Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Stonecoast Alumni

Stonecoast’s alumni network of accomplished writers spans the United States and crosses the globe. A student who graduates from Stonecoast is welcomed into an ever-growing community of talented creative writers who are shaping the current and future literary world in a myriad of ways.

Stonecoast alumni have gone on to achieve literary success with publications in Best American Essays, Best New Poets 2012, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and numerous other significant publications.  They have signed book contracts with Da Capo Press, Pocket Books, Random House, and many others. Their awards and recognition include the Pushcart Prize, Golden Heart Finalist, Missouri Review Award, Cave Canem Award, Rona Jaffe Award, and National Book Award Finalist. Stonecoast alumni also work as editors, publishers, and writing consultants, and hold teaching positions at community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and major universities across the United States.

The Stonecoast Alumni Association helps alumni stay connected through organized retreats and readings and connects alumni with opportunities such as panel presentations at residencies and readings at major literary conferences.  Virtual and physical alumni peer writing groups, and social media channels such as the Friends of Stonecoast Facebook group and the Stonecoast Community Blog, also help maintain the spirit of community and collaboration formed during Stonecoast residencies so that it can grow and flourish as alumni move into the wider literary world.

View photos from past Stonecoast Graduation ceremonies. 

The following profiles offer just a sampling of the achievements of Stonecoast’s accomplished Alumni.

Jennifer Clement grew up in Mexico City, Mexico.  She studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French literature in Paris, France.  She was President of PEN Mexico from 2009 to 2012. Clement is the author of the cult classic memoir Widow Basquiat (on the painter Jean Michel Basquiat) and three novels: Prayers for the Stolen, A True Story Based on Lies, which was a finalist in the Orange Prize for Fiction, and The Poison That Fascinates. She is also the author of several books of poetry: The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin); Newton’s Sailor; Lady of the Broom and Jennifer Clement: New and Selected Poems. Her prize-winning story A Salamander-Child is published as an art book with work by the Mexican painter Gustavo Monroy. Jennifer Clement was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship for Literature in 2012 for her novel Prayers for the Stolen. She is also the recipient of the UK’s Canongate Prize. In 2007, she received a MacDowell Fellowship and the MacDowell Colony named her the Robert and Stephanie Olmsted Fellow for 2007-08. Clement is a member of Mexico’s prestigious“Sistema Nacional de Creadores.” This year she has been honored with the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award and a Santa Maddalena Fellowship. Jennifer Clement, along with her sister Barbara Sibley, is the founder and director The San Miguel Poetry Week.

Anthony D'Aries' memoir, The Language of Men (Hudson Whitman Press, 2012), received the PEN/New England Discovery Prize in nonfiction, Honorable Mention for the New England Book Award, and was recently featured in the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post, and Newsday. His work has appeared in The Literary Review, Solstice: a Magazine of Diverse Voices, The Good Men Project, Shelf Awareness, and elsewhere. Anthony served as Randolph College's 2011 Emerging Writer-in-Residence. A graduate of the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA program, he currently teaches literacy and creative writing in correctional facilities in Massachusetts, as well as literature and creative writing at Regis and Emerson College. Visit

Erin Enberg is a freelance filmmaker working in Maine and NYC. Her full-length script Rock N’ Roll & The Immortal Soul, which was completed during her time at Stonecoast, was requested by The Sundance Film Institute. She has also worked on a collection of flash fiction pieces set in World War II and recently turned one into a short film called Arabel, co-directed and produced with Jayson Lobozzo ( Arabel will premiere in February, 2013 and is currently one of the top trailers on She just finished another short script that will begin production in January 2013, and is working on a project about the Beastie Boys. Her flash piece “Desert Dry” was published in Kerouac’s Dog Magazine and her short play “Desert Drinks” (loosely based on the short story and written with Holly Nunan and Olivia Ruhlin) was performed as part of the Portfringe Festival in the summer of 2012. Follow Erin at and check out her work at

Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez collaborates with artists in theatre, music, and visual art. Her collection, the small claim of bones, is forthcoming from Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe (Arizona State University). Poems and reviews have appeared in Borderlands, Calyx, Harvard’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, UNAM’s Periódico de poesía, Portland Review, Quiddity, Rain Taxi, Rattle, Windfall, and ZYZZYVA, among others. She has performed her Aztec-inspired poetry accompanied by pre-Hispanic music at AWP and through Humanities Washington. A staged reading of her new play A Dialogue of Flower & Song, co-sponsored by the University of Portland and Portland State University, was featured in the 2012 Conference on Spanish and Latin American Women’s Studies (GEMELA) and in the Miracle Theatre’s 2012 La Luna Nueva festival.  She teaches creative writing to adults and to youth through the Portland Art Museum, the Right Brain Initiative, and Writers in the Schools.  Cindy lives in the hinterlands of Oregon City with her artist husband who paints Oregon landscapes.

Lexa Hillyer received her BA in English from Vassar College and her MFA in poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Her first book, Acquainted with the Cold (Bona Fide Books, 2012) won the 2011 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared recently in Best New Poets 2012 as well as Alligator Juniper, Albatross, Bloodroot Literary, and Spillway. She had four finalists in the 2011 Sow’s Ear Review Contest and won the Inaugural Poetry Prize from Tusculum Review and First Prize in Poetry from Brick & Mortar Review. Lexa edited novels at Harper Collins and Penguin, and now runs boutique literary incubator Paper Lantern Lit. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and one very skinny orange tree.

Zachary Jernigan is a science fiction and fantasy author living in the state of Arizona, the land of awesome weather. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Crossed Genres, and Escape Pod. He has been twice nominated for the Pushcart and once shortlisted for the Spectrum Award. His first novel, No Return, came out from Night Shade Books in the spring of 2013. Please visit him at

Lissa Kiernan is the author of Two Faint Lines in the Violet, published by Negative Capability Press in 2014. Her book-length braided essay, Glass Needles & Goose Quills: Elementary Lessons in Atomic Properties, Nuclear Families, and Radical Poetics, is forthcoming from Haley’s.Lissa is the founder and director of The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative, a leading provider of online poetry workshops, senior director of online communications for World Monuments Fund, a non-profit organization specializing in architectural preservation, and editor emeritus for Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal, where she served from 2006-2012. Along with her MFA from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine, Lissa holds an MA in Media Studies from The New School.Born in Athol, Massachusetts, she currently makes her home in Brooklyn, New York. Please visit for more.

Kim Dana Kupperman is the author of an essay collection, I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence (Graywolf, 2010), selected by Sue Halpern for the 2009 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize in Nonfiction. She is also the lead editor of You. An Anthology of Essays Devoted to the Second Person (Welcome Table Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in numerous national journals, including AGNI online, Alimentum, the Baltimore ReviewBest American Essays 2006Brevity, the Cimarron ReviewFourth GenreHotel Amerika, the Ninth LetterRiver Teeth, and elsewhere. Honors include notable mentions in the Pushcart Prize XXXI anthology and Best American Essays 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011; the 2004 Robert J. DeMott Prose Prize from Quarter after Eight; and first place in the 1996 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest. Ms. Kupperman is the recipient of a 2009 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Individual Literature Fellowship, a 2008 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship, and a 2008 Center for Book Arts scholarship for emerging writers. She is the founder of Welcome Table Press, a nonprofit independent press dedicated to publishing and celebrating the essay. She teaches creative writing at Fordham University and in Fairfield University's low-residency MFA program.

Ellen Meeropol began seriously studying and writing fiction in her fifties. In 2005, she left her career as a pediatric nurse practitioner to write, and work part-time in an independent bookstore. Publishers Weekly gave her debut novel, House Arrest (Red Hen, 2011) a starred review, calling it “thoughtful and tightly composed, unflinching in taking on challenging subjects and deliberating uneasy ethical conundrums.” Her short stories and essays have been published in Bridges, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, Shaking Magazine, Beyond the Margins, Women’s Times, Off Our Backs and others. She writes and lectures about political issues in contemporary literary fiction and teaches workshops on writing fiction of social justice (AWP, Grub Street, Writers in Progress, San Miguel Literary Festival). She is a founding member of the Rosenberg Fund for Children and author of their dramatic program “Celebrate.” Ellen lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband Robby and their cats Lupine and Coreopsis. Visit her online at

Laura Navarre writes dark medieval and Renaissance romance with a paranormal twist. A member of Romance Writers of America and winner of the 2012 Pacific Northwest Writers Association award for romance, the Emily Award for Excellence, the Golden Pen and other awards, Laura’s newest releases are her epic medieval romance By Royal Command (Harlequin/Carina, July 2012) and her sexy romantic suspense The Russian Seduction (Affluent Press, October 2012, writing as Nikki Navarre).  Her next release for Harlequin is Magick by Moonrise (March 2013), the series launch for a dark Tudor romance trilogy with elements of Arthurian legend and fallen angel heroes. Living on an island in Puget Sound with her screenwriter husband and Siberian cats, Laura divides her time between her writing career and other adventures for government clients. Visit her at

Helen Peppe is the former editor of Eastern Equerry and Wordplay Magazine. Her short stories, articles, and photographs have appeared in anthologies and magazines, including The Goodmen Project, Pop Fic Review, Practical Horseman, Equus, Dog Fancy, Dog World, Dressage Today, Equine Journal, The Horse, Lynx Eye, Mused Literary Review and Cats Magazine.  Several of her short stories and photographs appear in text books and educational media. Helen is the author of the limited edition Live on Stage: A History of the State Theater and creator of The Maine Stable Guide, published annually between 1995 and 2005. Her personal essay “Nomenclature” placed first in the Word Worth 2009 Essay and Fiction Contest, and two excerpts from her memoir, Naked, Finding my Feet, placed first in The Starving Writer Literary contest, May 2010 and August 2010.  Her essay “The American Eagle”, from her memoir was a finalist for the 2011 Annie Dillard Creative Nonfiction Award, and she’s finaled in both the 2011 and 2012 Maine Literary Awards. She has an M.F.A. in creative writing and her memoir Pigs Can’t Swim will be out in fall 2013 by DaCapo Press.

Patricia Smith is the author of five books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, included in the list of the Library Journal's Best Poetry Books of 2008, and one of NPR's top five books of 2008; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection, winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and's Best Poetry Book of 2006. She also authored the ground-breaking history Africans in America and the award-winning children's book Janna and the Kings. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly and many other journals, and she has been performed around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Poets Stage in Stockholm, Rotterdam’s Poetry International, the Aran Islands International Poetry and Prose Festival, the Bahia Festival, the Schomburg Center and on tour in Germany, Austria and Holland. She is a Pushcart Prize winner and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition's history. She is a professor at the City University of New York/College of Staten Island, and is on the faculty of both Cave Canem and the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.

Robert E. Stutts is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of the Creative Writing program at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. He received his B.A. in English from Francis Marion University, his M.A. in English from Clemson University, and his MFA in popular fiction from Stonecoast MFA at the University of Southern Maine. His creative work has appeared recently in Daily Science Fiction, Fantastique Unfettered, Midwest Literary Magazine, Scheherezade’s Bequest, Spillway, and Star*Line. His academic work has appeared in The Explicator. Visit him online at or at PC’s Creative Writing program website.

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