MFA grads Cinelle Barnes, Paul Michael Garrison and Rhonda Browning White have a lot to celebrate this year. Cinelle Barnes published her newest book, Malaya, and she was featured in an article in Charleston City Paper. Rhonda Browning White’s award-winning short story collection, The Lightness of Water and Other Stories, was recently published and met with excellent reviews. Paul Michael Garrison’s new novel, Letters to the Editor, is also coming out early this month.
Director of MFA & BFA Creative Writing, Professor Rick Mulkey, said, “The MFA program is so proud of the accomplishments of all our graduates who have published new books this year. There have been more than 30 books and chapbooks published by MFA graduates over the last five years.” Cinelle Barnes’ mentor, Associate Professor of English, Professor Susan Tekulve, said, “Cinelle is an ideal writing student, a graceful human being, and a solid literary citizen. When she began the MFA program in creative nonfiction at Converse, she came with a powerful story to tell, and a whole lot of raw talent. Over the course of three years, she steadily honed her writing skills, but she also built a solid community of friends and colleagues in the program. She was always open to criticism of her work, and always open to reading recommendations. She was quite a champion of her peers and their work, too.
By the time she finished the program, she had a sturdy working draft of her first memoir, Monsoon Mansion, which is an incandescent book that has been lauded internationally. She’s used this success wisely and generously. Now that her new book of essays has come out, I still hear from her from time to time, and always she tells me how much she misses everyone from the Converse program. The next time she comes to Spartanburg, I expect that she’ll make time to have coffee with me so that we can update each other about our lives, swap book titles, and talk about our latest projects.”