Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing


Introduction to the Stonecoast Faculty

The connection between students and faculty is the cornerstone of our community. During their first year in the program, Stonecoast students typically work with six faculty members. Compare that to a traditional residential MFA program, where students work with only four faculty members in two years. Not only do Stonecoast students have access to the wisdom of a multitude of writers, but being exposed to a broad aesthetic range helps student unlock the singular power of their own voice.

Stonecoast faculty are valued and renowned not only for their talent and success as writers but also because they are approachable and encouraging teachers who create a nurturing, adventurous, and inspiring atmosphere for literary creativity. Stonecoast faculty serve on panels with students, socialize with them, and mentor them outside of the workshop, maintaining high literary standards and challenging students with a model of the joyful discipline of the writing life.

Stonecoast faculty have earned so many major literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, a Lannan Foundation Grant, the Latino Heritage Award in Literature, the American Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Guggenheim Fellowships, the Astraea Award from the Lesbian Action Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and the Whiting Writer's Award. Faculty have also won the Hugo Award from the World Science Fiction Society, made national Best-Seller lists and been selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club. 

BassRick Bass (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Writing for Social Change) is the author of over twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including Winter, The Deer Pasture, Wild 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. 

JMBJeanne Marie Beaumont (Poetry) is a Philadelphia area native who moved to New York City in 1983. She earned an MFA in Writing from Columbia University. Her most recent book is Burning of the Three Fires (BOA Editions, 2010). Her first book, Placebo Effects, selected by William Matthews as a National Poetry Series winner, was published by W.W. Norton in 1997. Her second, Curious Conduct, was published by BOA Editions in 2004. Her fourth book of poetry, Letters from Limbo, will be published by CavanKerry Press in 2016. With Claudia Carlson, she co-edited the anthology The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales (Story Line, 2003). Her poems have been included in over thirty anthologies and textbooks, including Good Poems for Hard Times, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 20th Annual Collection, Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the World's Most Popular Poetry Website, and The Norton Introduction to Literature, 9th ed.Journals in which her work has appeared include Boston Review, Court Green, Harper's, Harvard Review, Manhattan Review, The Nation, New Letters, Ploughshares, and World Literature Today, among many others. Her poem "Afraid So" was made into a short film by filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt and has been screened at the Museum of Modern Art and numerous galleries and film festivals since 2006, garnering several awards. From 1992 to 2000, she was a co-editor of American Letters & Commentary. She has taught at Rutgers University and at The Frost Place, where she served as director for the Frost Place Advanced Seminar. She is currently an instructor at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York City. 

Sarah Braunstein (Fiction, Writing for Social Change)is the author of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children (W.W. Norton), winner of the 2012 Maine Book Award for Fiction. The novel was a finalist for the 2011 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and an Oprah Magazine Top Ten Pick of the Month. In 2010 Sarah 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 The New Yorker, AGNIPloughshares, FiveChapters, 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 has taught at Harvard University Extension and Summer Schools, at the Stanford University Online Writer’s Studio, and at Colby College. She is currently the Coastal Studies Scholar at Bowdoin College, where she teaches in the Gender & Women’s Studies Department. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an MSW from Smith College School for Social Work. 

Breena Clarke (Fiction) is the author of three historical novels. 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. Her most recent novel, Angels Make Their Hope Here, is set in an imagined tri-racial community in the highlands of New Jersey. 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 is co-organizer of the Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers now in its third year.


Susan ConleySusan Conley's (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Writing for Social Change) novel, Paris Was the Place (Knopf  2013) is 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, shes the co-founder of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing lab in Portland, Maine, where she lives with her husband and two boys. 

Ted Deppe

Ted Deppe (Poetry, Coordinator of Stonecoast in Ireland) was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and presently lives in County Galway, Ireland. He is the author of four books of poetry: Children of the Air (Alice James Books, 1990), The Wanderer King (Alice James, 1996), Cape Clear: New and Selected Poems (Salmon Books, Ireland, 2002), and Orpheus on the Red Line (Tupelo Press, 2009). His poetry has been published widely on both sides of the Atlantic, and his work has been recognized by a Pushcart Prize, two NEA grants, and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Commission and the Connecticut Council on the Arts. He has been writer in residence at the James Merrill House in Stonington, CT, the Poets’ House in Donegal, Ireland, and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Ted is the coordinator of the Stonecoast in Ireland program. 

David Anthony Durham (Fiction, Popular Fiction) is the author of six novels: The Sacred Band, The Other Lands, Acacia (John W Campbell Award Winner, Finalist for the Prix Imaginales), Pride of Carthage (Finalist for the Legacy Award), Walk Through Darkness (NY Times Notable Book) and Gabriel’s Story (NY Times Notable Book, Legacy Award Winner). His writing ranges from literary novels of the African-American experience, to historical fiction set in the ancient world, to fantasy and science fiction. He writes for the Wild Cards series of collaborative novels, edited by George RR Martin, with stories appearing in Fort Freak, Lowball and forthcoming in Highstakes. His short fiction has been anthologized in Unbound, Unfettered, It’s All Love, Intimacy: Erotic Stories of Love, Lust, and Marriage by Black Men, and in Gumbo: A Celebration of African American Writing. His novels have been published in French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Four of his novels have been optioned for development as feature films. His next novel, The Risen, is scheduled for publication in 2016.

Martin Espada

Martín Espada (Poetry, Writing for Social Change) Called“the Latino poet of his generation” and “the Pablo Neruda of North American authors,” Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published more than fifteen books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His new collection of poems is called The Trouble Ball (Norton, 2011). The Republic of Poetry, a collection published by Norton in 2006, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. An earlier book of poems, Imagine the Angels of Bread (Norton, 1996), won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, the USA Simon Fellowship and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Espada is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

T Clutch Fleischmann (Creative Nonfiction) is the author of Syzygy, Beauty: An Essay, available from Sarabande Books. After growing up in the Midwest, they received an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa and went on to publish work in Fourth Genre, The Brooklyn Rail, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Indiana Review, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, and other publications. A Nonfiction Editor at DIAGRAM and book reviewer, they currently live in rural Tennessee.

Theodora Goss

Theodora Goss (Popular Fiction) was born in Hungary, and her writing reflects an Eastern European literary tradition in which the real and fantastical intertwine.  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; The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a novella in a two‑sided accordion format; and the poetry collection Songs for Ophelia (2014).  Her short stories, essays, and poems have been published in both literary and genre magazines and anthologies, including numerous “Year’s Best” collections.  Her work has been translated into ten languages, including French, Japanese, and Turkish. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, Seiun, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. Her short story "Singing of Mount Abora" (2007) won the World Fantasy Award.  She received a JD from Harvard, and an MA and PhD in English Literature from Boston University.  In addition to being a Stonecoast faculty member, she is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Boston University College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program, where she teaches expository and creative writing.


Aaron HamburgerAaron Hamburger (Fiction, Popular Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) 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), also nominated for a Violet Quill Award. His next book, a novel titled FAITH FOR BEGINNERS (Random House), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, 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 Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and the George Washington University. 


Elizabeth HandElizabeth Hand (Popular Fiction, Fiction) is the author of fourteen cross-genre novels and four collections of short fiction.  Her work has received the World Fantasy Award (four times), the Nebula Award (twice), the Shirley Jackson Award (twice), and the James M. Tiptree Jr. and Mythopoeic Society Awards.  With Paul Witcover, she created Anima, the 1990s series which featured DC' Comic’s first openly gay character, and she has written novelizations for several films, including Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys, as well as a popular series of Star Wars books for middle-grade readers. She’s been a resident at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Norton Island Residency Program, and is the recipient of an Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the Maine Arts Commission/NEA.  She's also a longtime critic and contributor of essays for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Salon, and the Village Voice, among others.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in cultural anthropology from Catholic University, with a minor in playwriting.  She divides her time between the Maine coast and North London, the setting for Hard Light, the third noir novel featuring Cass Neary, forthcoming in 2015.  


Nancy HolderNancy Holder (Popular Fiction) is the New York Times bestselling co-author of the young adult dark fantasy series, Wicked, which was optioned by DreamWorks. She has received five Bram Stoker awards, a Scribe Award, and a Young Adult Pioneer Award, and her book has appeared on reading lists for the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, and the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age. She writes in a variety of genres such as horror, fantasy, romance, mystery, and science fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in many “Best of” anthologies. She has written novels, short stories, novellas, and episode guidebooks for established intellectual properties that include Beauty and the Beast, Hellboy, Smallville, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Saving Grace, Zorro, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, and many others. She also writes movie novelizations; forthcoming is Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak. She is an editor and writer for Moonstone Books, working on comic books, graphic novels, and pulp fiction. She writes essays and articles for popular culture publishers such as BenBella Books (Finding Serenity and others) and I.B. Taurus (Cult TV.)  She is the current vice president of the Horror Writers Association and a columnist for the Science Fiction Writers of America Bulletin


Amanda Johnston earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. Her poetry and interviews have appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, Kinfolks Quarterly, Muzzle, Pluck! and the anthologies, Small Batch, di-ver-city and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. The recipient of multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, she is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. Johnston is a Stonecoast MFA faculty member, a co-founder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founding executive director of Torch Literary Arts.


James Patrick KellyJames Patrick Kelly (Popular Fiction) has written novels, short stories, essays, reviews, poetry, audioplays, and planetarium shows.  His books include Burn (2005), Strange But Not A Stranger (2002), Think Like A Dinosaur and Other Stories (1997), Wildlife (1994), Heroines (1990), Look Into The Sun (1989), Freedom Beach (in collaboration with John Kessel, 1986) and Planet of Whispers (1984). Although he is primarily known for his science fiction, his work also includes mainstream, fantasy, and horror. His audioplays have been produced by's Seeing Ear Theater and he writes a regular Internet column for Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.  His planetarium show, "Destiny or Discovery," premiered at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in 1992.  His books have been reprinted in France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Finland, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Japan, Brazil, Thailand, Croatia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic.  His short stories have appeared in numerous "Best of the Year" collections over the past twenty-six years, and he has won the World Science Fiction Society's Hugo award twice and has been a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula. 

Michael Kimball

Michael Kimball (Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting)  is a novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He is the recipient of the 2014 John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award (New England Theatre Conference) for his play Duck and Cover, which was also named BEST PLAY in the Northern Writes Festival (Bangor, Maine) and BEST PLAY in the 2014 Dezart Performs Festival of New Plays (Palm Springs,CA). His play Ghosts of Ocean House was nominated for the 2007 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, and his novel Undone received the Fresh Talent Award in the U.K. and was a London Times' bestseller in 1996. Michael has sold original screenplays and adaptations to movie companies and written episodes for the TV series Monsters.

Debra MarquartDebra Marquart (Creative Nonfiction, Poetry) is the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University and the senior editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment. Marquart is the author of five books, including three poetry collections—Small Buried Things, Everything's a Verb, and From Sweetness—and a short story collection, The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories, which draws on her experiences as a female road musician.   Marquart’s memoir, The Horizontal World: Growing up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere, received the "Elle Lettres" award from Elle Magazine and the 2007 PEN USA Creative Nonfiction Award. 

Marquart’s work has been featured on three NPR programs: “All Things Considered,” “The Writer’s Almanac,” and “Tom Ashbrook’s On Point.”  Her work has received numerous awards including the John Guyon Nonfiction Award, the Shelby Foote Prize for the Essay, a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Creative Writing Prose Fellowship, the 2013 Wachtmeister Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Normal Poetry Prize from The Normal School, and the 2014 Paumanok Poetry Award.  Her work has appeared in numerous journals including The North American Review, Three Penny Review, New Letters, River City, Crab Orchard Review, Narrative Magazine, The Sun, The Normal School, River Styx, Orion, and Witness

A co-editor of Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Prose Sequence (forthcoming from White Pine Press in 2016), Marquart is currently at work on “The Future Eaters,” a research nonfiction project about the oil boom in North Dakota; and “Schizophonia: Notes on a Life in Music,” an acoustic ecology on the art of listening, an autobiography of dreaming and catastrophe, and a meditation on the pleasures of making and performing music.


Stephen MotikaStephen Motika (Poetry) was born in Santa Monica, California. His first book of poems, Western Practice, was published in 2012. He is also the author of two chapbooks, Arrival and at Mono (2007) and In the Madrones (2011), and editor of Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman (2009). His articles and poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, At Length, BOMB, The Brooklyn Review, The Constant Critic, Eleven Eleven, Maggy, The Poetry Project Newsletter,, Vanitas, among other publications. His collaboration with artist Dianna Frid, “The Field,” was on view at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 2003. He holds degrees from Vassar and Brooklyn Colleges. He has held residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace, Millay Colony for the Arts, and ZK/U in Berlin. He has taught at the Indiana University Writer’s Conference, Lehman College of the City University of New York, and Naropa University. He is the publisher of Nightboat Books and the Artistic Director of Poets House in New York City. 


Dolen Perkins ValdezDolen Perkins-Valdez (Fiction) 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 Review, StoryQuarterly, StorySouth, 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

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) is the author of four books of fiction, most recently Girl Held in Home, and the playwright and creator of Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera, a show that has drawn national media attention and that is being produced at the New York Musical Festival in NYC in 2015.  Elizabeth has a new novel forthcoming in 2016.  Her previous books are Celebrities in Disgrace, produced as a short film; A Four-Sided Bed, a novel nominated for an ALA Book Award and in development as a feature film with Elizabeth's prize-winning script, and My Body to You, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize.  Elizabeth's theater works have been featured on Good Morning America, CBS, CNN, NPR, the AP and more. Her opera and rock opera have been produced in Hollywood, Boston, Portland OR, Minneapolis and more.  Elizabeth's one-act play, Stolen Girl Song, premiered in 2013.  Elizabeth has published over 30 stories in Ploughshares, Redbook and more and has work in over a dozen anthologies including three in 2015.  She has an MFA from Brown. Elizabeth has taught at Stonecoast MFA for over 10 years. 


Brandon Som (Poetry) is the author of the chapbook Babel’s Moon, winner of the Tupelo Press Snowbound Prize. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, and Octopus Magazine. He has received fellowships to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. A PhD candidate at the University of Southern California, he lives in Los Angeles.

Suzanne Strempek Shea

Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) 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, and Shelf 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 the Providence Journal (Rhode Island). Her freelance work has appeared in Yankee magazine, The Bark Magazine, The Boston Globe Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Organic Style, and ESPN the Magazine. 


To read sample descriptions from Faculty and Guest Faculty Presentations given during Stonecoast residencies click here.