Stonecoast is proud of our summer 2020 graduates!
Please join us in celebrating these seventeen students as they enter the literary world with their M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
Elisabeth Brander is a member of the popular fiction cohort. In her work she explores how to make myths and fairy tales relate to today’s world, tries to interrogate untold stories in history, and addresses her love of the book as a physical object. To that end, the short stories in her thesis range from a retelling of the development of print in early modern Europe to a modern reinterpretation of the women in the 11th century Japanese novel The Tale of Genji.
Derek Castle is graduating from the fiction track this residency. With a focus on cultural and societal relationships, his thesis includes short stories, excerpts from a novel and screenplay in progress, a short play, and a poem. After graduation he plans to continue working on his historical novel and a few short stories and plays still in the idea phase.
Rickey Celenteno, a CNF-er, has learned a great deal during her time at Stonecoast -- specifically: 1. how to overcome her paralyzing fear at the thought of reading at Open Mic night (she did - thrice!); 2. would she ever finish her 3rd semester project (she did, of course); 3. could she overcome the 3-week COVID-inspired writer’s block which prevented ANY work on her thesis essay re-writes (again, she did - and very competently, if she says so, herself!!); and 4. how to improve her writing skills, thanks to the expert and inspired teachings of the wonderful faculty and administration who guided her during these two years. She feels hopeful about her writing future, and determined to continue improving her craft and taking herself seriously as a 74-year old writer who has something to say and wisdom to impart, while working up the courage to submit pieces for possible publication. She says a heartfelt thank you to all her Stonecoast gang.
Christopher Clark is a librarian who moonlights as a Popular Fiction student at Stonecoast. He likes writing weird, spooky and subversive things. A proud member of the Cryptkeeper Cosmonaut Cannibals, he can be summoned by a series of arcane rituals as outlined in the Stonecoast manual on Blackboard. He believes that we can make the world better. He thinks we should keep trying.
Jaq Evans writes about sad people and nature and the darkness in each, as well as what might be worth fighting for. On that note, she'll miss the Harraseeket hot toddies the most. (Just kidding: it's the conversations after-hours, when students and mentors and visiting speakers talk books or poetry or how to change the world.) Her work has appeared in Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Apparition Literary Magazine, and is upcoming in Typehouse Magazine.
Bryn Grey (CNF Summer 2020) lives and writes in New Orleans, LA.
Rebecca King's genre is fiction, and her thesis is Part One of a novel about a young woman dealing with the death of her father and the release of her mother from prison. A recurring theme in Rebecca's work is familial trauma with a focus on the feminist perspective. Some highlights at Stonecoast have been working with such talented individuals, being introduced to new books, writers, and perspectives, and creating a writing life despite the challenges. She plans to get a little sleep, clean her studio, and return to the work.
Jess Koch is a speculative fiction writer. She dabbles in a range of genres including dystopian, horror, dark fantasy, and weird fiction with a literary slant. Her work has most recently appeared in Metaphorosis Magazine. She lives in Portland, Maine with her partner and their dog.
Nina B. Lichtenstein (CNF) leaves Stonecoast feeling empowered to write plays, screenplays and novels (especially autofiction) thanks to the memorable out-of-her-main-genre workshops she has attended. Her thesis, a memoir manuscript titled Body: A Life in Parts is the unexpected result of the generative writing during her first two semesters. Nina is an editor for The Telling Room’s “Stories” page, and after graduation she hopes to find an agent for her book, then keep her butt-in-chair and continue writing. Her essays have appeared in Brevity, Lilith, and most recently in Tablet, among other places. Onward!
Mia Millefoglie (Creative Nonfiction) entered Stonecoast to write a story about fishermen, immigration and culture. Her story changed to a theme-based memoir exploring several themes that at times collided, and at other times found peace on the page. It was the challenge to discover truths about the past, and truths about oneself. Graduation marks a new beginning. Millefoglie means 1,000 pages or 1,000 leaves in Italian, and she hopes to continue filling in the blank pages of her book.
Nadia Prupis is graduating with her MFA in Fiction. Her thesis, Misplaced Objects, is a collection of short stories written in lyric essay form, about the movement of things, the violence of patriarchy, secrets, rituals, myths, bad weather, pandemics and resurrections, prophetic turtle nightlights, and a true story about the biggest manmade inland tsunami in history. Her work has been published in FIVE:2:ONE Magazine, Gone Lawn, and other outlets, and she is the creator and editor of the arts and literary magazine FEM. If you're reading this bio, support COVID Bailout NYC!
Lauren Erin O'Brien is from Massachusetts. Her thesis, entitled The Body Names Itself, blends prose, verse, photography, and dance performance to explore themes of gender, sexuality, power, trauma, and memory. Lauren was the recipient of the 2018 Goldenberg Prize for Fiction from Bellevue Literary Review and was a finalist for both the 2018 Crazyhorse Fiction Prize and Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers. Her poem "After She Reads the Court Records" is forthcoming in the Fall/Winter 2020 issue of Witness. After graduating from Stonecoast, Lauren hopes to pursue a PhD in creative writing or performance studies.
Amy Raina uses queer characters in fiction and creative nonfiction stories that explore themes of grief, healing, chosen family, love, and growing up. With over 15 years of experience reading tarot, Raina also works to uncover queer archetypes within the deck. At Stonecoast, Raina has been working on a nonfiction book about queering the tarot deck in addition to a fiction novel with a trans protagonist. Check out Raina's work with The Femme Show, or schedule a tarot reading on the website!
Delaney S. Saul is a writer and artist graduating with her MFA in fiction writing. She is the current Editor in Chief of Stonecoast Review. Delaney lives in Bellingham, Washington and has been a Bellingham Public Library employee for four years, where she has recently accepted a promotion. Her work has been featured in Gone Lawn, The Molotov Cocktail, Leopardskin & Limes, and Barrelhouse, among others. She has a boyfriend and a standard poodle. Her Twitter and Instagram is @DelaneySSaul.
Jacob Steponaitis writes about things that do not exist; everything else, he figures, is already covered. However, despite all the magic, monsters, and impossible inventions, he wants you to believe they could exist, so chances are these stories are set in dark, damaged, or otherwise dysfunctional worlds (write what you know, and all that). Hopefully, somewhere out there in this crazy world, there are enough people sufficiently odd enough that they're willing to read these things Jacob spends all his time creating. Maybe they'll even pay him for it. Stranger things have happened.
Meghan Vigeant’s thesis, Love #Me Too, is a nonfiction account of reckoning with sexual trauma and sorting out what consent and the truth actually look like. Susan Conley described it as “the hard-earned wisdom of someone who has decided to only be honest on the page.” For the last two years, Meghan has deeply appreciated the Stonecoast call to be writers of rebellion and social justice, to use our words like swords, like giant banners, like loaves of bread (nourishing gluten-free loaves of bread). Last fall, she enjoyed a month as a Monson Arts resident, and a couple of her poems made it into Balancing Act 2, but mostly, in terms of publishing, Meghan has been working on building up her resilience for rejection letters. She looks forward to teaching creative writing programs online with the Telling Room this summer and, hopefully, in the pinch-me-it’s-the-real-world-again someday soon.