Current and Recent Core Faculty
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Current and Recent Core Faculty

Marlin Barton

Marlin Barton

Marlin Barton (Fiction) is the author of several award-winning books including The Dry Well, recipient of the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook Award for a best first volume of short stories. He recently received the first Truman Capote Prize for short fiction by an Alabama writer, which will be presented during the annual Alabama Writers Symposium this year. He is also author of the story collection Dancing by the River and the novels A Broken Thing and The Cross Garden. His newest novel, Pasture Art, was released in March 2015. His work has appeared in Shenandoah, The Southern Review, VQR, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and Best American Short Stories. Barton’s work has received a number of awards including the Andrew Lytle Prize from Sewanee Review and two Individual Artist Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He has taught at Clemson University, Auburn University-Montgomery, Huntingdon College, and Wichita State University. Barton currently lives in Montgomery, Alabama where he is assistant director of the Writing Our Stories project.

Suzanne Cleary

Suzanne Cleary

Suzanne Cleary (Poetry) is the author of Beauty Mark, published in 2013 as winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry by BkMk Press (University of Missouri-Kansas City). Beauty Mark also won the Eugene Paul Nassar prize from Utica College, and received the 2014 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Her previous books are Trick Pear (2007) and Keeping Time (2002), both published by Carnegie Mellon. Her poems have appeared in journals including The Atlantic, Georgia Review, New Ohio Review, Poetry International, and Poetry London, and in anthologies including Best American Poetry, Poetry 180, and Don’t Leave Hungry: 50 Years of Southern Poetry Review. Recipient of a Pushcart Prize, she is Professor of English at the State University of New York at Rockland, and has taught at the Frost Place and the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, where she also serves on the advisory board for Slapering Hol Press.

C Michael Curtis

C. Michael Curtis

C. Michael Curtis (Nonfiction and Fiction) has been the influential fiction editor at The Atlantic Monthly for more than four decades. Under his direction The Atlantic Monthly’s fiction has received a prestigious National Magazine Award and individual stories selected and edited by Curtis have year after year been included in such important annual prize collections as Best American Short Fiction, the Pushcart Prize and others. Curtis has also edited several books including American Stories: Fiction From The Atlantic Monthly, Contemporary New England Stories, Contemporary West Coast Stories, God: Stories, and many more. His own essays, articles, reviews, and poems have been published in The Atlantic, The New Republic, National Review, andSport, among other periodicals. Curtis is also renowned for his teaching, and he has taught creative writing and other subjects at Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Tufts, Boston University, Bennington, and Wofford.

Denise Duhamel

Denise Duhamel

Denise Duhamel’s (Poetry) most recent book Blowout (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other titles include Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005), Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005), Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999); and Kinky (Orchises Press, 1997). A bilingual edition of her poems, Afortunada de mí (Lucky Me), translated into Spanish by Dagmar Buchholz and David Gonzalez, came out in 2008 with Bartleby Editores (Madrid.) She served as guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2013. A recipient of NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.

Albert Goldbarth

Albert Goldbarth

Albert Goldbarth (Poetry) is one of the most prolific and influential poets writing in America today. The only poet to have twice been awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award (in 1991 & 2001), Professor Goldbarth’s work includes more than thirty books of poetry, essays, and a novel. This varied body of work includes some of the most heavily anthologized poems and essays of the day.

His books include Heaven and Earth, A Cosmology (1991, poetry, winner of National Book Critics Circle Award), The Gods (1993, poetry), Marriage, and Other Science Fiction (1994, poetry), Great Topics of the World, Essays (1994, essays), Adventures in Ancient Egypt (1996, poetry), Beyond (1998, poetry), Many Circles (2001, essays, winner of a Pen Prize for nonfiction), Pieces of Payne (2001, novel), Combinations of the Universe (2003, poetry), Budget Travel through Space and Time (2005, poetry), and most recently, Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems 1972-2007 (2007, poetry).

In his review of Kitchen Sink, David Baker of The Kenyon Review says: “Albert Goldbarth is . . . a contemporary genius with the language itself . . . There is simply no contemporary poet like him.”

Tommy Hays

Tommy Hays

Tommy Hays’s first middle-grade novel, What I Came to Tell You, was a VOYA Top Shelf Pick for Middle Grade Fiction and an Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. His novel, The Pleasure Was Mine, was a Finalist for the SIBA Fiction Award and was chosen for numerous community reads, including the One City, One Book program in Greensboro and the Amazing Read in Greenville, SC. The novel was read on NPR’s “Radio Reader” and South Carolina ETVRadio’s “Southern Read”.

His other novels are Sam’s Crossing and In the Family Way, a Book of the Month Club selection and winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. He’s published stories in Redbook, The Chattahoochee Review, storySouth and other publications. He’s Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and Lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program at UNC Asheville. He’s a board member of the North Carolina Writers Network and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. He received his BA in English from Furman University and graduated from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Cary Holladay

Cary Holladay

Cary Holladay (Fiction) is the author of seven volumes of fiction, most recently Horse People: Stories (LSU Press 2013) and The Deer in the Mirror (Ohio State UP 2013). Her awards include an O. Henry Prize and a literary fellowship from the NEA. A native of Virginia, she teaches at the University of Memphis.

Jim Minick

Jim Minick

Jim Minick (Nonfiction) is the author of four books, the most recent, The Blueberry Years, a memoir that won the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His novel, God of All Ruined Things, is due out in 2017. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in many publications including Oxford American, Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, Tampa Review and The Sun. Currently, he is Assistant Professor at Augusta University and Core Faculty in Converse College’s low-residency MFA program.

Rick Mulkey

Rick Mulkey

Rick Mulkey (Poetry, Director of the MFA Program) is the author of five collections including Ravenous: New & Selected Poems, Toward Any Darkness, Before the Age of Reason, and Bluefield Breakdown. His work appears in the anthologies American Poetry: the Next Generation, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume I and Volume II, and A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry, among others. Individual poems and essays have appeared in a variety of venues such as Crab Orchard Review, Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, The Connecticut Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review and Verse Daily. Recently he has been a visiting writer at Michigan State University, Radford University, and Ohio Wesleyan University, among others. His awards include the Hawthornden Fellowship for Writing (A residency in Scotland) and the Charles Angoff Award in poetry from The Literary Review. Rick has taught at a number of universities and writing workshops in the United States and Europe. He currently directs the creative writing program at Converse College.

Robert Olmstead

Robert Olmstead

Robert Olmstead (Fiction) is the author of eight books, including his recent award-winning novels The Coldest Night, and Coal Black Horse published by Algonquin Books. He also has published a textbook for fiction-writing workshops (“Elements of the Craft”) and a non-fiction memoir (“Stay Here with Me: A Memoir”), plus numerous individual stories and essays in some of our nation’s finest magazines. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and an NEA grant. He has taught in numerous colleges, universities and writing workshops, including Dickinson College, UC Irvine, Boise State University and the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia. Currently, he lives in Ohio, where he is a professor at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Leslie Pietryzyk

Leslie Pietrzyk

Leslie Pietrzyk’s (Fiction) collection of short stories, This Angel On My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and is forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2015. She is the author of two novels, Pears on a Willow Tree (Avon) and A Year and a Day (William Morrow). Her award-winning short fiction and essays have appeared in more than fifty journals, including Shenandoah, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, Washingtonian, The Sun, Crab Orchard Review, New England Review, River Styx, Hobart, Midwestern Gothic, TriQuarterly, Cimarron Review, and The Washington Post Magazine. Organizations awarding fellowships include the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Hambidge Center. She blogs regularly about the writing life at Work-in-Progress and is the founder/editor of Redux, an online journal of previously published work not available elsewhere on the internet. She earned a BA from Northwestern University and an MFA from American University. Leslie is also a member of senior faculty at the Johns Hopkins Master of Arts Program in Writing, and has been a writer in residence at Wichita State University and Converse College. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Twitter: @lesliepwriter

Susan Tekulve

Susan Tekulve

Susan Tekulve (Nonfiction and Fiction) is the author of the award-winning novel In the Garden of Stone and three short story collections: Savage PilgrimsWash Day and My Mother’s War Stories.  Her stories and essays have appeared in Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, New Letters, Best New Writing 2007The Indiana ReviewDenver QuarterlyPuerto del Sol, Prairie SchoonerAnother Chicago Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly,Connecticut Review, Beloit Fiction JournalCrab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, WebdelsolBlack Warrior Review, Contemporary World Literature and The Kansas City Star. She has been awarded the South Carolina Novel Prize, the Winnow Press Award in Fiction, a Sewanee Writers’ Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship, a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholarship, the Editor’s Choice Award in Best New Writing 2007, the gold medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards as the best novel published in the South by an independent press in 2014, the 2012 winner of South Carolina First Novel Prize. and an AWP Intro Award. She served as a book reviewer for BOOK Magazine for five years, and she continues to contribute book reviews to academic journals, including The Literary ReviewPrairie Schooner and New Letters. An Associate Professor of English, she teaches in the BFA and MFA in creative writing programs at Converse College.

Richard Tillinghast

Richard Tillinghast

Richard Tillinghast (Poetry and Nonfiction) is the author of twelve books of poetry and four of creative nonfiction. He studied with Robert Lowell at Harvard while getting his PhD there and later wrote a critical memoir, Robert Lowell’s Life and Work: Damaged Grandeur. With a Sinclair-Kennedy travel grant from Harvard he traveled in Europe in 1966-67, and again in 1990-91 with an Amy Lowell travel grant, also from Harvard. His Selected Poems came out in 2010, and in 2010 he was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in poetry in addition to a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in translation for Dirty August, his versions of poems by the Turkish poet, Edip Cansever, written in collaboration with his daughter, Julia Clare Tillinghast. Poems of his have appeared in The Atlantic, Paris Review, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Best American Poetry, The Best of Irish Poetry, and many other places. His 2012 travel book, An Armchair Traveller’s History of Istanbul,  was nominated for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize. He has been a faculty member at Harvard, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the college program at San Quentin prison, and Sewanee. Beginning in 2005 Richard lived in Ireland for six years, moving back to this country in 2011. He currently teaches part-time in Converse College’s low-residency MFA program and divides his time between Sewanee, Tennessee, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

April Ayers Lawson

April Ayers Lawson

April Ayers Lawson (Visiting Faculty Fiction/January 2017) is the recipient of the 2011 George Plimpton Award for Fiction, as well as a 2015 writing fellowship from The Corporation of Yaddo. Her short story “Virgin” was named a 2011 favorite short story of the year by Flavorwire Magazine and anthologized in The Unprofessionals: New American Writing from the Paris Review (Penguin 2016). Her fiction has appeared in Oxford American, Vice, ZYZZYVA Crazyhorse, the Norwegian version of Granta, and Five Chapters, among others. She has taught in the Creative Writing Department at Emory University and is currently teaching as the 2016-2017 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Virgin and Other Stories, her first book, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in fall 2016.

Claire Bateman

Claire Bateman

(Visiting Faculty January 2017 – Poetry) Bateman’s books include Scape (New Issues Poetry & Prose); Locals (Serving House Books), The Bicycle Slow Race (Wesleyan University Press), Friction (Eighth Mountain Poetry Prize), At The Funeral Of The Ether (Ninety-Six Press, Furman University), Clumsy (New Issues Poetry & Prose), Leap (New Issues), and Coronolgy (Etruscan Press). She has been awarded Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Surdna Foundation, as well as two Pushcart Prizes and the New Millennium Writings 40th Anniversary Poetry Prize. She has taught at Clemson University, the Greenville Fine Arts Center, and various workshops and conferences such as Bread Loaf and Mount Holyoke.

Victoria Cappello

Victoria Capello

Victoria Capello (Visiting Agent – January 2017) is a literary agent with the Bent Agency in New York. She represents commercial and literary adult fiction as well as narrative nonfiction. A graduate of the City University of New York, Queens College, Capello also worked at Serendipity Literary and the Carol Mann Agency.

Rachel Hall

Rachel Hall

(Visiting Faculty June 2017 – Fiction) Hall’s collection of linked stories, Heirlooms, was awarded the BkMk Press 2015 G.S. Sharat Chandra prize, selected by Marge Piercy.  Hall’s stories and essays have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Bellingham Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gettysburg Review, Lilith, New Letters, and Water-Stone. In addition, she has received awards and honors from publications such as Lilith and Glimmer Train, and New Letters and from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, as well as Ragdale and the Ox-Bow School of the Arts where portions of Heirlooms were written.

She holds an MFA from Indiana University where she was the Hemingway Fellow in Fiction.

JJ Johnson

JJ Johnson

JJ Johnson (Visiting Faculty Y.A. Fiction – June 2017) is a youth counselor turned young adult novelist. She graduated from Binghamton University in 1996. In 2001, she earned a Master of Education from Harvard University, with a concentration in Adolescent Risk and Prevention. Before writing novels, J.J. counseled at-risk teens and coordinated youth service programs such as The Learning Web, Justice Summer, and Youth Advocacy. She is the author of This Girl is Different (2011), The Theory of Everything (2012), and Believarexic (2015). Her books have received numerous honors and have been translated into six languages.

Ashley M Jones

Ashley M. Jones

Ashley M. Jones (Visiting Faculty June 2017 – Poetry) is the author of Magic City Gospel. She was a finalist for the Hub City Press’ New Southern Voices Contest, Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Contest, and the National Poetry Series. Her work has been published by the Academy of American Poets, pluck!, PMSPoemMemoirStory, Prelude, Kinfolks Quarterly, and other journals. She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a 2015 B-Metro Magazine Fusion Award. She is an editor of [PANK] Magazine, and she teaches creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

Sheila O'Connor

Sheila O’Connor

Sheila O’Connor (Visiting Faculty January 2017 – Y.A. Fiction) is the author of four novels: Keeping Safe the Stars, Sparrow Road, Tokens of Grace, and Where No Gods CameWhere No Gods Came won the Michigan Literary Prize and the Minnesota Book Award. It was also chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Sparrow Road was the recipient of the International Reading Award, and Keeping Safe the Stars was honored with the Midwest Booksellers Award. Her books have been included on Best Books of the Year by Booklist, VOYA, Book Page, Bank Street, Chicago Public Library, and others.

Damien Ober

Damien Ober

Damien Ober (Visiting Faculty Screenwriting/Novel – January 2017) is a novelist and screenwriter.  His work has appeared in The Rumpus, NOON, Confrontation, B O D Y Literature, The Baltimore City Paper, VLAK and others.  He was a co-winner of the 2002 Sherwood Anderson Award and was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize.  His screenplay Randle is Benign was selected for the 2013 Black List. Ober’s recent work includes his debut novel Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America and the screenplay for the forthcoming Far Bright Star (based on the novel by Robert Olmstead) directed by Casey Affleck.

Clifford Thompson

Clifford Thompson

Clifford Thompson (Visiting Faculty June 2017 – Nonfiction) is the author of Love for Sale and Other Essays (Autumn House Press), and the memoir Twin of Blackness (Autumn House Press). He served for more than ten years as editor in chief of Current Biography magazine and Wilson Biographies. His articles and essays have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Threepenny Review, Commonweal, Film Quarterly, and have been anthologized in Best American Movie Writing, among others. He is a winner of the Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction. He has taught at Columbia University and holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Oberlin College.

Monika Woods

Monika Woods

Monika Woods (Visiting Faculty June 2017 – Literary Agent) joined Curtis Brown, Ltd in February 2017. She is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course and has worked at Trident Media Group and InkWell Management, where she worked closely with leading voices in contemporary literature. Her interests include literary and commercial fiction and compelling non-fiction in food, popular culture, journalism, science, and current affairs. Monika is particularly excited about plot-driven literary novels, non-fiction that is creatively critical, unique perspectives, a great cookbook, and above all, original prose.