Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Fiction Faculty

Faculty List

Rick Bass is the author of over twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including WinterThe Deer PastureWild to the Heart, and The Book of Yaak. His first short story collection, The Watch, set in Texas, won the PEN/Nelson Algren Award, and his 2002 collection, The Hermit’s Story, was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Bass’s stories have also been awarded the Pushcart Prize and the O. Henry Award and have been collected in The Best American Short Stories.   He was a finalist for the Story Prize in 2007 for his short story collection The Lives of Rocks and for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography for Why I Came West (2008).  He lives in the Yaak Valley in Montana, where he serves on the board of the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Round River Conservation Studies.

Sarah Braunstein is the author of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children (W.W. Norton). The novel was a finalist for the 2011 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, and won the 2012 Maine Book Award for Fiction. In 2010 she was named one of “5 Under 35” fiction writers by the National Book Foundation, and she received a 2007 Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award. Her work has appeared in AGNIPloughshares, Post Road, The SunNylon MagazineMaine Magazine, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. She co-wrote a play, String Theory: Three Greek Myths Woven Together, which was produced in New York City in 2009 and at Vassar College in 2010. Sarah teaches at Harvard University Extension School and is currently a visiting professor of creative writing at Colby College. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an MSW from Smith College School for Social Work. 

Breena Clarke is the author of two historical novels set in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Her debut novel, River, Cross My Heart (1999) was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection. Clarke’s critically reviewed second novel, Stand the Storm, is set in mid-19th century Washington, D.C. and was chosen by the Washington Post Book Review as one of 100 best for 2008. She is a graduate (B.F.A.) of Howard University. Breena Clarke is co-author with Glenda Dickerson of the play Remembering Aunt Jemina: A Menstrual Show, anthologized in Contemporary Plays by Women of Color and Colored Contradictions, An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays. Her short fiction is included in Black Silk, A Collection of African American Erotica, and Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience. Breena Clarke is an advisor to the board of A Room of Her Own Foundation and has offered writing workshops at AROHO retreats at Ghost Ranch in 2003, 2005 and 2011. She has recently completed a novel that is set in a mixed-race community in 19th century New Jersey.

Jaed Muncharoen Coffin is the author of the memoir A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants (Da Capo Press/ Perseus 08) which chronicles the time he spent as a Buddhist monk in his mother's native village in Thailand. Reviewed in The Los Angeles Times and in a cover story in the Boston GlobeA Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants is now taught in the multicultural curriculum at several colleges and universities including Brown, St. Michael's, Middlebury, and University of Maine, Farmington. Jaed was recently honored as a resident fellow at The Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, where he researched his forthcoming novel, Roughhouse Friday (based on his career as the middleweight champion of an Alaskan barroom boxing circuit). A recipient of a Maine Literary Award, a Ron Brown Fellowship, and a Meyer Grant, Jaed has recently accepted fellowships at The Breadloaf School of English and Franklin & Marshall’s 2009 Emerging Writers Festival. A native of Brunswick, Jaed holds a BA in Philosophy from Middlebury College and an MFA in Fiction from Stonecoast. He now lives in Portland, Maine.

Susan Conley is the author of, Paris Was the Place (Knopf  2013) an Indie Next Pick, an Amazon Fall Big Books Fiction Selection and an Elle Magazine Readers Prize Selection. People Magazine called it “a satisfying cassoulet of questions about home, comfort and love, served with a fresh perspective on a dazzling city.” Her memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf 2011), won the Maine Literary Award for Memoir, was excerpted in the New York Times Magazine and was an Oprah Magazine Top Ten Pick of the Month. Other work of hers has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Huffington Post, Ploughshares, The Harvard Review and elsewhere. She’s received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Breadloaf Writers Conference, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. A former faculty member at Emerson College, she also teaches at Colby College and is a contributing writing to Maine Magazine. In addition, she’s the co-founder of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing lab in Portland, Maine, where she lives with her husband and two boys.

David Anthony Durham is the author of six novels: The Sacred BandThe Other LandsAcacia (John W Campbell Award Winner, Finalist for the Prix Imaginales), Pride of Carthage (Finalist for 2006 Legacy Award), Walk Through Darkness (NY Times Notable Book) and Gabriel’s Story (NY Times Notable Book, 2002 Legacy Award Winner). His novels have been published in the UK and in French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Three of his novels have been optioned for development as feature films. His recent short fiction appears in Fort FreakIt’s All Love,  and Intimacy: Erotic Stories of Love, Lust, and Marriage by Black Men. He has reviewed for The Washington PostThe Raleigh News & Observer, and has served as a judge for the Pen/Faulkner Awards. David received his M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Maryland.

Aaron Hamburger was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his short story collection The View from Stalin's Head(Random House, 2004), also nominated for a Violet Quill Award. His next book, a novel titled Faith for Beginners (Random House, 2005), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Poets and WritersTin HouseDetailsBoulevard,The Forward, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from The Corporation of Yaddo and the Djerassi Artists Program. Currently he teaches writing at Columbia University, NYU, and Stonecoast.

Elizabeth Hand Elizabeth Hand's genre-spanning work includes psychological suspense, fantasy and science fiction for both adults and younger readers,  as well as historical and mainstream fiction.  Her novels and short stories have garnered numerous awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award, three World Fantasy Awards, two Nebula Awards, and the James M. Tiptree Award, and have been selected as Notable Books by both the New York Times and the Washington Post.  She is also a longtime critic and essayist for the Washington Post, Salon, the VIllage Voice, and DownEast Magazine, among others.  She has been awarded a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship and in 2012 will be Master Artist in Residence at Florida's  Atlantic Center for the Arts.  Her thriller Available Dark, sequel to the award-winning Generation Loss, will be out early next year, as will Radiant Days, a YA novel about the poet Arthur Rimbaud.  She lives on the Maine coast.

David Mura is a creative nonfiction writer, poet, fiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist.  Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei (Grove-Atlantic), which won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was listed in the New York Times Notable Books of Year, and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity (Anchor).   His three books of poetry are Angels for the Burning (Boa), The Colors of Desire (Anchor, Carl Sandburg Literary Award), and, After We Lost Our Way (Carnegie Mellon), which won the 1989 National Poetry Series Contest.  His book of critical essays is Song for Uncle Tom, Tonto & Mr. Moto: Poetry & Identity (U. of Michigan Press).  His novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the John Gardner Fiction Prize and Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award, was published in Sept. 2008 from Coffee House Press.  Mura's essays on race and multiculturalism have appeared in Mother Jones and The New York Times.  His plays include Secret Colors (with novelist Alexs Pate),The Winged Seed, adapted from Li-Young Lee's memoir, and After Hours (with actor Kelvin Han Yee and pianist Jon Jang).

Alexs Pate is the author of five novels including the New York Times Bestseller Amistad, commissioned by Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks/SKG and based on the screenplay by David Franzoni. Other novels include Losing Absalom, Finding MakebaThe Multicultiboho Sideshow and West of Rehoboth, which was selected as “Honor Fiction Book” for 2002 by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Alexs’s first book of nonfiction, In The Heart of the Beat: The Poetry of Rap was published by Scarecrow Press January 2010. His memoir, The Past is Perfect: Memoir of a Father/Son Reunion will be published next year by Coffee House Press. An excerpt of the memoir appears in the Fall 2007 edition of Black Renaissance Noire. Alexs’s poetry collection,Innocent, was published in 1998. Alexs is an Assistant Professor in African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches courses in writing and black literature, including a course on “The Poetry of Rap.” He is currently at work on two novels,The Slide and a story about a black pirate captain, Adventures of the Black Arrow: Search for Libertalia

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of Wench: A Novel, published by Amistad/HarperCollins in 2010. USA Today called the book “deeply moving” and “beautifully written.” People called it “a devastatingly beautiful account of a cruel past.” O, The Oprah Magazine chose it as a Top Ten Pick of the Month, and NPR named it a top 5 book club pick of 2010. Dolen's fiction has appeared in The Kenyon ReviewStoryQuarterlyStorySouth, and elsewhere. In 2011, she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She was also awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. A graduate of Harvard and a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, Dolen lives in Washington, DC with her family.

Elizabeth Searle  is author of three books of fiction, a new novel (2011) and several works for theater. Her books are: Celebrities in Disgrace, a novella which was produced as a short film from Bravo Sierra in 2010; A Four-Sided Bed, a novel nominated for an American Library Association book award and re-released in new paperback/eBook versions in 2011; and a story collection, My Body to You, winner of the Iowa Short  Fiction Prize (also forthcoming in a new paperback/eBook version). Her new novel Girl Held in Home was published in 2011 from New Rivers Press. Her short film, with script co-written by Elizabeth, has screened in festivals across the country.  Tonya & Nancy: The Opera, Elizabeth's chamber opera, premiered in the American Repertory Theater's Zero Arrow to national coverage including ESPN Hollywood, MSNBC and NPR; the opera was chosen as one of the top three operas of the year by Opera Vista and was most recently performed in 2010 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, with previews 'on ice.'

Suzanne Strempek Shea is the author of five novels: Selling the Lite of Heaven, Hoopi Shoopi Donna, Lily of the Valley, Around Again, and Becoming Finola,published by Washington Square Press.  She has also written three memoirs: Songs From a Lead-lined Room: Notes - High and Low - From My Journey Through Breast Cancer and Radiation, andShelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama and Other Page-Turning Adventures From a Year in a Bookstore, published by Beacon Press; and Sundays in America, for which she spent a year attending services at Protestant churches nationwide.  Winner of the 2000 New England Book Award, which recognizes a literary body of works’ contribution to the region, Suzanne began writing while working as reporter for the Springfield (Massachusetts) Newspapers and theProvidence Journal (Rhode Island). Her freelance work has appeared in Yankee magazine, The Bark Magazine, The Boston Globe MagazineThe Philadelphia InquirerOrganic Style, and ESPN the Magazine.