Life of a Writer: Early Spring Edition

Exciting news and updates from students, alumni, faculty and staff – enjoy!


Theresa Anne Carey’s (SW) creative thesis, MESTENGO, is a Finalist in Screencraft’s Family Screenwriting Competition. MESTENGO was written under the tutelage of mentor Sam Zalutsky, and polished for her creative thesis with Larry Brenner. In addition, her horror comedy SWINE HEART is a Semi-Finalist in the Midwest WeirdFest 2021 Horror Screenplay Competition, one of the Top-100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals by FilmFreeway.

Elena Gartner’s (PW) play, “Runtime Error,” developed in her first and second semesters at Spalding, will receive a Zoom reading from Transformation Theatre in Washington, D.C. She sends thanks to Kira Obolensky and Gabriel Jason Dean for their fantastic mentorship on this piece!

Quincy Gray McMichael (CNF) is pleased to announce that OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters has published her lyric poem “What Was Lost.” This poem, which is part of McMichael’s current hybrid manuscript, details her experience with incautious farming, basal cell carcinoma, and graceful feminine maturity.

Jasmine Lomax (P ) while finishing up her last semester and completing her manuscript, has also officially launched her blog, The Sterile Slut! The Sterile Slut is a comprehensive, one-stop shop for all things sex positive: whether she is blogging about how to buy your first collar or making an anatomy video on the vulva, she insists on being a one-woman army and doing all her own stunts.

Rob Mullins Jr. (F) was named a finalist in the Scribes Valley Publishing 2020 Short Story Writing Contest. His story, “Prairie Warbler,” a tale about coming back from loss, will be published as part of an @scribesvalley anthology later in 2021.

William Schlichter (SW) is excited to show off the cover for his latest book, SIRGRUS BLACKMANE DEMIHUMAN GUMSHOE AND THE DARK-ELF. The case opens May 27, 2021!


Alicia Anthony’s (F 16) latest psychological thriller, FRACTALS, releases March 16. Set amidst the Midwest opioid epidemic, it’s the harrowing story of a high school student trapped by circumstance and the teacher who must fight his own demons to try to save her. 

Natalie Axton’s (F ‘19) short story, The One About the “Dead” Baby will appear in Tahoma Literary Review, Issue 20.  Natalie read the story as part of her graduate reading in Fall 2019. The issue is due out in March. Check the website for details. 

Phillip Cohen’s (F ‘16) award winning story, “Call Me Gefilte” was published in Moment Magazine.

Whitney Collins’ (F 18) short story collection BIG BAD received the 2019 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. The collection, forthcoming March 16 with Sarabande Books, features thirteen short stories, one of which won a 2020 Pushcart Prize and another a 2020 Pushcart Prize Special Mention. The book is available for preorder through Sarabande and Amazon.

Ann Eskridge (PW 08) was commissioned by actor Jeff Daniels’s theater, The Purple Rose, to write a 10-minute play on the topic of “love hurts.”  Her play, “A Rose by Any Other Name,” received a Zoom script reading at the Chelsea, Michigan, public library in February. Her play with music, If Pekin is a Duck, Why Am I in Chicago? was chosen as one of six plays to be script read by Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tennessee, in December.  She created a short pitch video of the same play with grants from the Sundance-Knight Alumni Fund and the Detroit Area Writers Network.  Also, she and her composer partner for her musical Satin Doll were accepted into the inaugural virtual musical theater writers group of Theater Now New York.

Karen George (F 09) had three poems published in Main Street Rag, a poem published in MacQueen’s QuinterlyThe Ekphrastic ReviewThe Gyroscope ReviewPoet Lore, and a short story she worked on while completing her MFA, published in Stirring.

Leslie Lynch (F ‘17) is delighted to announce the release of Unholy Bonds in audiobook form. Narrated by Carol Dines, the novel follows the journey of a young woman whose attacker is brought to justice and put behind bars—but the closure she expected doesn’t materialize. Newly married, cracks begin to appear in her relationship with her husband. Desperate for healing, she risks all on what her husband sees as a cockamamie scheme: facing the perpetrator, recognizing his humanity, and challenging him to recognize hers. The print, ebook, and audiobook editions are available on all your favorite platforms, including Hoopla and Overdrive.

Amina S. McIntyre (PW 09) is excited to announced she wrote Episode 6 for the Actor’s Express Podcast “Crossroads”, for their first-ever audio drama. “Crossroads” is an adventurous story by people of color, about people of color. Actor’s Express commissioned six BIPOC Atlanta writers to write this original podcast drama. Taking place over seven episodes, “Crossroads” is a story that takes place throughout time and space.

Nancy O’Connor (W4CYA 08) occasionally writes for educational publisher, Eleanor Curtain Publishing of Melbourne, Australia, whose books are distributed in the U.S. by Okapi Educational Publishing. To date, she has published 21 guided reading books, both fiction and nonfiction, for use in elementary classrooms. Recent titles include Behind the Scenes at the Zoo, So Far from Home, Working in the Wild, The Goodmans Go Camping, Get Me to School, and The Sky Ladder. They deal with issues such as animals in captivity, protecting the environment, and universal education, with the idea of helping children learn to write persuasive essays.

Mamie Pound (F 20) has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her short story “Butterscotch Yellow,” which appeared in the James Dickey Review, Vol. 36, 2020.

Alan Samry (CNF 12) is the lead writer for a new magazine mailed directly to more than 10,000 residences in the place he calls home: Fairhope, Alabama. Launched in November, Fairhope Living is a woman-owned publication from lifelong Fairhoper Alodia Arnold. Alan enjoys providing profiles of local leaders and business owners, but he is most excited about the Legends column. For those he takes a particularly historical perspective and brings it to life for readers. A monthly digital edition is also available from the website. Alan is also teaching creative writing workshops at the Eastern Shore Art Center. He teaches quarterly classes on CNF, brief memoir, flash nonfiction, and poetry. He uses the structure familiar to all Spalding MFA graduates. He’s looking forward to offering his first Summer Teen Writing Camp for Eastern Shore Art Center students in June.

Finally, Alan is pleased to have his local history book Clay City Tile: Frank Brown and the Company that Built Fairhope in print. It’s available to purchase online and in Fairhope at Tom Jones Pottery and Page and Palette, which also sells Alan’s first book, Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs

Kimm Brockett Stammen (F 19), known to some during her time at Spalding as “That Woman with the Guinea Pig Story,” is happy to announce that the piggies have finally, after 33 rejections, found a home. They will appear in Prime Number’s Spring 2021 Issue. Yay! She has several other stories that will be published this spring: “Impossible Tess,” will be featured in CARVE, “Charles and Izzy” will be in Landlocked, and “Dogniscience” is coming out in The Greensboro Review. Her story “Digging to China” was nominated for the Best Short Fiction anthology, and her story “Azures” was nominated for a Pushcart. 

Dana VanderLugt (W4CYA 21) has co-authored a chapter in Imaginative Teaching through Creative Writing: A Guide for Secondary Classrooms, which will be released by Bloomsbury Publishing in March. The chapter, “Beyond Brick Walls and Computer Screens: The Story of a University/Middle School Writing Partnership,” focuses on a mentoring program Dana facilitated between her eighth-grade student writers and college education majors at a nearby college. You can follow Dana on Twitter at @danavanderlugt. 

Jonathan Weinert (P ‘05) won the 2019 Saturnalia Books Editors Prize for his second full-length poetry collection, A Slow Green Sleep. The book is officially available on March 15 from Saturnalia Books. Jonathan will be reading with the poet Wayne Miller at 7:00 pm Eastern Time on April 13 in a virtual session presented by The Silver Unicorn Bookstore. He has a new website and new work appearing online in Plume in May.


In November, Kathleen Driskell, Chair of the School of Writing, was elected to her second term as chair of the board of directors of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. AWP is the largest writers’ organization in the country, with 55,000 individual writer-members and more than 700 creative writing program-members.  Her essay “Keats in Our Time of Pandemic” was published in Appalachian Review last summer; the editors of Appalachian Review nominated the essay for a Pushcart Prize. She was recently interviewed for Think Humanities, a podcast sponsored by the Kentucky Humanities Council. She reads and discusses her work for the Meacham Reading Series, presented virtually, on March 18. 

Lynnell Edwards, Associate Programs Director and poetry faculty, has been busy with a virtual tour for her new poetry collection, This Great Green Valley  From her son’s former bedroom she has broadcasted live for The InKY Reading series in January as well as for the Carnegie Center’s Great Kentucky Writers Series and in conversation with Broadstone Books for a one-on-one, both in February. She and Joy Priest were also interviewed for The Kentucky Women Writers Radio Hour in early February. You can listen to the conversation here.

With very best wishes, the School of Writing staff bids “so long” to Jason Hill (F ’14), erstwhile student services and marketing coordinator, as he moves on to pursue other opportunities.  

Erin Keane (Professional Writing, Poetry) recently appeared as a guest in writing classes taught by bestselling nonfiction writer Susan Shapiro and award-winning Kentucky poet Marianne Worthington to discuss her work as an editor at As part of the Belt Publishing Winter Salon series, she appeared on a panel of authors and editors on The Art of Ideas in early February. And she joined authors published in The Louisville Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2020), which she edited, for the Flying Out Loud Reading Series, located in Louisville but thanks to the magic of Zoom, now everywhere. At Salon, Keane has launched a new cocktails column called The Oracle Pour, in which a penny arcade fortune teller machine advises on the perfect cocktail for the day. 

Karen Mann, Administrative Director, is currently taking an online Sci-Fi/Fantasy Creative Writing Class with Brittany Jackson through the Carnegie Center in Lexington. One of her New Year’s Resolutions was to read more books written by people she knows. She’s read Elaine Neil Orr’s Swimming Between Worlds and John Pipkin’s The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter. She is currently reading book 2 of the 3-book Fur Haven Dog Park novels by Mara Wells and looking forward to finishing it and getting book 3. Karen started a book club at her local public library a year ago, and in January (on Zoom), they discussed Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. She highly recommends all of these books.

Eleanor Morse (Fiction) will celebrate the publication of her fourth novel, Margreete’s Harbor, on April 20 (St. Martin’s Press). Pre-orders are available through your local indie bookstore,, or Amazon. Janet Peery (The River Beyond the World) says, “Timely as well as timeless, heartfelt as well as heartbreaking, this beautiful novel of a family at the crossroads of becoming reminds us of the very real perils of aging, the legacies bequeathed as generations succeed each other, the betrayals that shape us, and the sustaining strength of the ties that bind.” 

Lesléa Newman (W4CYA) received the 2021 Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award and the 2020 National Jewish Book Award (for the second year in a row!) for her picture book, Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale With A Tail. Lesléa has published an essay entitled “The Poetic Justice of Grief,” which explores what it took for her to write the books I Carry My Mother and I Wish My Father so soon after each of her parents’ deaths. 

Lesléa also has a poem titled “The White Supremacist In My Living Room” published on New Verse News.     

Katy Yocom, Associate Director, was invited to join the Climate Fiction Writers League. In January, she met online with the book club of the Central Indiana Land Trust.