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Students

Jeff Albers (PhD, Fiction)

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Jeff Albers grew up in Southern California and earned a BA. and MA in English Literature from California State University, Fullerton. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University, where he also served as prose editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. He has written humor pieces for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, music reviews for L.A. Record, and his fiction has been featured in The Weekly Rumpus.

Rachel Ballenger (MFA, Fiction)

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Rachel Ballenger was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a BA in English from UC Berkeley. Before moving to Houston, she lived in Sonoma county, where she homesteaded a meadow by trial and error.

Laura Biagi (MFA, Fiction)

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Laura Biagi grew up in small-town Kentucky and earned her BA in Creative Writing and Anthropology from Northwestern University. After college she spent eight years working in New York at a literary agency, where she represented literary fiction, nonfiction, YA, and children's books. She likes hot weather and the stars.

Theodora Bishop (PhD, Poetry)

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Theodora Bishop’s work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, and Short Fiction (England), among many other journals, magazines, and anthologies. She is the author of a chapbook of short stories (Mother Tongues, selected by Matt Bell for The Cupboard’s 2015 contest) and a chapbook of poems (A Place Made Red, Finishing Line Press). She received her MFA from The University of Alabama. Her novella, On the Rocks, is forthcoming from Texas Review Press.

Rhianna Brandt (PhD, Poetry)

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Rhianna Brandt is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. She is at work on a collection entitled Bottle, Beloved, and Book, a series of meditations on the erotics of addiction and education.

Erika Jo Brown (PhD, Poetry)

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Erika Jo Brown is from New York. Her debut poetry collection, I'm Your Huckleberry, was published Brooklyn Arts Press in November 2014. Her chapbook, What a Lark!, was published by Further Adventures Press in 2011. She was educated at Cornell University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She loves feminism, botany, wordplay, and her shih tzu, Franklin.

Michelle Burk (PhD, Poetry)

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Michelle Dominique Burk is a poet and a native Northern Virginian. She received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, and her work has appeared most recently in Contrary Magazine and Cooper Street.

Will Burns (PhD, Fiction)

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Will Burns received his BA from the University of Arkansas and his MFA from The New School in NYC. He is a part-time chess instructor and used to be a cashier. His car broke down while moving to Houston. It was too bad. He likes cats.

Corey Campbell (PhD, Fiction)

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Corey Campbell’s fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, The Rattling Wall, Necessary Fiction, and Anderbo, among other publications. A UH PhD student and graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she has received support from Inprint, Sewanee, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She's a contributing editor for the journal Waxwing and currently is a fiction editor for Gulf Coast.

Thomas Cardamone (MFA, Fiction)

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Thomas Cardamone earned a BA in English from Colgate University before moving south to join the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. His fiction has previously appeared in Lunch Ticket, Necessary Fiction, decomP, and is forthcoming in Moon City Review.

LeeAnne Carlson (MFA, Fiction)

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LeeAnne Carlson began her studies at the University of Houston, back in the day when the school still housed a live cougar mascot. As a member of the now defunct Cougar Guard, she was one of the students who would take Shasta V on daily walks around campus. She left school to pursue midwifery training and spent twenty years delivering babies before retiring to start a goat farm. She and her family now make goat cheese for the masses, and manage two Houston-area farmers markets. Deciding that her life just wouldn't be complete without an MFA, she returned to UH to wrap up the BA that she walked away from decades earlier, also serving first as fiction editor, then editor, of the UH undergraduate literary magazine, Glass Mountain. She is thrilled to be able to pursue her MFA in Houston, where she began back in 1984.

Daniel Chu (MFA, Poetry)

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Dan Chu is from Brooklyn New York. He went to school in New England, where he was surrounded by mountains and cows. After some time in Asia, he moved back to the city. It's his third year at UH.

Catherine Cleary (MFA, Poetry)

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Catherine Cleary grew up in Houston and studied studio art and writing at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating in 2014, she completed a year of national service with Americorps. During this year she tutored at low-income elementary schools, working with K-2nd graders who fell below grade level in reading.

Chelsea Brennan DesAutels (MFA, Poetry)

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Chelsea graduated from Wellesley College. She spent a couple years working in book publishing in New York, then attended law school at the University of Minnesota. She practiced as an associate in a law firm in Minneapolis. Despite her love of Minneapolis and its winters, she's moved to Houston, with a husband, toddler daughter, and dog in tow.

Barbara Drumheller (PhD, Fiction)

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Barbara Drumheller graduated with a BA in Literature and a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas. She went from there to Texas Tech University in Lubbock where she earned a J.D. She spent quite a few years writing other people’s stories in the form of criminal appellate briefs, first as a prosecutor and later as a defense attorney. Recently, she decided to switch gears and begin writing her own stories. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Devereux Fortuna (PhD, Poetry)

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Devereux Fortuna is from Arizona. She received an MFA in Poetry from New York University and is a candidate for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. 

Joshua Foster (PhD, Fiction)

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Joshua Foster is from southeastern Idaho, where his family has a grain and potato farming operation. He earned fiction and nonfiction MFAs from University of Arizona and was also a Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University. He serves as Nonfiction Editor for Terrain.org and Assistant Fiction Editor at TheDiagram.com. He's currently at work on a novel, among other shorter projects.

Joshua Gottlieb-Miller (PhD, Poetry)

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Joshua Gottlieb-Miller holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston, where he has returned to pursue his PhD. He has several poems forthcoming from the anthology, They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing with poet Maureen Alsop, as well as single-author poems in Horsethief, Seneca Review, Grist, and elsewhere. A non-fiction/poetry hybrid can be found at Pacifica Lit Review. This fall he will serve as Gulf Coast’s Digital Nonfiction Editor. Previously he has been a MacDowell Fellow, a Gulf Coast Poetry Editor, and a recipient of the Inprint Barthelme Prize in Poetry, as well as the Inprint Robert J. Sussman Prize. He also teaches for WITS and Inprint, and lives in Houston with his wife, Lauren, and son, Owen.

JP Gritton (PhD, Fiction)

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JP Gritton is from Colorado. His fiction has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Harpur Palate, Southwest Review, Greensboro Review and Tin House. He has spent time as a carpenter, a journalist, and an advocate for the homeless.

Nicole Herd (PhD, Poetry)

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Niki Herd grew up in Cleveland and earned degrees in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and Antioch University. Nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, she is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been supported by the Astraea Foundation and the DC Commission on the Arts, and has appeared in several journals and anthologies including Feminist Formations, North American Review, The Feminist Wire, Split This Rock, and Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky. Her debut collection of poems, The Language of Shedding Skin, was published as part of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Series. She has spent the last five years living in Washington, DC.

Rob Howell (PhD, Fiction)

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Rob Howell received an AA from Collin College, a BA from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an MFA from Louisiana State University, where he won the Robert Penn Warren Award for best MFA thesis in fiction. He’s also won the Jack Dyer Fiction Prize and finished runner-up in the Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest. Before earning his degrees, he worked for several years as a sheet metal mechanic and day laborer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. His fiction appears or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review and Crab Orchard Review.

Onyinye Ihezukwu (PhD, Fiction)

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Onyinye Ihezukwu was born in Nigeria where she has worked as a broadcaster. Her work largely explores changing socio-spiritual themes in the urban Nigerian setting. Her fiction has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The American Scholar, The St. Petersburg Review, among others. She's working on a novel.

Justin Jannise (PhD, Poetry)

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Justin Jannise studied poetry at Yale and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, North American Review, Zocalo Public Square, The Awl, New Haven Review and other journals. He won the 2009 Albert Stanburrough Cook Prize for Poetry from Yale University and received both a Teaching-Writing Fellowship and the Provost's Visiting Writer Fellowship from the University of Iowa. He grew up in southeast Texas.

Jennifer Johnson (MFA, Fiction)

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Jenny Staff Johnson’s (MFA, fiction) fiction and essays have been published in Tin House’s Open Bar BlogNew Dead Families, and Literary Mothers, among others. She is an assistant fiction editor of Gulf Coast. She is married with three children, but is, sadly, currently between beagles. A native Texan, she is at work on a novel about Houston.

Matthew Krajniak (PhD, Fiction)

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Matthew is a second-year PhD candidate in fiction. He earned an MFA from the University of Memphis and is currently at work on his first novel.

Ji yoon Lee (PhD, Poetry)

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Ji yoon Lee is a poet and translator whose most recent publication isof contemporary Korean poetry, for which she  Poems of Kim Yideum, Kim Haengsook, and Kim Minjeong, the collection collaborated with Jake Levine, Don mee Choi, and Johannes Göransson (Vagabond Press, 2017). She translated Korean feminist poet Kim Yideum's poetry with Don mee Choi and Johannes Göransson, the collection of which was published as Cheer Up, Femme Fatale (Action Books, 2015). She is also the author of Foreigner’s Folly (Coconut Books, 2014), Funsize/Bitesize (Birds of Lace, 2013), and IMMA (Radioactive Moat, 2012). She is the winner of the Joanna Cargill prize (2014), and her manuscript was a finalist for the 1913 First Book Prize (2012). She was born in South Korea, and immigrated to a small town in East Texas alone as a teen. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame, lived in NYC, and moved back to Texas, the land that keeps pulling her back.

J.S.A. (Jennifer) Lowe (PhD, Poetry)

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J.S.A. Lowe studied at Mount Holyoke College, the University of Cambridge, and Boston University; her MFA is from Arizona State University, where she was an associate editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, and Salamander. Her chapbook DOE was published by Particle Series Books, and she has translations in the MLA anthology Nineteenth-Century French Women Poets. In 2014-15, she presented research on the intersection of fan studies and queer theory at conferences including SWPCA (Albuquerque), PCA (New Orleans), and Otherness & Transgression (Århus, Denmark); in addition to having those journal articles in preparation, she is also finishing a monograph with the working title _Unbearding the Angel: Slashing Fandom and Social Media.

Carolann Caviglia Madden (PhD, Poetry)

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Carolann Caviglia Madden is a poet, translator, and Navy brat whose work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in World Literature Today, Yalobusha Review, Souvenir, Witch Craft Magazine, Women in Clothes (Penguin), Nimrod International Journal, The Southwest Anthology: The Best from the Writing Programs (Texas Review Press), and elsewhere. She is an assistant poetry editor at Gulf Coast, a member of Scholars Without Borders, and is a founding editor of Locked Horn Press.

Sarah McClung (PhD, Fiction)

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Sarah McClung is a PhD candidate from Houston and an alumna of the Fulbright Program in Spain. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Rumpus, and Plaza de Armas.

Alexander McElroy (PhD, Fiction)

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Alex McElroy earned his MFA from Arizona State University. His work appears in Black Warrior Review, The Georgia Review, New England Review, Kenyon Review Online, Catapult, and elsewhere.

Kristjan Meikop (MFA, Poetry)

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Kristjan L. Meikop grew up in Helsinki, Finland. After some years of traveling and working in South America he returned to Finland where he earned a BA in English and literature at Åbo Akademi. Though his mother tongue is Swedish, he reads and writes mostly in English and likes to practice his Spanish if the opportunity arises. Always in search of duende in music, art and literature, he is currently working on his first book of poems.

Josephine Mitchell (MFA, Fiction)

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Josie Mitchell grew up on the beach in San Diego, California, and moved all the way up the coast to attend The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. There she received a BFA in Creative Writing and focused mainly on writing for the stage. For three years she taught English to preschoolers in Dalian, China, where her crafting skills and patience improved beyond belief. While in China, she switched her focus to fiction. While she is relatively new to Texas, she has deep roots here and is anxious to see what family stories are true and hopes to mine a few more for her writing.

Luisa Muradyan (PhD, Poetry)

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Luisa is originally from the Ukraine and received her BA in History from the University of Kansas and MFA in Poetry from Texas State University. She is Editor for Gulf Coast and her poems can be found in Blackbird, Ninth Letter, West Branch, Mudlark, PANK, A-Minor, Neon, and Anderbo.

Christopher Brean Murray (PhD, Poetry)

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Christopher Brean Murray is a PhD candidate in poetry at the University of Houston. His poems have appeared in Forklift Ohio, jubilat, New Ohio Review, North American Review, Pleiades and other journals. He’s the winner of the Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry for 2017, and has received awards from the American Festival for the Arts and the Academy of American Poets. From 2014-2016 he was the online poetry editor of Gulf Coast.

Alexandra Naumann (MFA, Fiction)

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Alexandra Naumann is a writer of Lebanese-Mexican descent. She writes between fiction and poetry, English and Spanish. She calls both Houston and Mexico City home.

Saira Nadeem (MFA, Fiction)

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Saira Nadeem graduated from the University of Houston in 2013 with her BA in Creative Writing and a minor in sales from the Program for Excellence in Selling. Since then, she has worked with the Stephen Stagner Sales Excellence Institute at UH where she coaches undergraduate students on key account management. Prior to working for the institute, Saira was involved with various nonprofit literary marketing projects with Writers in the Schools and also managed film promotions for a local theater. When she’s not helping her students find jobs, she can be found dragging her husband to her favorite Pakistani restaurants and trying to teach her chocolate lab to sit.

Michele Nereim (PhD, Fiction)

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A born and bred Floridian, yes, Michele Nereim has had to contend with the occasional alligator in her backyard. Their capture is cause for the neighbors to gather, everyone coming out to watch the poor, old dinosaurs get hauled away by animal control. It’s sad knowing they’ll be euthanized, but there are the tiny dogs to think of. Michele earned her MFA at FSU. She taught English and Composition for six years, pole dance for one. She spent her last year in Florida selling wine and cigars in The Villages, the U.S.’s largest retirement city, which recently gained international notoriety for a public “sex on the square” incident.

Wanjiku Ngugi (MFA, Fiction)

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Wanjiku wa Ngugi is the former director of the Helsinki African Film Festival in Finland. She has also been a jury member of the CinemAfrica Film Festival, Sweden in 2012 and 2013. Her short stories have been published in The New Black Magazine, The East African, amongst other places. The Fall of Saints (Atria Books, 2014) is her first novel.

David Nikityn (MFA, Fiction)

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Hailing from Blairstown, New Jersey, David Nikityn earned a BA in Communication from Monmouth University, concentrating in radio and television broadcasting. He has since studied an eclectic mixture of physics, philosophy, literature and creative writing at Columbia University.

Brenden Oliva (PhD, Fiction)

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Brenden Oliva was born and bred in Podunk, Northern Utah. He’s completed degrees in Anthropology, Human Biology, and English from the University of Utah, and most recently an MFA in Fiction from the University of Montana. When not operating in the literary world, Brenden builds and breaks antique Harley Davidsons, first-generation Camaros, and sometimes Jeeps.

Michelle Orsi (MFA, Poetry)

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Michelle Orsi grew up in Spokane, Washington and earned her BA in Spanish and Creative Writing from Gonzaga University. She currently serves as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts.

Aza Pace (MFA, Poetry)

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Aza Pace holds a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Poetry MFA student at UH, where she serves as Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, American Chordata, and Feminine Inquiry, and her reviews appear in Gulf Coast. She is the winner of a 2017 Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry.

Georgia Pearle (PhD, Poetry)

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Georgia Pearle is an alumna of Smith College and holds an MFA from Lesley University. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Crab Creek Review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, OffCite, and the Houston Chronicle, and is forthcoming from The Rumpus and Kenyon Review Online. A former coordinator of the VIDA Count, she is now Gulf Coast’s Digital Editor and a doctoral fellow in Creative Writing and Literature, Poetry, at the University of Houston.

Adrienne Perry (PhD, Fiction)

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Adrienne Perry grew up in Wyoming and earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College in 2013. From 2014-2016 she served as Editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. Adrienne has received a Hedgebrook residency, is a Kimbilio Fellow, a member of the Rabble Collective, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Copper NickelBlack Warrior ReviewIndiana ReviewTidal Basin Review, and elsewhere. She is at work on a novel and a collection of essays.

Paige Quiñones (PhD, Poetry)

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Paige Quiñones earned a BA from the University of Florida and an MFA in poetry from the Ohio State University, where she was a poetry editor for The Journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Birdfeast, Juked, McSweeney’s, Muzzle Magazine, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Her poem “Summer, or Daughters I Haven’t Met” was a finalist for Best of the Net 2015.

Martin Rock (PhD, Poetry)

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Martin Rock is the author of two chapbooks, most recently Dear Mark, an epistolary response to the work of Mark Rothko (Brooklyn Arts Press). His book, Residuum, won the Editor's Choice Award for Cleveland State University Poetry Center's 2015 First Book Prize, and was published in April of 2016. His poems have appeared widely in publications such as Black Warrior Review, Conduit, Third Coast, Salamander and Best New Poets 2012. He has worked as a cheesemonger, web-designer, and editor, and lived for four years in Japan where he taught both young and old the idiosyncrasies of the English language. His website is martinrockpoetry.com.

Dallas Saylor (MFA, Poetry)

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Dallas Saylor just finished his BA in English and Mathematics at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, PA, and has now returned not only to the south, where he lived until high school, but also to his namesake state, where he attended kindergarten and first grade. In his free time, Dallas enjoys board games, cooking, and swing dancing.

Annie Shepherd (PhD, Fiction)

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Annie Shepherd taught ESL in China for two years before returning to her home state of Texas to obtain an MFA in creative writing from Texas State University. Prior to entering the PhD program in fiction at University of Houston, she taught writing and literature at Texas State University and University of the Incarnate Word. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in North American Review, The Greensboro Review, and North Dakota Quarterly.

Martha Stallman (PhD, Fiction)

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Martha Stallman’s work has appeared in Electric Literature and The Establishment. She currently publishes the column Antifa Class in The Samizdat.

Brendan Stephens (PhD, Fiction)

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Brendan Stephens is from the Appalachian region of Western Maryland. His work has appeared in Carolina Quarterly, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Into the Void Magazine, and elsewhere. He is the winner of the Backbone Mountain Review Prose of the Year Award. He earned his MFA from the University of Central Florida.

Kaj Tanaka (PhD, Fiction)

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Kaj (pronounced 'Ky') Tanaka teaches writing classes at a medium security prison. His stories and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Electric Literature, The Master’s Review, New South, Big Lucks and Midwestern Gothic. He is the nonfiction editor at BULL Magazine."

Samantha Thilen (MFA, Poetry)

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Richard Thompson (MFA, Poetry)

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Richard Thompson grew up in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. He has a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University in Montreal. He won the 2016 Mary C. Mohr Poetry Award from the Southern Indiana Review, and his poems (some of which do not relate to farming accidents) have also appeared in Empirical Magazine, The Rectangle, and The Avenue.

Novuyo Tshuma (PhD, Fiction)

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Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, from Zimbabwe, is the author of the collection Shadows, which was published by Kwela Books in South Africa in 2013. She earned her MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Visit her online at www.novuyotshuma.com.

Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal (PhD, Poetry)

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Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal lives as a rhyming-slogan creative activist. She is a Generation 1.5 poet (mexicana and Chicana), a translator, a sonic-improv collaborator, and an instructor of English. She is a PhD student in the Creative Writing Program at University of Houston. Her MFA in Writing is from California College of the Arts. She coauthored an article with a historian in the book ¡Chicana Movidas!: Mapping Technologies of Resistance in the Movimiento Era (University of Texas, forthcoming). Her poetry can be found in the Rio Grande Review and the Texas Review. She has published translations of poetry, including Enigmas, by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Señal: a project of Libros Antena Books, BOMB, and Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015), but she mostly translates regiomontana poet Minerva Reynosa (Mandorla, 2012); their most recent publication is a chapbook called Photograms of My Conceptual Heart, Absolutely Blind (Cardboard House Press, 2016).

Dylan Walsh (PhD, Fiction)

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Dylan Walsh earned a BA in Literature from New England College in 1999, and a Master's in English and creative writing from the University of New Hampshire in 2006.

Caitlin Weiss (PhD, Poetry)

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Cait Weiss’ work has been published or is forthcoming in Boston ReviewChautauquaFIELDTupelo Quarterly & more. The founder of the Writers Guild Community Creative Workshops in Columbus, Ohio, Editorial Advisory Board Member of Mad River’s Slash Prize, and Online Editor of The Journal, Cait has taught creative writing in New York and Ohio, and now works with Houston students at the UH Writing Lab, Duke Scholar Weekend, Inprint and WITS Digital, Creative and Performance workshops. She is the recipient of an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor/MD Anderson Foundation Fellowship. Cait's manuscript VALLEYSPEAK recently won the Zone 3 Press First Book Award judged by Douglas Kearney and will be out October 2017. Grown in Los Angeles and New York, Cait now lives in Houston with her two cats and soon-to-be-husband (the wedding's this June!).

Charlotte Wyatt (MFA, Fiction)

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Prior to attending the University of Houston, cougars have figured prominently in Charlotte’s past—particularly Kelly, Cleo, and Felix of the Queens Zoo, where she worked as a keeper for the Wildlife Conservation Society. She holds a BA in Philosophy and Theater from Fordham University, and hails most recently from California wine country, where she developed programming for the Boys & Girls Club and poured wine for Balletto Vineyards. She currently serves as Admissions Director for the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference.

Lani Yu (MFA, Poetry)

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Lani Yu grew up in Florida, spending most of her formative years in Orlando. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Florida, rediscovering her Gainesville birthplace and fascination with poetry at some point along the way. She’s been told that she has many talents, but her most definitive one is being in a constant state of mild terror when it comes to talking about herself. She likes books, movies, and cats. She also likes people, especially the odd, cheerful ones.