (dates TBA).

Katy Yocom (Associate Director, F ’03) is in the midst of pre-launch preparations for her debut novel, Three Ways to Disappear, due out July 16. Her Louisville launch is Thursday, August 1, at Carmichael’s Bookstore, and she’ll be reading Friday, August 9, at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida. She is busy setting up more readings as well as workshops and classroom visits, writing in her spare moments, and trying to keep her kitten from chewing on her Advance Review Copies.



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