As the Stonecoast MFA program expands to foster new opportunities and global connections, we are fortunate to welcome new faculty and staff to our Stonecoast Community. Meet Megan Frazer Blakemore, Breena Clarke, Susan Conley, Theodora Goss, Matt Jones, Marjorie Liu, and Alexandra Oliver.
Megan Frazer Blakemore (Popular Fiction, Young Adult) is an author for children and young adults. Her Young Adult novel, Secrets of Truth & Beauty, was published by Disney‑Hyperion in July of 2009. It earned positive reviews including a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, which called it “a beautifully written coming of age story.” Her debut Middle Grade novel, The Water Castle, (Walker Books for Young Readers January 2013) has also garnered strong reviews. In a starred review, Kirkus wrote: “Weaving legacy and myth into science and magic, old into new and enemies into friends, Blakemore creates an exquisite mystery. … This one is special.” Megan lives with her husband and children in Maine where she is a school librarian. She graduated from Columbia with a degree in English and was in the first class to complete the Undergraduate Creative Writing Certificate Program. She earned her Master’s in Library Science from Simmons GSLIS.
Breena Clarke (Fiction)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.
Susan Conley (Creative Nonfiction) is the author of the memoir The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf 2011), an Oprah Magazine “Top Ten Pick” and Slate Magazine’s "Book of the Week." The memoir was excerpted in The New York Times Magazine, The Daily Beast, and Middlebury Magazine. It also won the 2012 Maine Literary Award for memoir. Susan taught creative writing and literature seminars at Emerson College for five years in addition to leading workshops for Harvard’s Teachers as Scholars Program. She has received two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, a Breadloaf Writers Workshop Fellowship and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant. Other work of hers has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, The Huffington Post, The North American Review, Ploughshares and numerous other magazines. She is a founder of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing lab in Portland, Maine where she continues to teach. Her forthcoming novel Paris Was the Place (Knopf) will be published in July of 2013.
Theodora Goss (Popular Fiction) was born in Hungary and spent her childhood in various European countries before her family moved to the United States. Although she grew up on the classics of English literature, her writing has been influenced by an Eastern European literary tradition in which the boundaries between realism and the fantastic are often ambiguous. Her publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a novella in a two-sided accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy Award.
Matt Jones (Administrative Assistant) is a graduate of Cornell University and has worked as a film researcher, audiovisual specialist, and personal assistant to a Broadway lyricist. Most recently, Matt worked with Barbara Kelly at the USM Bookstore. Matt lives in Portland with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys reading all things illuminating, of late this includes mostly non-fiction, children's, middle reader and young adult fiction (thanks to his daughters), essays and short stories. His other hobbies include tennis, photography, carpentry and biking.
Marjorie Liu (Popular Fiction) attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin for her undergraduate studies, majoring in East Asian Languages and Cultures, with a minor in Biomedical Ethics. She then attended law school at the University of Wisconsin. For more than fifteen years, Marjorie studied and traveled throughout Asia, working briefly at the US Embassy in Beijing, China -- and in 2004 she gave up practicing law to become a full-time writer. Her paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels have made her a New York Times Bestselling author, and she also writes for Marvel Comics, including the X-Men spin-off NYX, Daken: Dark Wolverine (with Daniel Way), Black Widow, and X-23. She is the current writer of Astonishing X-Men, which received national media attention last year for featuring the gay wedding of X-Man Northstar and his boyfriend, and was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for its "outstanding representation of the LGBT Community". Marjorie divides her time between Boston, Indiana, and Beijing, China.
Alexandra Oliver (Poetry) Born in Vancouver, Canada, Alexandra Oliver has been nominated for a CBC Literary Award and two Pushcart Prizes. She has published in numerous journals worldwide, and is the author of Raisonettees (New Jerusalem Press, 1993), Where the English Housewife Shines (2007, Tin Press London) and Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway, (slated for release in 2013 by Biblioasis). Oliver has read her poems on CBC Radio One and NPR, and was a featured performer and interviewee in the 1998 documentary, Slam Nation. She has taught and led workshops in high schools, colleges, cultural organizations and prisons. Her interests include form, ekphrasis, translation, performance, and creating poetry syllabi for ESL speakers, seniors, victims of violence, and at-risk youth. Oliver is currently co-editing (with Annie Finch) an anthology of poetry in non-iambic meters. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Stonecoast and an M.A. in Drama/Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto.