Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Creative Nonfiction Faculty

Faculty List

Rick Bass (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) is the author of over twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including WinterThe Deer PastureWild 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.

Jaed Muncharoen Coffin (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) is the author of the memoir A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants (Da Capo Press/ Perseus 08) which chronicles the time he spent as a Buddhist monk in his mother's native village in Thailand. Reviewed in The Los Angeles Times and in a cover story in the Boston GlobeA Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants is now taught in the multicultural curriculum at several colleges and universities including Brown, St. Michael's, Middlebury, and University of Maine, Farmington. Jaed was recently honored as a resident fellow at The Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, where he researched his forthcoming novel,Roughhouse Friday (based on his career as the middleweight champion of an Alaskan barroom boxing circuit). A recipient of a Maine Literary Award, a Ron Brown Fellowship, and a Meyer Grant, Jaed has recently accepted fellowships at The Breadloaf School of English and Franklin & Marshall’s 2009 Emerging Writers Festival. A native of Brunswick, Jaed holds a BA in Philosophy from Middlebury College and an MFA in Fiction from Stonecoast. He now lives in Portland, Maine.

Susan Conley’s memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf 2011), was excerpted in the New York Times Magazine and theDaily Beast. It was an Oprah Magazine Top Ten Pick of the Month, a Slate Magazine “Book of the Week” and a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Award. It won the Maine Literary Award for Memoir. Other work of hers has also appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe Paris Review, The Huffington Post, PloughsharesThe Harvard Review and elsewhereShe’s received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Breadloaf Writers Conference, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. A former faculty member at Emerson College, she was also a longtime editor at Plougshares. She has taught at Colby College and Simmons College and is currently the Jack Kerouac Visiting Writer at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She’s also the co-founder of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing lab in Portland, Maine, where she leads workshops. Her novel, Paris Was the Place, is forthcoming with Knopf in August of 2013.

Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Pop 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, 2004), also nominated for a Violet Quill Award. His next book, a novel titled Faith for Beginners (Random House, 2005), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Poets and WritersTin HouseDetailsBoulevard,The Forward, 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 The Corporation of Yaddo and the Djerassi Artists Program. He taught writing at Columbia University and NYU and currently teaches at Stonecoast.

Barbara Hurd (Creative Nonfiction) is the author of Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains (2008), Entering the Stone: On Caves and Feeling Through the Dark, a Library Journal Best Natural History Book of the Year (2003), The Singer's Temple (2003), Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001 (2001), andObjects in this Mirror (1994). Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Best American Essays 1999, Best American Essays 2001The Yale ReviewThe Georgia ReviewOrion,Audubon, and others.  The recipient of an NEA Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction, winner of the Sierra Club’s National Nature Writing Award, three Pushcart Prizes, and four Maryland State Arts Council Awards, she teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

Cait Johnson (Creative Nonfiction) is the author of six books of popular non-fiction, including Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to SpiritCelebrating the Great Mother: A Handbook of Earth-Honoring Activities for Parents and ChildrenWitch in the Kitchen: Magical Cooking for All Seasons, chosen as a OneSpirit book club selection; and Tarot Games.  A performer, ghost-writer, freelance editor, and developmental editor as well as a writer, she was formerly the Managing Editor of six online Healthy Living newsletters through environmental supersite Care2.com. Cait has taught theatre, creative writing, dreamwork, nature-based spirituality, and creative expression at many colleges, schools, and institutions including The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Ohio State University, the Discovery Center, and theOmega Institute. 

Debra Marquart (Creative Nonfiction, Poetry) is a professor of English in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University. In addition, her books include two poetry collections, From Sweetness (Pearl Editions, 2002) andEverything’s a Verb (New Rivers Press, 1995), and a short story collection, The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories (New Rivers Press, 2001) which draws on her experiences as a road musician. Marquart is a member of The Bone People, a jazz-poetry, rhythm & blues project, with whom she has released two CDs: Orange Parade and A Regular Dervish. Marquart’s memoir, The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere (Counterpoint Books, 2006) was awarded the 2007 PEN USA Creative Nonfiction Award. Deb's work has also received a Pushcart Prize, the Shelby Foote Nonfiction Prize from the Faulkner Society, the Headwaters Prize, the Minnesota Voices Award from New Rivers Press, the Elle Lettres Award from Elle Magazine, the Mid-American Review Nonfiction Award, the John Guyon Nonfiction Award from Crab Orchard Review, and a National Endowment for the Arts Prose Fellowship. Deb is at work on two books: a novel, set in Greece, titled Among the Ruins; and a roots/travel memoir about her grandparents’ flight from Russia, titled Somewhere Else This Time Tomorrow.

David Mura (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry) is a creative nonfiction writer, poet, fiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist.  Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei (Grove-Atlantic), which won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was listed in the New York Times Notable Books of Year, and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity (Anchor).   His three books of poetry are Angels for the Burning (Boa), The Colors of Desire (Anchor, Carl Sandburg Literary Award), and, After We Lost Our Way (Carnegie Mellon), which won the 1989 National Poetry Series Contest.  His book of critical essays is Song for Uncle Tom, Tonto & Mr. Moto: Poetry & Identity (U. of Michigan Press).  His novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the John Gardner Fiction Prize and Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award, was published in Sept. 2008 from Coffee House Press.  Mura's essays on race and multiculturalism have appeared in Mother Jones and The New York Times.  His plays include Secret Colors (with novelist Alexs Pate),The Winged Seed, adapted from Li-Young Lee's memoir, and After Hours (with actor Kelvin Han Yee and pianist Jon Jang).

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, andShelf 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 theProvidence Journal (Rhode Island). Her freelance work has appeared in Yankee magazine, The Bark Magazine, The Boston Globe MagazineThe Philadelphia InquirerOrganic Style, andESPN the Magazine.