Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Breena Clarke


Office Location

Stonecoast MFA Office: 98 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04103


Stonecoast MFA Office: 207-780-4423

Academic Degrees

  • BFA, Howard University
  • MFA, School of General Studies at Columbia University


Breena Clarke is the author of three novels, most recently published, Angels Make Their Hope Here (2014), set in an imagined mixed-race community in 19th century New Jersey. Breena Clarke's debut novel, River, Cross My Heart, was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection and was named by Publisher's Weekly as one of the seven essential books about Washington, D.C. Her critically reviewed second novel, Stand The Storm (2008), was named one of 100 Best for 2008 by The Washington Post.

Her short fiction has appeared in Washington Post Magazine, Kweli Journal, Stonecoast Review, Nervous Breakdown, Mom/Egg review, The Drabble, Catapult, and Now, The Hobart Festival of Women Writers online magazine. A graduate of Howard University, Breena Clarke is co-author with Glenda Dickerson of the seminal work of African American theater, Remembering Aunt Jemima: A Menstrual Show, which is anthologized in Contemporary Plays by Women of Color, edited by Kathy Perkins and Roberta Uno, and in Colored Contradictions, An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays, edited by Harry Elam, Jr. and Robert Alexander.

Her work appears in the anthologies: Black Silk, A Collection of African American Erotica, Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience, Like Light: 25 Years of Poetry & Prose by Bright Hill Poets & Writers., and IDOL TALK: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Lives. Her recollections of Washington, D.C., her hometown, are included in Growing Up In Washington, D.C., An Oral History, published by The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Breena Clarke is co-founder of Hobart Festival of Women Writers, an annual three-day celebration of the work of diverse women writers. She has been a member of the fiction faculty of Stonecoast MFA since 2013. Breena Clarke is co-editor of NOW, an online journal of the Hobart Festival of Women Writers. She is co-author of the forthcoming Chicken Soup For The Soul I'm Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage, and Hope.

Research Interests

Keenly interested in fiction that speculates and revises the history of settlement in The Americas.

Areas of Scholarship

African American History and Culture

Women's History and Culture

Recent Publications

IDOL TALK: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Lives (June 2018)

Like Light: 25 Years of Poetry & Prose by Bright Hill Poets and Writers (2017)

Angels Make Their Hope Here (2014)

Stand The Storm (2008)

River, Cross My Heart (1999)




Creative Activity

Breena Clarke has served as a workshop instructor for A Room of Her Own Foundation's writing retreats at Ghost Ranch, 2000 - 20015. She has served as an advisor to the board of AROHO, has served as a Board Member, and is currently Board Member Emeritus.

Breena Clarke is co-founder and co-organizer (with Cheryl Clarke and Barbara Balliet) of The Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers, now entering its eighth consecutive year of celebrating the work of women writers in Hobart, New York. Despite the global pandemic challenges, The Hobart Festival of Women Writers continues to provide a platform for women writers.

Breena Clarke retired from the Editorial Administration department at Time Magazine after sixteen years in Time Inc.'s New York corporate office. Breena credits having learned to swim as an adult with changing her life. After completing a course of classes at New York's Asphalt Green Aqua Center, she has become a member of an aqua aerobics class, swims three times a week, writes each day, and practices Qi Gong. Breena is a passionate lover of canines and is engaged in the literary examination of the animal world and some of its behaviors that impact and interrelate with human beings.